Lewis Hamilton says he has 'pretty good' chance of Monaco win

By Andrew BensonChief F1 writer in Monaco
Monaco GP second practice highlights

Lewis Hamilton believes he has a "pretty good" chance of winning the Monaco Grand Prix after a competitive showing on the first day's practice.

Hamilton was second quickest in second practice on Thursday, 0.318 seconds behind Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg.

"I've just got to improve my one-lap pace - a bit from me and a bit from the balance of the car - and after that I think we're good," Hamilton said.

"I'm not the quickest; Nico is. But it's not looking bad at the moment."

Hamilton said he was pleased with the Mercedes' performance on longer runs - the car's race pace has been its big weakness this year because of heavy tyre usage.

"I had a fairly decent long run," he said. "There was a little bit of graining [when the tyre surface tears] but other than that it didn't look too bad."

Asked if the fight for pole position was between the two of them, Hamilton said: "I dunno. Some of the others are looking pretty quick, so I really couldn't tell you. We have good pace, Nico is obviously pretty quick this weekend, so it's looking good."

Rosberg, who is aiming for his third consecutive pole position, was more circumspect, despite setting the pace in both of the day's practice sessions.

The German said he was still concerned about tyre wear on the longer runs.

"We are starting to understand it a bit better but there are still some issues we haven't fully understood so that's still going to be a problem," he said.

"The rear was going off, the usual, as we've had in the last couple of races and that's what we need to focus on. The trace is going to be very long with very few pit stops.

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"You need the race pace. It won't be enough just to be somewhere in the front in qualifying, we need to be cautiously optimistic, but in Barcelona in the last race we were 70 seconds away and it is going to be difficult to make that up.

"For sure we're in the hunt, but I don't know whether it's going to be enough or not."

Mercedes' closest challenger on one-lap pace on Thursday was Ferrari's Fernando Alonso, who was second to Rosberg in the first session and third fastest in the second.

"Even if the feelings are positive and we got through the day without any problems whatsoever, we still don't have a clear idea of the pecking order in the field," Alonso said.

"We will have to wait a bit to see where all our rivals really are, because here too, until Saturday, no one pushes 100%: the barriers constitute too high a threat to take risks in the first free practice sessions."

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