Hamilton: Qualifying second for Azerbaijan F1 GP a "monumental result"

Lewis Hamilton labelled his front row start for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix as a ‘monumental result’, after what he said had been a ‘disaster’ of a Formula 1 weekend.

Hamilton: Qualifying second for Azerbaijan F1 GP a "monumental result"

The world champion had headed in to qualifying firmly on the back foot, with his Mercedes team struggling to extract any pace from its car around the streets of Baku.

But a switch to a lower downforce spec rear wing, and extra warm up laps to better prepare tyres, allowed Hamilton to pull off a surprise as he grabbed second on the grid behind pole position man Charles Leclerc.

Reflecting on the outcome, as he even outpaced pre-event favourite Max Verstappen, Hamilton could not hide his delight.

“I think we definitely weren't expecting that,” he said. “This is such a monumental result for us, because we've been struggling like you couldn't believe all weekend.

“You can see it, but we kept our composure, continued to have difficult discussions in the background, kept challenging one another and just never taking no for an answer.

“We've moved around and made so many changes over these two days, which is chasing your tail. It's been so difficult, but I think the work overnight and then typically between the sessions was amazing. I'm really proud of everyone for keeping positive. And to be to be up there and so close to these guys is a great result.”

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W12

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W12

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

Hamilton said that getting to the bottom of the tyre warm up issues, especially after facing similar difficulties in Monaco, was a huge headache.

“It’s just crazy trying to get these tyres working and trying to find the envelope for this car,” he said. “It is the biggest challenge I think we've had in a long time, to understand where the car is.

“She has not been happy all weekend. It's been a bit of a disaster, so for us to be up here, and even Valtteri [Bottas] getting into the top ten, that's a massive leap and that's really down to great, great teamwork.”

While Mercedes has struggled with single lap pace in Baku, its long runs on Friday did appear more competitive – which should bode well for the race.

Hamilton said he hoped the pattern from Friday was repeated on Sunday, but he was aware that there was no guarantee.

“Our race pace was a lot better than single lap pace,” he said. “We were miles off in a single lap and a lot closer in race pace. We don't understand why, but I like to think, hopefully, we are in that same position, so we can take that fight to these guys [Red Bull and Ferrari] tomorrow.”

shares
comments

Related video

F1 Azerbaijan GP: Leclerc takes pole in interrupted qualifying

Previous article

F1 Azerbaijan GP: Leclerc takes pole in interrupted qualifying

Next article

Spa circuit damaged after being hit by heavy floods

Spa circuit damaged after being hit by heavy floods
Load comments
The 70s US superteam that tried and failed to crack F1 Plus

The 70s US superteam that tried and failed to crack F1

Vel’s Parnelli Jones Racing was briefly one of the biggest names on the US motorsports scene, but its ambition outstripped its resources. STUART CODLING relates the story of a Formula 1 campaign cut off in its prime

The key details that boosted Red Bull and held back Hamilton in Verstappen’s USA victory Plus

The key details that boosted Red Bull and held back Hamilton in Verstappen’s USA victory

As the 2021 Formula 1 title battle winds towards its climax, the United States GP added another thrilling act in the Lewis Hamilton-Max Verstappen battle. Although Hamilton aced the start, Verstappen and Red Bull took the initiative with strategy and were richly rewarded, despite Mercedes' best efforts as the race went down to the wire

Formula 1
Oct 25, 2021
US Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

US Grand Prix Driver Ratings

On a baking hot afternoon at the returning Circuit of the Americas, Formula 1 drivers were tested to their limits. As the pressure on the title contending squads reaches an ever-greater level of intensity, the foremost challengers again showed their class, but were outshone by a standout drive from the upper midfield

Formula 1
Oct 25, 2021
Why F1's misunderstood party animal will thrive in retirement Plus

Why F1's misunderstood party animal will thrive in retirement

Three years on from Kimi Raikkonen's last Grand Prix victory at Austin, he is now six races away from ending the longest Formula 1 career in history. His friend and former Ice1 Racing rally team PR man ANTHONY PEACOCK explains why there’s nobody quite like the 2007 world champion and why F1 will miss him (but he won’t miss it)

Formula 1
Oct 24, 2021
The 10 greatest drives of lost legend Jo Siffert Plus

The 10 greatest drives of lost legend Jo Siffert

It's 50 years since Jo Siffert was killed in his prime at Brands Hatch. The Swiss scored just two world championship wins in a Formula 1 career spent largely with privateer teams, but showed on numerous occasions in single-seaters and in sportscars with Porsche that he could beat any of the best drivers of his era given the right equipment

Formula 1
Oct 24, 2021
Verstappen exclusive: How Red Bull’s ace has become F1 champion material Plus

Verstappen exclusive: How Red Bull’s ace has become F1 champion material

As Red Bull and Honda go all-out for victory in the Japanese engine manufacturer’s last season of its latest Formula 1 dalliance, Max Verstappen finds himself thrust into a compelling title fight with Lewis Hamilton. He told OLEG KARPOV about his evolution into a world championship contender and why Red Bull's no compromise ethos suits him down to the ground

Formula 1
Oct 23, 2021
How Mercedes went from Austin practice domination to "very tight at the front" with Red Bull Plus

How Mercedes went from Austin practice domination to "very tight at the front" with Red Bull

Mercedes has been on a roll of late in the ultra-tight fight to win the 2021 Formula 1 world championship. It started off well in practice at Austin for this weekend’s US Grand Prix, but Red Bull got closer as Friday unfolded and even seemed to find an edge in one critical area of what seems set to be another close contest

Formula 1
Oct 23, 2021
The six critical factors that could hand F1 2021 glory to Hamilton or Verstappen Plus

The six critical factors that could hand F1 2021 glory to Hamilton or Verstappen

The 2021 Formula 1 title battle is finely poised with six races remaining, as just six points separate championship leader Max Verstappen from seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton. In such a closely-fought season, the outcome could hinge on several small factors playing the way of Red Bull or Mercedes

Formula 1
Oct 22, 2021