F1: Lewis Hamilton admits “I didn’t have the pace” in Azerbaijan F1 sprint

Lewis Hamilton was left frustrated after a disappointing performance in the Azerbaijan Grand Prix F1 sprint race on Saturday. The seven-time world champion could only manage a seventh-place finish, one position lower than where he started.

Hamilton struggled to keep up with the pace of the front runners throughout the 17-lap race. He lost ground when battling Carlos Sainz following the Safety Car period. This allowed Fernando Alonso to get through as Hamilton was off the racing line at Turn 1, dropping to seventh.

Speaking after the race, Hamilton admitted that he didn’t have the pace to compete with the leaders.

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“I didn’t have the pace,” Hamilton said. “It’s just one of those weekends where we didn’t quite get the car to the place we wanted. We’re struggling with grip, so we’ve got to try and figure that out overnight.”

Despite the disappointing result, Hamilton will start the main race on Sunday from fifth place, ahead of Alonso. The Briton will be hoping to make up ground and challenge for the podium positions.

“We’ve still got a good opportunity to score some points tomorrow,” Hamilton said. “I’m starting from P5, so let’s see what we can do. We’ll keep fighting.”

“It wasn’t ideal losing the position to Alonso,” Hamilton said. “It’s never great going backwards but that’s motor racing sometimes.

“I didn’t have the pace of the cars ahead of me, but I know why that is now, from having the Sprint. It’s a good indicator of what the problem is in terms of setup, so we’ll look into it and hopefully make some improvements tomorrow.

“It’s going to be tough, but anything can happen.”