Lewis Hamilton declares F1 ‘hunger’ still there evidenced by Baku fightback

Thomas Maher
Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton pictured at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix. Baku, April 2023.

Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton pictured at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix. Baku, April 2023.

Lewis Hamilton has said his Azerbaijan GP fightback shows he still has plenty of hunger for racing in F1.

Hamilton was one of the drivers undone by the timing of the Safety Car early on in the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, costing the Mercedes driver several positions.

Having been running in fifth, ahead of teammate George Russell, when he pitted on Lap 9. Moments later, when Nyck de Vries clipped the wall at Turn 5 before parking his AlphaTauri at Turn 6, the Safety Car was deployed – handing less time-consuming stops to those who had yet to pit.

Once it all shook out, Hamilton found himself back down in 10th place but set about re-establishing himself once the race resumed – including a decisive slice past Russell into Turn 1.

Hamilton would go on to finish sixth, capitalising on a mid-race error from Lance Stroll when the Aston Martin driver outbraked himself into the corner leading onto the massive pit straight. Hamilton finished within DRS range of Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz, just missing out on fifth.

Lewis Hamilton: The race showed my hunger is still there

Speaking about his dramatic race in Azerbaijan, Hamilton said that he showed his hunger and passion for racing remains unabated at a time when the seven-time World Champion’s immediate future is uncertain – his contract with Mercedes coming to an end at the conclusion of 2023.

“Well, naturally, because so much work goes into the weekend and then [Saturday] was a difficult day where I went backward, then [Sunday] I was hoping for a better day and I lost so many places, that’s definitely a kick in the teeth,” he said, as quoted by Motorsport.com.

“But then I was like, ‘Well, it is what it is’. I think [Sunday] showed that the hunger is there. And once I get that confidence in that car, the pace will come out.”

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Asked about his mindset as the race resumed, having lost five positions as a result of the Safety Car intervention, Hamilton said he kept his disappointment pushed aside.

“I couldn’t get bogged down in that frustration and ‘I’ve lost all those positions’,” he explained.

“I just had to keep my head down and get focused on attacking, and that’s what I did. I got my head down and got right back in the race. And yeah, I really enjoyed those battles.

“[I’m] really continuously proud of my team for just keeping their head down. We didn’t have the pace that we had in the last race, which is obviously not the greatest. But there’s no lack of motivation in this team.

“We’re all super hungry, we’re just working towards getting those upgrades. So I think this is the beginning of something hopefully better in the next coming races.”