Lewis Hamilton admitted that he and Mercedes did not have the pace to match Red Bull and Ferrari on the first day of free practice of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix weekend, but his team are confident that they will extract more performance from their package in the next two days.
Speaking to reporters at the end of the day in Baku, Hamilton said, “It’s been a smooth day. We got through everything we needed without many mistakes and we gathered lots of information. It started out quite warm but cooled down in the afternoon, which made it interesting to try and understand the tyres in both conditions.”
“Overall, we weren’t quick enough today, both Red Bull and Ferrari seem to be ahead of us at the moment. So we’ve got some work to do. I’m going to be knocking on the doors of all the engineers overnight, so that we can hopefully make the right changes.”
Mercedes appear to have lost the edge they have enjoyed for the past four years and are struggling to find the sweet-spot with the W09, but technical chief James Allison remains confident, “It was a day of learning at this very unusual track.”
“Even though we’ve made progress, we’ve got a lot more to do tonight in order to be able to take the fight to a very fast Red Bull. But we have plenty of directions to head in; I’m looking forward to the remainder of the weekend, which we’re sure is going to be a competitive one,” added Allison.