Lewis Hamilton finished FP2 in Baku down in P11, and the Mercedes man doesn’t think that he could have gone any faster.
It wasn’t the best of Friday afternoons for the German team as they struggled to find any pace with Hamilton and Bottas ending the day in P11 and P16 respectively while Red Bull secured a 1-2 finish.
To make matters worse, Hamilton says that he was pleased with how he performed, feeling that he couldn’t have driven much better, suggesting that the issue is with the car.
“Honestly I generally had a really good day,” Hamilton told reporters.
“It was clean, I got all the laps we needed, there was not really any mistakes – I had a lock-up in [first practice].
“We’re just slow. In general, I feel like I’m driving well and the car felt better in [first practice]. In this one there was just no more time in it.
“We’re definitely quite a chunk down and I think everyone will be scratching their heads and looking in the data trying to figure out how we can improve.”
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Surprised the numbers on the template go that high! 🙃
Lacking pace today. Long night ahead. Lots to understand before Saturday. pic.twitter.com/gYPLq1bBQR
— Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team (@MercedesAMGF1) June 4, 2021
In terms of fastest laps, the Brit was just over a second off the best time of the session set by Sergio Perez.
He was at least closer to the Mexican and Verstappen on the longer runs though, having an average pace better than everyone but them.
Nevertheless, while he says the car felt slightly better with more fuel onboard, he still wasn’t happy with it.
“It didn’t feel good in this session,” he said.
“In general I was pushing, I was on the limit, but the car is limited. There’s areas that I should just be quicker but there’s no more grip. But we’ll work at it.
“Of course it’s definitely not easy to be out of the top 10 when we’ve had pace in other places. I don’t really know where we’re at.”
In Monaco, the Mercedes didn’t have the pace of the Red Bull or even the Ferarri in practice, but the team had made enough progress by the time qualifying came around for Bottas to take P3.
The Finn feels that things are going even worse this around than they were there at the same point.
“Monaco, it wasn’t easy but at least we were more or less there by the time of qualifying,” he said.
“Now we seem to be quite a bit off, so it has definitively been a more challenging day than we anticipated, and we need to find exactly why.”