Hamilton says second on Baku grid 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.

Listen to this article

The world champion had headed into 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.

Read Also:

"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

Binotto leaves pit wall seat as Ferrari completes reshuffle
Previous article

Binotto leaves pit wall seat as Ferrari completes reshuffle

Next article

Perez "very pissed off" to miss out on Baku front row start

Perez "very pissed off" to miss out on Baku front row start
The key F1 management call Ferrari must make to avoid more defeat Prime

The key F1 management call Ferrari must make to avoid more defeat

OPINION: Mattia Binotto’s departure from Ferrari will naturally bring a range of changes across the Formula 1 team. But how the changes shape up and the impact they could have is set to be dictated by a key direction Ferrari’s top dogs will need to pick

Formula 1
Nov 30, 2022
The difference between Mercedes’ stumble and the fall of F1 giants Prime

The difference between Mercedes’ stumble and the fall of F1 giants

OPINION: Mercedes endured its worst season of the hybrid Formula 1 era, but was mercifully spared its first winless campaign in over a decade late on. It has owned up to the mistakes it made which led to its troubled W13. And while its task to return to title-challenging contention is not small, its 2022 season seems more like a blip than the beginning of a downward spiral.

Formula 1
Nov 29, 2022
The physical focus bringing out the best from Esteban Ocon Prime

The physical focus bringing out the best from Esteban Ocon

Esteban Ocon likes to point out he’s the first driver since Lewis Hamilton to emerge from a spell as Fernando Alonso’s teammate with a superior overall points record. While some may disagree, as LUKE SMITH discovered, the 2021 Hungarian GP winner reckons it’s not just luck which has made him France’s pre-eminent Formula 1 driver of the moment…

Formula 1
Nov 28, 2022
How Red Bull's dynamic leader Mateschitz shaped its F1 philosophy Prime

How Red Bull's dynamic leader Mateschitz shaped its F1 philosophy

The death of Dietrich Mateschitz last month has not only deprived Red Bull of its visionary founder, it has shorn Formula 1 of one of its most influential benefactors. Mateschitz himself was famously media-shy, preferring to let the brand do the talking on his behalf. And, while it’s now normal to speak of Red Bull F1 titles and champions made, Mateschitz never assumed it would be easy or even possible – as ANTHONY ROWLINSON discovered during this previously unpublished interview from 2006…

Formula 1
Nov 27, 2022
Can Mercedes break Formula 1's cycle of doom? Prime

Can Mercedes break Formula 1's cycle of doom?

OPINION: Teams that have dominated for long periods throughout Formula 1's history often take years to get back to the top of the tree once they've slipped down. But it remains to be seen whether the same will happen to Mercedes after a challenging 2022 season

Formula 1
Nov 24, 2022
What hurt Perez most in his ill-fated fight for second in Abu Dhabi Prime

What hurt Perez most in his ill-fated fight for second in Abu Dhabi

Arguably the favourite in the battle to finish second-best in 2022's Formula 1 standings, Sergio Perez's two-stop strategy at Abu Dhabi couldn't take him ahead of Charles Leclerc when the music stopped - and several key factors ultimately precluded him from the much-coveted runner-up spot.

Formula 1
Nov 23, 2022
The Abu Dhabi momentum that can propel Leclerc and Ferrari to F1 2023 success Prime

The Abu Dhabi momentum that can propel Leclerc and Ferrari to F1 2023 success

OPINION: Charles Leclerc achieved his target of sealing runner-up in the 2022 world championship with a masterful drive behind Max Verstappen in Abu Dhabi. And that race contained key elements that may help him, and Ferrari, go one better in Formula 1 2023

Formula 1
Nov 22, 2022
2022 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Driver Ratings Prime

2022 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Driver Ratings

The 2022 Formula 1 season came to a close at the Yas Marina Circuit, where the battle for second in the standings was decided, the wins in a season record extended and a retiring four-time world champion bowed out on a high. Here's how we rated the drivers

Formula 1
Nov 21, 2022