Hamilton battled his way up from fourth on the grid and appeared on course to finish a distant second place behind Red Bull’s Max Verstappen until his performance severely dropped off after he picked up damage to the left-rear of his car by running over the kerbs.

The seven-time world champion struggled for pace and allowed Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas through into second, before he was also picked off by McLaren’s Lando Norris as he limped home in fourth.

Speaking after the race, Mercedes boss Toto Wolff revealed the team’s initial estimations of how much Hamilton’s race was impacted by the damage.

“We have calculated that we lost about 30 points [of downforce], but that is a number that is not checked yet,” Wolff said.

“But there was quite a loss in performance and that meant he was pushing the tyres in a direction that they wouldn’t have made it to the end probably.

“So we wanted to evaluate what his performance really was after the damage, and whether it was possible that Valtteri could have protected against Lando, but that wasn’t possible.

“He was also fair towards Valtteri to do his own race, and this is when we decided to switch, obviously understanding that we would lose P3 to McLaren.”

Asked how much lap time the loss of downforce equated to, Wolff replied: “It’s very difficult to say as this is a first guess and what we see on the sensors, and you can’t really convert it into lap time.

“On rebalancing the car, the new tyre obviously masks a little bit a loss of performance and gave a relative advantage to the guys running on an older tyre.”

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Hamilton said he had “no idea” where the damage had happened and stressed he “wasn’t going over the top of the kerbs more than anyone else” during the 71-lap race.

Wolff explained Mercedes believes Hamilton sustained the damage running wide out of Turn 10 just before he came in for his first pitstop on Lap 31.

“I think it was around lap 30 out of Turn 10, where there’s a pretty aggressive kerb,” Wolff said.

“But we didn’t see that it was a driving mistake, it was pretty much the load that that occurred and we need to analyse why that was.”

The result sees Hamilton further slip behind Verstappen in the championship, with the Dutchman now boasting a 32-point advantage over his main rival after the opening nine races.

But Wolff stressed Hamilton remains “massively in the hunt” to win a record-breaking eighth world title this year.

“Of course, losing every point is a blow, and he lost, what was it, six points compared to finishing second,” Wolff added.

“Adding that all up is obviously making the whole momentum going in the wrong direction. But this is so far from over. He’s 32 points behind Max. That’s a DNF away. And he’s in the hunt again.

“If we look at Baku and the potential, and we look at the other races, overall, we just need to up our game, make less mistakes, and continue to understand the car better.

“Then we’re still massively in the hunt.”