Lewis Hamilton's 'natural ability is fantastic' says Button
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Lewis Hamilton will start on the front row in Baku, Azerbaijan after Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc claimed pole position for the second race in a row. Equally, for the second successive race, it’s come from a red flag, after an incredibly close qualifying session.
After four red flags with Lance Stroll, Antonio Giovinazzi, Daniel Ricciardo, and Yuki Tsunoda all planting their cars into the wall, Max Verstappen will start third despite Red Bull showing real promise as favourites for pole throughout the whole weekend.
The final red flag hampered fast laps at the end of qualifying for many, including Verstappen, with the session being stopped due to Tsunoda hitting the wall, and a stricken Ferrari of Carlos Sainz Jr obstructing the track.
Hamilton, however, had struggled all weekend, especially in the first two practice sessions, but said Mercedes ‘won’t take no for an answer’ after a ‘disastrous’ weekend so far.
“The lap was OK. We definitely weren’t expecting that,” admitted the seven-time world champion.
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“This is such a monumental result for us. We’ve been struggling like you wouldn’t believe all weekend.
“You can see it. We kept our composure and we continued to have difficult discussions in the background and kept challenging one another and never took no for an answer.
“We’ve moved around and made so many changes over these two days chasing our tail. It’s been so difficult. The work overnight and particularly between the sessions was amazing from the team. I’m really proud of everyone for keeping positive.
“To be up there and so close to these guys, it’s a great, great start.
“It’s crazy trying to squish these tyres on and find the envelope for this car. It’s been the biggest challenge we’ve had in a long time, trying to understand what the car really wants.
“She’s not been happy all weekend. It’s been a bit of a disaster. But even Valtteri getting into the top 10 is a massive leap and it’s down to great, great, great teamwork.”
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However, when it came to the race, Hamilton said he was more hopeful of success than he was before qualifying.
He added: “Our race pace is a lot better than our single lap pace.
“We’re miles off in single laps and a lot closer in race pace. We don’t understand why. I’d like to think hopefully we’re in that same position so we can take the fight to these guys tomorrow.
Verstappen meanwhile, was left frustrated after what he described as a ‘s**t’ qualifying session.
“It was a stupid qualifying to be honest. But anyway it is what it is,” concluded the Dutchman.
“Still P3. We have a good car. Everything was working out fine.
“But yeah, all this s**t is all the time happening in Q3, I don’t care. It’s just unfortunate.
“It’s a street circuit so these things can happen. Our car’s strong so I just hope tomorrow in the race we can look after our tyres and score good points.”
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