After struggling all weekend, Lewis Hamilton was ultimately able to qualify in P2 at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix. The Briton says the result is “down to great, great teamwork”.
It was hard to believe Mercedes would be on the front row at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, considering the difficulties the team faced in free practice.
However, for qualifying the team switched to a lower downforce spec rear wing and did extra warm up laps, which ultimately allowed Lewis to qualify in P2.
“I think we definitely weren’t expecting that,” Hamilton said after quali.
“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.
“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.”
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The Briton says is was hard to figure out Mercedes’ tyre warm up issues that have been plaguing the team throughout 2021.
“It’s just crazy trying to get these tyres working and trying to find the envelope for this car. 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.”
Since the W12 seemed to do a lot better on long runs than on single laps, Lewis is hoping the car will perform better on race day.
“Our race pace was a lot better than single lap pace. 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,” concluded the seven-time champion.