Hamilton Struggling in Baku, Tyres Blamed as Cause

Paul Jeffrey

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Lewis Hamilton Mercedes Baku.jpg

Following a topsy turvy start to the Grand Prix weekend in Baku, Lewis Hamilton has expressed his concern about the tyre selection from Pirelli as fears of another difficult weekend loom over the Mercedes #44.

During the opening race of the new Baku circuit in 2016, Hamilton and Mercedes found themselves struggling for pace all weekend around the difficult new track in Azerbaijan, eventually struggling home in a limp 10th position and losing valuable points against his then championship rival and race winning team mate Nico Rosberg.

Following a somewhat difficult opening day of action Hamilton would again find himself in difficulty, with just fifth and tenth positions to show for his efforts during the opening practice sessions of the weekend.

When taken to task on the reasons for his difficult start to the event, Hamilton seems to lay the blame at tyre manufacturers Pirelli, with compounds and new regulations working together to provide a difficult situation for all teams and drivers this weekend.

The grip is very bad. I think it's bad for everyone,” stated Hamilton. “I think everyone is struggling to get the tyres working, the Red Bulls and the Ferraris perhaps less than some others but everyone is struggling generally in the whole pitlane.

“These tyres are just so hard, they're too hard. You can't come to this incredibly warm place and have the track at 50 degrees, and these tyres still don't work, it doesn't make sense.”

As well as a generally low grip surface due to its unique street circuit nature and lack of race activity throughout the year, Hamilton also things the new for 2017 wide tyres aren't helping the grip situation either:

"I think a lot of it is contributed by these tyres being a lot worse, in the sense that, [they're] bigger, heavier, stiffer, harder, they just don't work a lot of the time.

“We're here at this circuit, where the track's 50 degrees, and we've got the supersoft and the soft and neither of them work... it's almost like we have the hard and the extra-hard tyre here. Extra-hard's never even been made before, but it is the hard and the extra-hard, that's the compounds we have here.”

Red Bull seem to be running much more competitively than has been the case for much of this season, and championship pace setters Ferrari also appear strong on a track that seemed to suit the car in 2016, so it could be a positive weekend for the Prancing Horse in the battle for 2017 World Drivers Championship honours this season.

The 2017 Formula One Azerbaijan Grand Prix takes place this weekend. Join in the conversation in our Race Discussion thread and discuss the build up, official sessions and race with your fellow F1 fans!

Hamilton - Mercedes Stuggles at Baku.jpg
Lewis Hamilton Mercedes Baku 2.jpg


Looking forward to Baku? Do you think Mercedes and Hamilton will struggle again? Can Red Bull pick up the pieces and score a strong result? Let us know in the comments section below!
 
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Yves Larose

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He struggle last year too so its not the tools its the driver. Sometimes a driver doesn't click with a track and thats the one for Lewis.
 

usmon

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paracletus

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I guess one of the journalists asked why the car was slow, and an answer was given.
Perhaps it is actually the tyre compounds which aren't working well for most of the cars.
 

usmon

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InsaneOzzie

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Yes! it seems the compounds Pirelli have supplied are a bit questionable, considering the track temps you would think tyre temp would be the last thing throwing a spanner in the "go faster" works:speechless:
 

Sun Levi

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He struggle last year too so its not the tools its the driver. Sometimes a driver doesn't click with a track and thats the one for Lewis.
"Its not the tools it's the driver".

By your analysis, Hamilton is the best driver in Qualifying this year. ;)
 

Nick Hill

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Welp, so much for struggling. Looks like whatever the issue was, it's been sorted.

I'm braced for a snoozer of a Merc 1-2, but here's hoping that Ferrari's trend of being quicker in race than qualy holds up tomorrow.
 

Nick Hill

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Still a long ways to go (not even the halfway point yet), but @Patrik Marek 's comments don't strike me quite as far fetched after today's race:

- Hamilton 20 pts behind Vettel
- Bottas only 15 pts behind Hamilton
 
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