Lewis Hamilton’s comments suggest Mercedes will struggle at Azerbaijan GP


Lewis Hamilton and his Mercedes team were off the pace during practice at the Azerbaijan GP

Things don’t seem to be going the way of Mercedes after their debacle at the Monaco GP. While Valtteri Bottas retired due to a horrible pitstop where one of his tyres could not be removed, Lewis Hamilton struggled in the race.

The defending F1 champion finished a lowly seventh behind the likes of Sebastian Vettel and Pierre Gasly. This, coupled with Max Verstappen winning the race saw the Dutchman overtake Hamilton in the F1 title scene.

Lewis Hamilton shared some advice with Lando Norris after the 2021 Imola GP qualifying session
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes and Lando Norris, McLaren during the Bahrain March testing at Bahrain International Circuit (Imago)

Two weeks should have been enough for Mercedes to learn from the streets of Monaco, but that doesn’t seem to be taking place.

Hamilton and Bottas were P7 and P10 in the first practice session, which was fine. However, the second practice session was a disaster.

Hamilton just could not catch the Red Bulls or even the Ferraris and he seemed defeated during one of the exchanges with his engineers.

Hamilton was P11 during that exchange and he ended the session in the same position. He was more than a second off the pace from Sergio Perez while Bottas finished at P16 and was two seconds off the lead Red Bull.

Street circuits a problem for Mercedes?

Red Bull topped the first two practice sessions and Perez also seems to be in the mood. Verstappen finished the first session on top before coming behind his teammate and the Red Bulls seem set to dominate this weekend.

Ferrari, for their part, also look good and finished P3 and P4 in the second session, despite Charles Leclerc going into the barriers.

Max Verstappen had to use the shoes of Sergio Perez at the Azerbaijan GP
Max Verstappen of Netherlands and Red Bull Racing prepares to drive in the garage during qualifying for the F1 Grand Prix of Italy at Autodromo di Monza on September 07, 2019 in Monza, Italy. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

Mercedes seem to be struggling in street circuits and Hamilton’s comments won’t help their fears either.

Of course, the defending champions could be sandbagging but it would make little sense to do that with restricted practice times this year.

Red Bull have the chance to increase their leads in both championships and it will be interesting to see how qualifying goes on Saturday.

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