Lewis Hamilton has said he was driving at the required speed in the second qualifying session of the Azerbaijan GP after being summoned by the stewards to explain his pace.
Hamilton received a stewards summons alongside McLaren’s Lando Norris for “driving unnecessarily slowly” during the session as the Mercedes driver waited for teammate George Russell to catch up to him.
The seven-time champion was looking for his teammate to provide a tow down the long pit straight in Baku to make up for the Mercedes’ lack of straight-line speed, but in doing so has drawn the attention of the stewards.
However, Hamilton told Sky Sports that he was driving within the limits of his delta time and is confident the investigation won’t result in a penalty for the race.
“I don’t really have a concern. Firstly I was off line, and you have to be within a delta time. And I was within the delta time, so I wasn’t below that outlap pace,” he said.
“So within that delta time, I should be able to drive the speed I want, and I was off line so it wasn’t holding anyone out.
“But I was trying to get a tow because we’re so slow in a straight line. And the guys behind didn’t want to go by. So then I just went off and did my lap.”
Hamilton qualified in 7th for tomorrow’s race, behind Russell who was once again the best of the rest behind Ferrari and Red Bull in 5th, and the AlphaTauri of Pierre Gasly in 6th.
The Mercedes cars were over a second behind the frontrunners, but Hamilton said he was unsurprised by the gap in pace at a circuit which does not play to the team’s strengths.
In addition, he once again said that the issue of porpoising was proving extremely trying, particularly down the 2km pit straight where the car was visibly bouncing up and down.
“it was a really difficult qualifying session, because we’re constantly pushing. We have a very, very small window where we can work this car, and everything we try, it doesn’t get, give us what we want,” he said.
“So we’re making lots of changes, but we always come up with the same conclusion, which is mostly often bouncing, and which leaves us a lot of performance. But all the performance is when you get the car low.
“So we say okay, let’s, just take a beating in our backs, and our necks and just get the car as low as possible to get into performance.
“A little bit lower, and it’s bouncing a little bit more than I think the other car. But we’re still there, we’re just very slow on the straight.
“It might be a struggle tomorrow in the race, but we’re gonna give it everything and I hope maybe we’ll have better race pace.”