Lewis Hamilton has admitted that his poor performance in qualifying in Baku was because he failed to get into a rhythm and struggled under braking.
Hamilton ended up 10th after making mistakes in all three sessions and finally clipping the wall in Q3. He said that changes to the set-up overnight had made the car more difficult under braking, but insisted that he was at fault.
“Not anything particular,” he said when asked about why his session went so badly. “Obviously braking, which everyone could see. These things happen. I don’t feel like I need to find an explanation, It was nothing to do with anyone else, it was just me not doing good laps. I was four-tenths up on both laps, so there’s no question I was quicker, I just didn’t finish the laps.
“The car was a little bit different yesterday. It was better on the brakes yesterday, and we made some changes. It wasn’t as good today, and I wasn’t able to brake in the same places as I was yesterday. And I didn’t adjust. It was my mistakes.”
He wouldn’t elaborate on those overnight set-up changes.
“I don’t know whether I’m permitted to say what changes they were, but it was a change that affected the car today. It didn’t feel the same as yesterday as I said. Still good enough for pole.
He added: “It’s not the car. I just couldn’t get into a rhythm today. It wasn’t just in qualifying, it was in practice as well. Just an off day, unfortunately. An expensive day, but an off day today.”
Mercedes will ask the FIA if it can change the front tyres he damaged in Q2 and on which he is suppose to start, although finding replacements won’t be easy.
“All my tyres are flat-spotted, all fronts. Honestly, I have no idea what they are going to do, you have to ask the team. I’m sure I’ll get by either way.”
Lewis says anything could happen in Sunday’s race, and even suggested that he could still win.
“I’ve seen GP2, but it just shows that lots can happen at this track, I can’t predict what’s going to happen tomorrow. It’s not even worth thinking about it, I’m just going to arrive tomorrow and see how it goes.
“I’ll see when I wake up. It’s really strange, you know. Every Sunday is always different. The last race I didn’t feel good before the race, just didn’t have a good feeling. I drove fantastic. Some days you feel great, and it goes bad, and then some days you feel bad, and it goes bad, some days you feel good, and it goes good. I have no idea how it’s going to be.
“The best thing I can do is try to look forward, no point in looking at the past, no matter how pissed off you’re going to be. I;ve got another opportunity tomorrow, I’ve got a good car, good pace, providing we can remain clean on track and not get caught up in other’s mistakes or make mistakes we should be able to get some good points tomorrow. It’s not impossible to win from where I am.”
Hamilton said that getting tyre temperature on safety car restarts – especially in the cooler conditions later in the race – could be a problem.
“It always is with these tyres, an it will be for sure. But everyone will be in the same boat. I think tomorrow safety cars could be a blessing for me. As you’ve seen in GP2 there’s a long, long way down to Turn One. It could be helpful. But I’ve got to get round the first God knows how many laps to even consider that first.”