BAKU, Azerbaijan – Seven-time World champion Lewis Hamilton earned precious points for Mercedes but another tough day in the newly minted Formula One season saw him finish sixth in the Azerbaijan Grand Prix here Sunday.
The 38-year-old Brit, who has family ties to the island of Grenada through his paternal grandparents, started from fifth on the grid but lacked the pace to seriously compete and was forced to watch as the Red Bulls pulled off a one-two.
Sergio Perez took the chequered flag after starting from the second row while teammate and reigning World champion Max Verstappen, finished second.
Pole sitter Charles Leclerc of Ferrari claimed the remaining podium spot.
“I’m continuously proud of my team. We didn’t have the pace that we did in Melbourne, which is not the greatest, but there is no lack of motivation in this team,” Hamilton said afterwards.
“We’re all super hungry, and hopefully this is the beginning of something better in the coming races. Once I get that confidence in the car, the pace will come.”
Hamilton was racing in the top 10 but dropped down the field following the emergence of the Safety Car after Alpha Tauri’s Nyck de Vries crashed at Turn Five.
However, he battled back superbly to overtake teammate George Russell and Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll to get up to sixth, but ran out of time before he could properly take aim at Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz, who eventually finished fifth.
“The timing of the Safety Car wasn’t ideal. I couldn’t get bogged down in that frustration though. I had to keep my head down and get focused on attacking,” Hamilton said.
“That’s what I did and I got right back in the race. I really enjoyed those battles with the cars around me.
“The Ferrari of Sainz was just a little bit quicker on the straight than us, even with the DRS open. I gave it everything I had to get past though.”
Verstappen leads the standings on 93 points, six clear of Perez, with Hamilton fourth on 48 points.