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Hamilton understands Leclerc's pain over Baku Formula 1 crash

Lewis Hamilton says he would be "the same" as Charles Leclerc after the Ferrari Formula 1 driver lambasted himself as "useless" following his Azerbaijan Grand Prix qualifying crash

Leclerc was an early favourite for pole position in Baku after topping practice but locked up approaching the tight entry to the castle section on a second flying lap in Q2 and crashed heavily into the wall.

He described himself as "useless" and "stupid", and said he "deserved" what happened as a result, which his rivals said they understood.

Hamilton, who will start second, said: "I'd be the same.

"That's how we're tuned as racing drivers, when it's your mistake we're tough on ourselves.

"Maybe a little bit less when you're older. But still it's painful.

"It's a lot of pressure around a track like this and on his young shoulders.

"It's totally normal. Years and years ago I didn't come out of my room for two or three days when I had some experiences like that.

"I totally understand how he feels and that's cool he's open about it, because he can get it out and move forwards tomorrow."

Poleman Valtteri Bottas, who headed Mercedes' one-two, said the nature of Leclerc's error would be painful.

"The mistakes you do yourself and could have avoided, they hurt the most," he said.

"It's annoying. I definitely can understand.

"Maybe Finns, we don't shout it out loud so much, but we still have feelings!"

Leclerc's Ferrari team-mate Sebastian Vettel was unable to take pole in his absence, and wound up third fastest.

Vettel believes Leclerc, who will start ninth, can atone for the mistake in Sunday's race.

"It's normal if you do a mistake, you're not happy about it," he said.

"Being critical is the reason why he is here, why we're here.

"I don't think anybody enjoys that part of our racing life but every now and then it is part of it.

"The weekend isn't over yet. We have a good car and I'm sure we can recover as a team tomorrow."

'Crucial' Vettel saved error just before Leclerc's

Vettel had his own moment entering the castle section before Leclerc crashed.

The four-time champion clipped the inside wall with his left-rear wheel, which unsettled the car, but Vettel was able to prevent anything more dramatic.

"I don't think you can seriously calculate the difference of a centimetre or two more or less," said Vettel, when asked by Autosport to explain the incident.

"In the end we all find ourselves in the same boat with some moments across the weekend, where we think it could have gone wrong as well.

"I was surprised when I clipped the wall a little bit with the rear axle. Not much but enough to upset the car.

"But I caught it, which was obviously crucial to carry on.

"We had two incidents in the same corner in qualifying but there are a lot of corners where here things can go wrong."

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