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.

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
Load comments
The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver the goods for McLaren Prime

The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver the goods for McLaren

From being lapped by his own teammate in Monaco to winning at Monza, it’s been a tumultuous first season at McLaren for Daniel Ricciardo. But, as he tells STUART CODLING, there’s more to the story of his turnaround than having a lovely summer holiday during Formula 1's summer break...

The potential benefits of losing the F1 constructors' title Prime

The potential benefits of losing the F1 constructors' title

As the battle continues to rage over the F1 2021 drivers' championship, teams up and down the grid are turning their attentions to the prize money attributed to each position in the constructors' standings. But F1's sliding scale rules governing wind tunnel and CFD use will soften the blow for those who miss out on the top places

Formula 1
Nov 25, 2021
The invisible enemy that's made Hamilton's title charge tougher Prime

The invisible enemy that's made Hamilton's title charge tougher

After winning his past few Formula 1 titles as a canter, Lewis Hamilton currently trails Max Verstappen by eight points heading into the final double-header of 2021. Although Red Bull has been his biggest on-track challenge, Hamilton feels that he has just as much to grapple with away from the circuit

Formula 1
Nov 24, 2021
Why F1's inconvenient penalties have to stay Prime

Why F1's inconvenient penalties have to stay

OPINION: Quibbles over the length of time taken by Formula 1's stewards over decisions are entirely valid. But however inconvenient it is, there can be no questioning the importance of having clearly defined rules that everyone understands and can stick to. Recent events have shown that ambiguity could have big consequences

Formula 1
Nov 23, 2021
The mistakes Red Bull cannot afford to repeat in F1 2021's title fight climax Prime

The mistakes Red Bull cannot afford to repeat in F1 2021's title fight climax

OPINION: Red Bull has had Formula 1’s fastest package for most of 2021, but in several of the title run-in events it has wasted the RB16B’s potential. It cannot afford to do so again with Lewis Hamilton motoring back towards Max Verstappen in the drivers’ standings with two rounds remaining

Formula 1
Nov 23, 2021
Qatar Grand Prix driver ratings Prime

Qatar Grand Prix driver ratings

Qatar was a virtual unknown for most as Formula 1 made its inaugural visit to the Gulf state, and tyre management quickly emerged as an even more critical factor than normal. Perhaps then it should come as no surprise that two of the championship's elder statesmen produced standout drives

Formula 1
Nov 22, 2021
How Hamilton dominated in Qatar despite missing a key Mercedes advantage Prime

How Hamilton dominated in Qatar despite missing a key Mercedes advantage

There was simply no stopping Lewis Hamilton on Formula 1's first visit to Qatar. The Mercedes driver eased to pole position and led every lap to secure an utterly dominant victory - even without a key Mercedes weapon in his arsenal to increase the heat on Red Bull heading into the final two races of the gripping 2021 title race

Formula 1
Nov 22, 2021
Qatar's long-term plans for a "World Cup every single year" Prime

Qatar's long-term plans for a "World Cup every single year"

Qatar is preparing to host the football World Cup next year, but will be thrown into the sporting spotlight this weekend as Formula 1 prepares to race in the country. Ahead of a 10-year deal to hold a grand prix from 2023 onwards, it's a much-needed opportunity to highlight reforms in the country

Formula 1
Nov 20, 2021