Lewis Hamilton came into Baku on the back of underpar performances in Bahrain and China, as the Mercedes package hasn’t really been able to adjust to the Pirelli tyres and to the weather conditions at the grand prix this season.
The Mercedes team did work on their car during the two week break, but couldn’t really get the car to talk on the track in free practice today, as Bottas and Hamilton managed to finish it in 4th and 5th place respectively.
After free practice, Hamilton admitted that Mercedes are just not quick enough and will need to work on the car in order to challenge for a podium finish.
“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.” he added.
Red Bull seem to be the fastest, with Ferrari a close second.
“I think they’re both currently ahead, as they were in the last race but more so,” the Brit said.
“Today Red Bull seemed to pick up quite a bit of pace.” he added.
Hamilton will now have to sit with his engineers and help the new W09 come to terms with the Pirelli tyres, something that Mercedes have struggled with this season.
“There’s a lot of corners and being that it’s quite cool the tyres are still an issue,” Hamilton said
“It’s really this new tyre that we have, [we’re] still trying to understand it,” he concluded.