F1: Can Lewis Hamilton do it again?
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Lewis Hamilton believes his criticism of Mercedes after the Monaco Grand Prix was said in the “heat of the moment” but things are “better said behind closed doors.”
Mercedes and Hamilton endured one of their worst weekends last time out around the streets of Monte Carlo, with the seven-time champion qualifying and finishing in seventh place, while main title rival Verstappen dominated the race to win in the principality.
Hamilton’s teammate Valtteri Bottas, who was running second, was also forced to retire from the race after a problem during his pitstop, with Mercedes picking up just seven points from the weekend.
“We lost a lot of points today for a really, really poor performance from the team,” Hamilton said after the weekend. “I’m definitely a little bit surprised by it, but these things are sent to try us.
“Three places it cost us [the strategy]. I don’t really have a reaction to it. I think we do all our talking in the background and we’ll work together and try and come out of this stronger.
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“We underperformed as a team all weekend from the get-go so we’ll just put our focus onto the next race.”
However, speaking at the press conference ahead of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, Hamilton was more considerate with his analysis.
“In the heat of the moment, you don’t always say the best things,” he admitted. “I think constructive criticism is always a good thing, better said behind closed doors and that’s what we’ve been doing.
“There was no one single person to blame,” he added. “I was very much part of the decision-making process, and after going back and having a look, and analysing things, there are things that I could have said that would have set a domino effect on.
“So we know that we could have done better and one race doesn’t define us,” he insisted.
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“Of course you always try and do better in the future… as I said, we win and we lose as a team so we will push forwards and hope for better.”
Hamilton and Mercedes lost the lead of both the driver and team standings after the weekend, with Red Bull and Max Verstappen leading the way heading to Baku, Azerbaijan.
Yet the Briton concluded they were feeling stronger as a team, with some thanks to the setback.
He added: “The debriefs were great, really proud, naturally, to work with such a determined and really committed group of people.
“There’s never any finger-pointing, we just work together, we have difficult discussions, we don’t feel out of place to question people’s opinions, and we just spark a lot of debate and there’s a huge deep dive into what we can do better.
“That’s why we’re the great team we are.”
Hamilton looks to claw back lost points this weekend in Baku, with Verstappen leading the standings by four points.
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