Azerbaijan GP: Brawn Explains Mercedes’ Friday Struggles

Mercedes were far from their usual selves at the Azerbaijan GP this weekend. While at first the lack of pace ruined their practice sessions and Valtteri Bottas’ overall weekend, sheer bad luck turned Lewis Hamilton’s P2, or even race win, into a P15 finish. Managing Director of F1, Ross Brawn, thinks he knows the reason why the Silver Arrows were slow on Friday.

In FP1, Lewis Hamilton only managed to seventh fastest of the session, while teammate, Valtteri Bottas was 10th on the timesheet. Things went downhill as in the second session, as Hamilton found himself in 10th and Bottas in 16th. It was an unusual sight to see, as they are expected to be in the top five every weekend.

Brawn points out the reasons why Mercedes were slow

In his column, Brawn wrote, “It was unusual for Mercedes to come to a race with a car so out of shape. It could be that following their difficulties in Monaco, they decided to take a different path, and that’s what put them so out of shape on Friday.”

The start of the F1 race in Azerbaijan
Formula One F1 – Azerbaijan Grand Prix – Baku City Circuit, Baku, Azerbaijan – Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen in action at the start of the race REUTERS/Anton Vaganov

“If I had trouble with tyre temperatures like they did in Monaco, I would have been pushing to try a different direction. So their struggles on Friday could have been a result of that,” Brawn concluded.

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The Silver Arrows suffer another horrifying weekend in Baku

The Brackley-based team were looking to redeem themselves after the Monaco GP. However, things didn’t pan out to their liking at the Azerbaijan weekend either. Both Hamilton and Bottas failed to finish inside the top 10 and score points needed to regain the top stop in both championships.

At the restart of the race, Hamilton was in second behind race leader, Sergio Perez. He attacked the Mexican the first chance he got, but it didn’t work out. His brake failed, causing him to overshoot turn 1 and drive into the run-off area of the track. He fell from second to 15th while his Finnish teammate crossed the line 12th place.

Valtteri Bottas at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix
Formula One F1 – Azerbaijan Grand Prix – Baku City Circuit, Baku, Azerbaijan – June 5, 2021 Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas in action during qualifying REUTERS/Anton Vaganov

The team came home empty-handed but still retain second place in the constructor’s standings behind rivals, Red Bull. The Silver Arrows will learn from this mistake and try to come back stronger for the seventh round of the season in France.

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