Lewis Hamilton has declared Friday in Baku as “a smooth day” as he prepares for the 2018 Azerbaijan Grand Prix, but admits Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport lacks pace compared to its rivals.
Hamilton enjoyed a flawless day, but was out-paced by his team-mate Valtteri Bottas in both practice sessions and his best lap time of 1:43.603 was only good enough for fifth in practice two.
“It’s been a smooth day,” says Hamilton. “We got through everything we needed without many mistakes and we gathered lots of information. It started out quite warm but cooled down in the afternoon, which made it interesting to try and understand the tyres in both conditions.
“Overall, we weren’t quick enough today, both Red Bull and Ferrari seem to be ahead of us at the moment. So we’ve got some work to do. I’m going to be knocking on the doors of all the engineers overnight, so that we can hopefully make the right changes.”
On pure speed, Mercedes lagged behind both Aston Martin Red Bull Racing cars and the Scuderia Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen. It was a similar case on long-run pace too, adding to Hamilton’s suggestion that both Red Bull and Ferrari head into the Baku race-weekend as favourites.