Lewis Hamilton says he was ‘too friendly’ to Valtteri Bottas at Azerbaijan GP start

Lewis Hamilton says he was “too friendly” to Valtteri Bottas at the start of the Azerbaijan GP and felt his performance was “under par” after finishing second to his team-mate.

The two Mercedes drivers went wheel to wheel through the opening corners, with Bottas managing to hold onto his lead from pole and go on to claim victory and reclaim the F1 2019 championship lead from Hamilton.

Bottas was pushed very close to the wall at Turn One, but Hamilton felt he could have been more aggressive at the first corner to take the lead.

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“I didn’t get the job done in qualifying, [Valtteri] did, and in the race I was too friendly at Turn One and basically gave it to him,” Hamilton told Sky F1.

“He drove a fantastic race and made no mistakes so he deserved the win.”

Hamilton felt on Saturday he missed out on pole after mistakes at the opening two corners and said he had work to do, but was happy to leave Baku with another one-two for Mercedes.

“This is not our strongest race in the season, it’s always been a difficult race for me so this is a really good result considering and it’s a fantastic result for the team,” he said.

“Valtteri did an exceptional job this weekend, truly deserves the win. An under-par performance from myself so just need to work hard.

“I just struggle here. I can’t really point it out. I got quicker at the end but it was too late by then.”

Bottas felt he had been too safe off the line to open the door to his team-mate and felt the battle had been hard and fair.

“At the start I was a tiny bit too cautious at the drive out phase so Lewis had a better start,” the Finn told Sky F1.

“I was on the outside so I knew if I could carry the speed at the same time I can be fair and leave space. Same thing at Turn Two. It was nice and clean from both of us, which we all expect.”

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