Lewis Hamilton: Worst result of the season so far ‘not a failure’

Henry Valantine
Lewis Hamilton gives a thumbs-up after the race. Baku April 2023.

Lewis Hamilton salutes his Mercedes crew after the race finishes. Azerbaijan April 2023.

Lewis Hamilton remained upbeat in Baku despite his lowest finish of the 2023 season so far, keeping a positive outlook for what is to come for Mercedes.

The seven-time World Champion lost several positions after a Safety Car in the Azerbaijan Grand Prix came at the wrong time from his perspective, Nyck de Vries’ exit from the race coming just after Hamilton had pitted for hard tyres.

This dropped the Mercedes driver down to 10th on the road, but while he was able to recover to sixth come the chequered flag in Baku on Sunday, it represented his worst result of the four races in 2023 to date.

Hamilton made a move on Mercedes team-mate George Russell during the race, and kept pressure on Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz in the closing stages as he looked for a place in the top five.

His P6 finish represented only one place higher than Hamilton managed in last year’s edition of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, but he spoke differently to how he did at the same race last season, where porpoising on the troublesome W13 arguably reached its peak – forcing Hamilton to sit on the side of his cockpit after the race to recover, such was the pain in his back.

While he was unable to make too many inroads into where he would have wanted to be this time around, Hamilton was pragmatic about the result once the race had finished, thanking his team members and reiterating his hope that Mercedes’ planned upgrades for the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix in three weeks’ time will help them move forward.

“Yeah, I think we did,” Hamilton told Sky Sports F1 when asked if he felt Mercedes got all they could out of the W14 in Baku on Sunday.

“I think there was great prep before coming here, a couple of days at the factory, plenty of sim running.

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“[I’m] really proud of the team, big thank you to everyone back at the factory. The mentality in the team is great, there’s such a winning mindset and everyone’s so focused on progressing and getting to where we know we can get to. It’s just taking some steps.

“So I don’t think there were any mistakes, there were any lessons. I don’t think this is failure, I think this is just the build to getting to where we need to be.

“So, everyone’s staying positive in the garage, everyone’s just doing their jobs to the best of their ability, and that’s all we can ask for right now until we get those upgrades, which will hopefully put us much more in the fight.”

Hamilton’s result keeps him fourth in the Drivers’ Championship after four rounds, with the Miami Grand Prix to come next weekend in a long-distance double-header for Formula 1.