Hamilton baffled by slow Mercedes after 'a really good day' in Baku

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Lewis Hamilton was mystified by Mercedes' lack of pace despite a "really good day" at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

The Briton was only 11th fastest in Practice 2 and a second off the best time set by Sergio Perez, who led a Red Bull one-two in Baku.

Yet Hamilton admitted there was no obvious reason for the significant gap to the front.

“Honestly I generally had a really good day; it was clean, I got all the laps that we needed, there were not really any mistakes… but just slow,” he said via Formula1.com.

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“There’s just no more time in it. We’re definitely quite a chunk down, and I think everyone will be scratching their heads and looking into the data to see how we can improve.

“I was pushing and on the limit, but the car is limited. There’s areas where I should just be quicker, but there’s no more grip.

"We’ll work at it. It’s not easy to be out of the top 10 when we’ve had pace in other places," he added, "but I don’t really know why we’re where we are.”

Mercedes were reportedly struggling with tyre warm-up, a similar issue that blighted Hamilton in Monaco, where he scored his worst result of 2021 in seventh.

And asked if any progress had been made in the two weeks since, Lewis acknowledged the result spoke for itself.

“Pace-wise, we’ve not gone anywhere forwards – if anything it looks like today we’ve gone backwards,” he concluded.

The situation was even worse for Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas, who found himself a further second behind Hamilton in 16th on Friday afternoon.

“It was very tricky for us today, clearly lacking pace,” the Finn commented.

“It feels like it’s just overall grip. The balance is not that far off. Okay, the car is maybe a bit unpredictable, but it just feels like it's lacking grip and sliding around. I think it’s going to be a long night tonight.

“It was slightly better maybe on the long run, but still we’re lacking pace, that’s for sure, so I think there’s something fundamentally wrong, and we need to figure out what," he suggested.

“Monaco wasn’t easy, but at least we were more or less there by the time of qualifying. Now we seem quite a bit off so it’s been definitely a more challenging day than we’d anticipated and we need to find out exactly why.”

Highlighting the hole Mercedes are in was the fact team boss Toto Wolff and both drivers immediately went to the debrief room post-session, with the Austrian skipping his usual his interview with Sky Sports.