Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Baku City Circuit, 2018

Hamilton warns “we’re not quick enough”

2018 Azerbaijan Grand Prix

Posted on

| Written by and

Lewis Hamilton said Mercedes are lagging behind Red Bull and Ferrari at the end of day one in Baku.

At the last race in Shanghai the world champion claimed Mercedes is now the second or third-quickest team in F1. He arrived in Azerbaijan expecting another tough contest with their closest rivals.

“I did anticipate it would be very close coming into this weekend from previous race experience,” said Hamilton. “It’s been a smooth day, we got through everything we needed. But we’re not quick enough.

“Red Bull’s definitely quite a bit ahead and I couldn’t match their time today so we’ve got some work to do.”

Hamilton ended the second practice session a few hundredths of a second slower than team mate Valtteri Bottas but eight-tenths of a second off the best time set by the Red Bull of Daniel Ricciardo and a similar margin behind Kimi Raikkonen in the Ferrari.

“I think they’re both currently ahead, as they were in the last race but more so,” he reflected. “Today Red Bull seemed to pick up quite a bit of pace.”

Hamilton said he would be “knocking on the door of all the engineers” at Mercedes tonight. He echoed Bottas’s view that the team hasn’t got to grips with the 2018 F1 tyre compounds yet, particularly in the cooler conditions in Baku this year.

Driver murals, Baku City Circuit, 2018
Azerbaijan GP practice in pictures
“There’s a lot of corners and being that it’s quite cool the tyres are still an issue,” said Hamilton, adding he’d had some graining on his right-front tyre. “It’s really this new tyre that we have, [we’re] still trying to understand it,” he added.

2018 F1 season

Browse all 2018 F1 season articles

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...
Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

Posted on Categories 2018 Azerbaijan Grand Prix, 2018 F1 season, F1 newsTags , , ,

Promoted content from around the web | Become a RaceFans Supporter to hide this ad and others

  • 24 comments on “Hamilton warns “we’re not quick enough””

    1. With a bit more luck Mercedes could have easily won the first three races of the season. They had the best pace in Australia, and equal race pace with Ferrari in Bahrain and China. They are still very quick, just not dominant anymore (something Lewis has got accustomed to over the past few years).

      1. Firstlly, Merc was not dominant in 2017. Ferrari had a very good car and but for Singapore/imploding, they could have won. In fact, there are those experts who argue Ferrari had the best car of 2017.

        Bahrain–Ferrari was quicker in qual & quicker on the supersoft compound in race conitions.

        China–no contest. Ferrari over 6ths faster in qualifying, and had better race pace.

        On the whole, so far, Ferrari slightly the better, more consistent car

        1. 12 wins to Ferrari’s 5. Yeah. Real close.

          1. “12 wins to Ferrari’s 5. Yeah. Real close.”

            Ferrari won 5 races. Could have won another 5.

            Singapore-SF70H comfortably suited to this track. Merc struggles. Instead of capitalising, Vettel’s start line misjudgement throws away win.
            Malaysia – SF70H inherently quicker, but suffers reliability problems. Vettel wrecking his car in the preceding race, possibly contributing to the said reliablity issues. Vettel again wrecks his car on the cool down lap after Malaysia race, possibly contributing to their problems in Japan. The more a driver wrecks his car, it increases the risk of things going wrong in the rebuild. GPS data did indicate Ferrari faster than Mercs by some margin in Malaysia.
            Mexico- Merc struggling, yet Vettel throws away win by crashing into Hamilton at the start.
            Spain-quicker than Mercs, but manages to lose the win to Hamilton. Ferrari were quicker to the extent that it needed Bottas holding Vettel, VSC and a Ferrari shortened faster tyre stint for Hamilton win the race.
            Baku- Merc faster on this track, but Hamilton, through no fault of his own, suffers headrest issue. Instead of capitalising, Vettel loses his temper and composure behind the safety car, earns himself a penalty.Throws away a win.

            With a calmer/cooler head from Vettel, Ferrari’s win tally could have been 10. That’s 50% of the races.

            Even in some other races where Ferrari didn’t win, such as China, Spa etc- it was very close. Nip and tuck. For example, in Spa, a track where Mercs were expected to dominate, Ferrari actually showed better long run pace all practice. For most of that race, Hamilton lacked the pace to pull a gap, get out of the risky undercut range. Vettel was able to hound him. It was obvious the Ferrari was just as quick, if not quicker, but Vettel just couldn’t find a way to get past Hamilton on track..Most race reports ( e.g.AMus, Mark Hughes etc) have all given Ferrari the edge at Spa. Even Vettel and Hamilton agreed the SF70H was quicker.

            Also worth noting, unlike the Mercs, Ferrari avoided slumping to 3rd fastest in 3 races. Mercs struggled to match both Ferrari & RB’s in Singapore, Malaysia. Mexico.

            1. What about the races ferrari did win? Could Merc have won those? Could you explain a way another result could have taken place? Yes. At a certain point you have to take a step back and say “look at the scoreboard”. Merc won both titles with races to spare. Yes, they may have redefined the meaning of the word “dominant” over the ‘14 – ‘16 period, but when you score over 25% more points than your opponent over the course of a season, within the context of any sport, I’d call that dominant.

            2. In what world do you even live in? How is that anywhere near what actually happened. It’s like you’re making your dream version of every race just to suit your opinion.

        2. Could you please point me to those experts please?

          In Australia Hamilton would’ve won with two fingers up his nose without the SC.

          Bahrain–Ferrari was quicker in qual & quicker on the supersoft compound in race conitions.

          In Bahrein Bottas had all the cards in hand to win the race. Many ‘experts’ actually claim if it were Hamilton he would’ve won it. Among those are Brundle, Webber…

          China–no contest. Ferrari over 6ths faster in qualifying, and had better race pace.

          Bottas was leading the race and again was in no doubt of winning it if the SC had not come out. There was no chance Vettel was going to overtake him. Bottas was happy to sit behind the entire first stint.

          On the whole, so far, Ferrari slightly the better, more consistent car

          So Ferrari has had a perfect start to the season bar they could’ve won in China too, or at least had Vettel higher up. But the Ferrari has been consistent yes, but in no way any superlative away from the Mercedes.

          If those experts make the same reasoning you made above I’m fairly sure it’s unlikely I’m going to believe them.

          1. Merc was faster in Australia. No debate.
            Bahrain-Ferrari faster in qual & in the first stint on SS tyres. Mercs looked stronger on the mediums.
            China-ferrari easily fastest. Outqualifies Merc by a large 6ths, Bottas only able to undercut Vettel by virtue of Vettel making a mistake going into the pits, combined with very slow pitstop given to Vettel. Before this, Vettel was able to comfortably gap Bottas at the front.

            Agree Ferrari has the most consistent 2018 car (so far)

            Re the experts, i’m referring to 2017, not this year. Experts such as Mark Hughes, Will Buxton, Daniel Ricciardo, Sergio Marchionne, Vettel, Andrew Benson, Helmut Marko & many more have all stated they think the Ferrari of 2017 was just as good as the Merc, or better.

    2. Its ok for Merc fans, Pirelli are changing tyre compounds for 4 races already to help them as theyknew they were suffering pre season. If the new compounds help at Barcelona next race and Merc are back on top their friends at Pirli will role out the knew reduced tread tyres at every race.

    3. Mercedes are slower on purpose. They will use it as an argument to continue with similar engines post 2020.

      Another first for you, don’t forget your hats

      1. @johnmilk ”Mercedes are slower on purpose.”
        – I simply don’t buy that at all, LOL. I can’t really even imagine that a situation like that could actually be the case.

        1. I’m glad you didn’t forget your hat

        2. Hahaha he meant a tinfoil hat.

      2. Mickey's Miniature Grandpa
        28th April 2018, 2:17

        And Lance Stroll could be winning every race in that Williams if he wanted to. He’s just going slow on purpose with a view to negotiating a ridiculously high win bonus. Williams won’t care because they’ll think he won’t be winning anything, but he’ll be laughing all the way to the bank when his plan comes to fruition.

        1. Merc have turned their PUs down. This is obvious. Where did their advantage go? They had a huge head start in development, this head start can’t just disappear. They are developing just like the other manufacturers. Diminishing returns? No. This is an efficiency formula. There are huge gains to be made as long as they’re still putting fuel in the car. I know it sounds like tinfoil hattery, but this is F1. Success starts with aligning yourself with the rules to maximise your own advantage. Also, try to win as slowly as possible. This is an example of that.

      3. Yep, f1 is a political race first and foremost. This is exactly what is happening.

      4. @johnmilk Make sure you don’t forget your coat on your way out! Hehe.

    4. I think we’re seeing the beginning on PU conservation affecting Practices.

      Let’s see how things are tomorrow during P3 qualy when all the PU’s are run at or near 100%.

      No team, particularly the top ones would have been pushing all that hard today so it’s really not possible to tell what the true performance differences are. You can be certain though that when it comes time to get serious the Mercs will be right there again.

      1. “I think we’re seeing the beginning on PU conservation affecting Practices.” If its true, its very sad indeed! I understood the argument years back for taking away refuelling, as it forced drivers to overtake on track, and not depend on strategy. But it turned out to be wrong. Therefore I do not agree with the argument about “predictable refuelling pit stops”. What refuelling during the race brings – as well as not having to conserve the engine (or “PU” as its called nowadays) – is that the drivers can (actually need to!) go flat out the enitre time. What driver, or fan, would not want that??

      2. @dbradock Interesting POV, @keithcollantine, are we seeing less miles being done in practice compared to last year?

        1. I’m not sure we’ll see less miles, just less miles at higher power. They’ll still need to circulate to check balance, tyre deg etc, but probably use a lot more “modeling” to extrapolate their data.

          If we see the first PU fail or drop off dramatically in performance before race 7, my guess is all sorts of different approaches will be taken to minimise wear during P1 & P2

    5. “RBR is faster than you!”

    6. When i claimed the Ferrari the faster car at the beginning of the season after Melbourne, i was told i was talking tosh (i paraphrase) – including by @keithcollantine.

      What say ye all now? Still waiting to make up your minds?

      The only way Mercedes can beat Ferrari at the moment is on strategy, and not raw speed. And that doesn’t look like happening anytime soon as they consistently shoot themselves in the foot by not splitting the strategies between their drivers.

    Comments are closed.