Two-time Formula 1 champion, and former McLaren Mercedes driver, Mika Häkkinen gave his thoughts on Mercedes’ subpar performance at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.
“This was the second really difficult Grand Prix for Mercedes,” the Finn wrote in his Unibet column.
“After a bad weekend in Monaco we expected them to recover in Baku, but it never happened.
“Although Lewis Hamilton was able to qualify well, you could see in the race that he did not have the performance in his car to pull away from the Red Bulls.
“And when his pit stop lasted 4.5s against Max’s 1.9s the race lead disappeared.”
Häkkinen went on to say Hamilton’s “mistake”, that led to his car locking-up when the race was restarted after a red flag period, happened because the Briton is driving at the limit.
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“Lewis’ mistake after the race restart was not typical of him, but it shows how hard he was pushing to try and make up for his car’s performance issues.
“After Max’s unfortunate accident, Lewis’s problem provided some balance to the result, but Mercedes will be now looking for answers to their technical problems.”
The Finn also commented on Valtteri Bottas’ awful weekend, that saw him finish in P12, as well as Mercedes’ apparent lack of pace on street circuits.
“Valtteri Bottas reported very poor grip all weekend, and could not get the tyres up to temperature quickly enough, a problem which team boss Toto Wolff admits they need to fix.
“After defending well against Red Bull in the first four races of the season, Mercedes have really struggled at the temporary street circuits in Monaco and Baku, where grip levels are low.
“They will be hoping for a very different outcome in France in two weeks time because, based on what we have seen, Max, Sergio and Red Bull are in an extremely strong position,” concluded Häkkinen.