BAKU, Azerbaijan ( Associated Press) – Lewis Hamilton is optimistic Mercedes is making progress in challenging Formula One leaders and says the “adversity” of struggling has brought the team closer.
Ahead of Sunday’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix, the seven-time champion has just one podium finish from seven races, his worst start of a season since 2009, with Mercedes having to redesign a car that started the year. Had a tendency to bounce and move on the high. pace.
“Can I say this is the best, most exciting journey? No, but it is an experience and it is bringing the team closer,” Hamilton said on Friday. “It gives us all to sharpen our tools. It’s compelling. Technology is advancing a lot to be able to understand this, and we’re getting closer than ever. I think that’s what happens when you face adversity, and So there are lots and lots of positives.”
Hamilton said the team upgrade brought to the Spanish Grand Prix last month “has given us more direction to go in and it has been a positive” as he and teammates George Russell Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc Let’s try to chase the title contenders. Ferrari.
Russell is still chasing his first F1 victory and has warned that Mercedes will be behind Red Bull and Ferrari in Azerbaijan and needs more time to develop its car to challenge top teams.
“The car we had (for the first race of 2002) in Bahrain was like its max capacity and we couldn’t really improve from there,” he said. “Sometimes you have to take one small step to get three steps forward, and I think at the moment we are in that transitional process. I think it will be a few more races before we hopefully get us Ferrari and Start watching Fighting with Red Bull.
Points leaders Verstappen and Leclerc both faced disappointment in Azerbaijan last year. The Dutchman’s tire blew at high speed, throwing him into the wall in a dramatic crash, while Leclerc started on pole position but lacked pace and dropped to fourth. It echoes Leclerc’s recent struggles – he has taken pole in each of the last three races, but could not convert any of them into victories as Verstappen overtook him in the standings. The last race in Monaco was particularly bitter as Ferrari made the wrong pit stop call and had to give it a shot at winning on home soil.
“Obviously there was a lot to analyze in Monaco because we made some mistakes,” said Leclerc, who is nine points behind Verstappen. “What gives me confidence for the future is that we as a team figured out the reasons for making those mistakes. … we obviously need to focus on ourselves, make no other mistake. And if we do everything right, I’m sure we can have a great result this weekend.
Last year’s winner in Baku was Verstappen’s teammate Sergio Perez, who comes high on the weekend after his Monaco win And a new Red Bull contract. Now a title contender in his own right, 15 points away from Verstappen, Perez said contract talks did not define him as Verstappen’s wingman.
“There’s nothing in my contract that says I need to finish second or something like that, you know,” he said. “So it wasn’t a topic in the contract at all.”
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