Lewis Hamilton concedes he was “too friendly” to Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas fighting for the lead at the first corner which denied him a victory charge at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix and with it the Formula 1 world championship lead.

The reigning F1 world champion saw pole position pinched by his Mercedes teammate in qualifying but after getting better drive off the start line, in a repeat of his Chinese Grand Prix start, Hamilton slotted into the inside line and alongside Bottas going into Turn 1.

But the Finnish driver held his nerve to power around the outside and retain the lead, while also fending off an attack from Hamilton into the second turn, which allowed him to take control of the race and power to victory in Baku.

Reflecting on his opening lap attack, Hamilton accepts he could have been more aggressive against Bottas but paid credit to his “fantastic” teammate.

“I didn’t get the job done in qualifying, he did, and in the race I was too friendly at Turn 1 and basically gave it to him,” Hamilton said. “He drove a fantastic race and made no mistakes so he deserves the win this weekend.

“This is not our strongest race of the season, this has always been a difficult race for me. So this is a really good result for considering and a fantastic result for the team. Valtteri did a fantastic job all weekend and he truly deserved the win. I would say I was a bit under par for this weekend so I just need to work hard.

“It is not that I don’t enjoy it here I just struggle here, there are certain races that I struggle at compared to others, I can’t really point it out. I got quicker but it was too late by then.”

Hamilton has slipped to one point behind Bottas at the top of the F1 world championship, with the pair notching up identical results from the opening four rounds with two wins and two second places each, but the Finn edges the standings thanks to his extra point from setting the fastest lap at the Australian Grand Prix.



Loading Comments...