Formula 1 Racing

Hamilton says Azerbaijan GP fightback “shows that the hunger is there” · RaceFans

Hamilton says Azerbaijan GP fightback "shows that the hunger is there" · RaceFans

Lewis Hamilton says his performance in yesterday’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix shows he’s ready to compete once he gains more confidence in Mercedes’ latest car.

For the second year in a row, Mercedes have begun the season well off the pace of the front-runners. Hamilton has also said he is not at one with how his car handles.

He was downbeat after Saturday’s sprint race, which he finished in seventh place. But he enjoyed a more competitive showing in the grand prix, passing Lance Stroll to finish sixth, despite dropping to 10th place during the Safety Car period.

Hamilton had already pitted before the Safety Car appeared in the race, and dropped behind several rivals who were able to make their pit stops without losing as much time as he had. “It wasn’t ideal,” he reflected.

“Obviously I got caught up with the Safety Car. But I couldn’t get bogged down in that frustration. I’ve lost all those positions, I just had to keep my head down and get focussed on attacking and that’s what I did. I got my head down and got right back in the race.”

He said he “really enjoyed those battles” as he made his way forward. “Really continuously proud of my team for just keeping their head down.

“We didn’t have the pace that we had in the last race, which obviously is 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.”

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He said he was pleased with his reaction following the disappointment of the sprint race and the early blow of the Safety Car setback in the grand prix.

“There’s so much work going into the weekend and then yesterday was a difficult day where [I] went backwards. And then today I was hoping for a better day and I lost so many places, I lost five places or whatever it was. So that’s definitely a kick in the teeth.

“But then I was like, well, it is what it is. But I think today shows that the hunger is there and once I get that confidence in the car, the pace will come.”

During the race, Hamilton was heard asking his race engineer Peter Bonnington about message he had on his steering wheel. He explained he was being shown an image due to his brake temperatures which was preventing him accessing other information.

“The brakes were overheating, the image was up, so that meant I couldn’t see tyre…

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