Lewis Hamilton is confident Mercedes can start to perform more consistently after it made a significant step in its understanding of the latest generation of Pirelli tyres between the Monaco and Canadian Grands Prix.
Hamilton has won three of this season’s seven races, but a seventh-place finish in Monaco and a fourth-place finish in Russia cost him crucial points in his championship battle with Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel. Both performances were followed by victories at the next round, but that only served to underline the frustrations Mercedes was experiencing with understanding how to maximise performance from the tyres.
The problem stemmed from getting all four tyres into the right operating window of temperature in order to maximise performance and it was exacerbated by the smooth track surfaces and low-energy corners of both Russia and Monaco. After Hamilton qualified 13th in Monaco, the relevant parts of the team worked 24-hours solid for ten days straight to provide a solution in Canada, and it paid off with Hamilton taking pole position and a dominant victory.
On paper, the track layout for this weekend’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix looks similar to Russia, but Hamilton is confident the work done since Sochi will help avoid another slump in form.
“We have another race in Baku which is very smooth like Russia,” he said. “For us, firstly getting the car where we need it in the weekend is definitely going to be a challenge, but we learned a lot from Monaco and we learned a lot from Canada.
“If we apply the same diligence that we did in the two weeks after Monaco after every single race — even after a win — we’re sure that we can continue to fight and maybe we won’t have the rollercoaster ride [in performance] so much.”
Hamilton believes Mercedes’ recent recovery is even more impressive than the work the team did following a significant dip in form at the…