Lewis Hamilton: “It was a difficult day out there”

Lewis Hamilton struggled for pace on Friday in Azerbaijan - Credit: Steve Etherington

Lewis Hamilton ended the opening day of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix weekend with the tenth fastest time in second practice after finishing fifth in the first session.

The Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula 1 Team racer was unable to match the pace of team-mate Valtteri Bottas on Friday, but the Briton was encouraged about the pace of the Finn, however he was unable to unlock the same kind of pace.

“It was a difficult day out there,” admitted Hamilton. “This circuit is a tough one and we had a few challenges that we tried to work through today.

“We’ve clearly still got lots of work to do ahead of qualifying, but Valtteri’s time in FP2 looked promising, so there is obviously pace in the car, which is encouraging.

“Now it’s just a case of getting our heads together tonight to work out exactly how to extract that pace across the entire weekend.”

Hamilton has criticised the tyres that Pirelli have brought to the Baku Street Circuit this weekend, feeling that they have gone too hard in their choices, with the Briton amongst a number of drivers up and down the field struggling to get them to work despite warm temperatures that should assist tyre warm up.

“The grip is very bad. I think it’s bad for everyone,” said 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.

“The track’s 50 degrees and we’ve got the super-soft 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.”