Hamilton recovers from Baku ‘kick in the teeth’

It was not the easiest of weekends for Lewis Hamilton in Azerbaijan but he senses a Mercedes revival looming

It was not the easiest of weekends for Lewis Hamilton in Baku but he senses a Mercedes revival looming

Lewis Hamilton was forced to nurse his way through a “kick in the teeth” in a bid to land a result in the Azerbaijan Grand Prix that has at least left him sensing a turning point is looming for Mercedes.

It was not the easiest of weekends for the team as it found itself shuffled back down the order in its battle for best of the rest so far this season with Ferrari and Aston Martin behind a dominant Red Bull.

Hamilton had to settle for sixth, finishing 46 seconds behind Sergio Perez who spearheaded a Red Bull one-two, the 25th for the team in its F1 history.

The seven-time F1 champion was predominantly compromised by an early call to switch him from the medium to the hard tyres.

A lap later, the safety car was summoned after Nyck de Vries had clipped a wall in his AlphaTauri, relegating Hamilton from fifth when he took on new tyres in his W14 to 10th after a number of other cars had benefitted.

Hamilton made clear his frustration over the radio as he found himself being forced to fight his way back up to sixth by the chequered flag.

“There’s so much work that goes into the weekend,” said Hamilton.

“The sprint was a difficult day where we went backward, and then I was hoping for a better day (in the grand prix) and I lost five places.

“That’s definitely a kick in the teeth but then it is what it is. I showed the hunger is there, and once I get that confidence in the car, the pace will come.”

Hamilton senses ‘the beginning of something’

Assessing the call to pit, Hamilton said: “It wasn’t ideal and obviously I then got caught up with the safety car but I couldn’t get bogged down in that frustration after losing all those positions.

“I just had to keep my head down and get focused on attacking and that’s what I did. I got it right and got right back in the race.

“I really enjoyed those battles, even though we didn’t have the pace we had in the last race (in Australia), which is obviously not the greatest.

“But there’s no lack of motivation in this team. We’re all super hungry. We’re just working towards getting those upgrades.

“So I think this is the beginning of something hopefully better in the next coming races.”

Champion questions shortened DRS

After swiftly making his way up to sixth, there was additional frustration for Hamilton as he closed in behind Carlos Sainz in his Ferrari.

There were numerous occasions when Hamilton managed to get within DRS range but was unable to get close enough down the long start-finish straight to make a move.

Hamilton’s quest was hindered by the fact the FIA had opted to shorten the DRS zone by 100 metres for the weekend’s events in comparison to previous races.

“I don’t quite know why they did that,” said Hamilton. “We’ve always had great racing with where the DRS was.

“By the time you switched the DRS on it was too late, and they (Ferrari) were just a little bit quicker on the straight than us.

“Even with the DRS open he (Sainz) was fast down the straight, and then just following through the mid-sector wasn’t so easy, but I gave it everything.”

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