Hamilton late after oversleeping, but soon resumes normal service

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When Lewis Hamilton scampered into the paddock on Thursday morning, he was graced with a number of puzzled faces and quizzical looks that said “aren’t you meant to be in the car?”.

Indeed, he was. Just as the green light went on to start the first practice session in Monaco, Hamilton was arriving by speedboat at the circuit. Very James Bond.

Turns out he had overslept. Not so James Bond.

After failing to find his pass (again), he eventually found a way into the paddock, and quickly suited up to begin his session. Come the end of FP1, he was at the very top of the timesheets ahead of teammate Nico Rosberg, and was very pleased with his performance.

“The car is still a work in progress but it felt really good out there today,” Hamilton explained. “I had a good first session and was then really pleased to get those last few laps in the dry this afternoon which was a big plus.

“I’m feeling pretty set for Saturday, there is still some work to do but we have tomorrow to look into that and finish all our preparations for the weekend.”

Hamilton is chasing his fifth straight win this weekend, but he has not reached the podium in Monaco since winning the race back in 2008. Nevertheless, he feels that he could break this barren spell thanks to the speed of the W05 car.

“I just love racing here,” he said. “This track is one of the coolest ever, and it was great to see all of the fans here already enjoying themselves. It’s such a classic race, and I’ve been trying to win here again since 2008, so I’m hoping this is the year as we have such a great car.”

If Lewis is to make it five in a row, a good qualifying performance on Saturday will be crucial given that overtaking comes at a premium in Monaco.

Marco Andretti confident that fewer tests won’t hurt Andretti Autosport

Photo: IndyCar
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A small point of debate around the 2018 aero kit has been the manufacturer test days that took place through the Fall of 2017 and into the beginning of 2018. Chiefly, the debate has centered around teams who hadn’t participated in those manufacturer test days and if they’re starting the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series season at a disadvantage as a result.

Team Penske, Ed Carpenter Racing, and A.J. Foyt Racing completed test days for Chevrolet, with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports and Chip Ganassi Racing doing so for Honda.

That left teams like Andretti Autosport out of the mix, with some voicing concerns as a result.

However, in a press conference during testing at ISM Raceway last weekend, Marco Andretti explained that he thinks Andretti Autosport should be able to catch up on development, citing the team’s resources – they’re the only IndyCar team with four full-time cars in their stable – and the fact that everyone is still adapting to the new kit.

“I feel like it’s early enough days that, yes, we can catch up,” Andretti said at ISM Raceway. “When there is anything new, a new car, new aero kit, at-track days are huge. We can sim all these things we want. To really get out there and confirm what we’re learning back at the shop is another thing.”

Ryan Hunter-Reay during testing at ISM Raceway. Photo: IndyCar

Andretti continued, “Yeah, I don’t think we should look at it like we’re behind the eight ball. With a four-car team, that’s where we can use it to our benefit. So far so good.”

Teammate Ryan Hunter-Reay, echoed Andretti’s sentiments, adding that while the situation is not perfect, they will need to adapt to it in order to remain competitive.

“Any time you have a new car, to put it into perspective, we’re on track three days on a road course before we get to (the season open in St. Petersburg). That’s a very short amount of time. It’s obviously not ideal, but we’re just going to lace up our boots and get on with it. That’s all you can do.”

Andretti Autosport will have one more team test, at Sebring International Raceway later on in February, before the season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

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