Hamilton's Baku win "doesn't feel right" - Mercedes

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Hamilton's Baku win
Adam Cooper
By: Adam Cooper
May 1, 2018, 4:34 PM

Mercedes F1 boss Toto Wolff says that Lewis Hamilton's victory in the Azerbaijan Grand Prix didn't "feel right".

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W09, Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB14 Tag Heuer, and Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull Racing RB14 Tag Heuer
Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes AMG F1, congratulates Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1, 1st position
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W09
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W09, crosses the line for victory to the delight of his team
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W09, Brendon Hartley, Toro Rosso STR13 Honda, Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB14 Tag Heuer, and Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull Racing RB14 Tag Heuer
Engineers on the grid with the car of Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W09
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1, 1st position, and the Mercedes team celebrate victory
Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes AMG F1, congratulates Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1, 1st position

Mercedes had struggled to match Ferrari all weekend and benefitted from a late safety car period to get Valtteri Bottas in the lead.

But Bottas lost victory due to his puncture in the closing laps, with Hamilton inheriting fisrt place.

Wolff admitted that on this occasion the safety car had helped Mercedes, having contributed to the team's frustration at other races this year.

Leader Hamilton had lost out to Sebastian Vettel in the season-opening Australian Grand Prix after the Ferrari driver benefitted from a virtual safety car period.

"It still doesn't feel right, for two reasons," said Wolff of Hamilton's Baku win.

"The first reason is that we lacked the pace, and the second reason is that the quickest guy on track did not finish because of a puncture that was caused by debris on track three laps from the end.

"The feeling that prevails all of us is that we didn't have the pace through the weekend that we need to have.

"From [Hamilton's] perspective, he very much knows what's right and wrong, and it was Valtteri's race to win.

"But I think he just got his Melbourne victory back, from his perspective. This is how you must see it."

Wolff said that the team harboured hopes that Bottas could still beat Sebastian Vettel in a straight fight by being on fresh tyres at the end, even without the intervention of the safety car.

"Valtteri just kept going faster and faster and faster, to the point that even with no safety car we thought there was a chance," Wolff added.

"He would have switched later to the ultrasoft and would have been able to try to hunt Sebastian down, but obviously then it all started."

Wolff said he was surprised to see Vettel launch an attack on Bottas after the safety car, a move that was resolved when the German locked up and ran off the track.

"It was very interesting, because I thought at the restart Valtteri did very well and he pulled a gap. But then through the last kink the Ferrari came back hugely.

"We saw on the data that that is their strongest point – that is where their engine seems to work best, around 200kph, and he caught up.

"He tried the inside, and Valtteri was very clever to open the door when he saw him locking his wheels. I think that apart from Valtteri, everyone made mistakes today."

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About this article

Series Formula 1
Drivers Lewis Hamilton Shop Now
Teams Mercedes Shop Now
Author Adam Cooper
Article type Breaking news