Red Bull and Ferrari ‘in a completely different league’, says Hamilton after frustrating Baku qualifying

Red Bull and Ferrari ‘in a completely different league’, says Hamilton after frustrating Baku qualifying

Lewis Hamilton had never previously qualified below second for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix – but after taking seventh place on the grid on Saturday, the seven-time champion couldn’t help but stare enviously classification.

Hamilton qualified P7 against team-mate George Russell’s P5 while Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc took pole position, with no team other than Red Bull able to come within a second of the Monegasque driver . As a result, the Briton gave a harsh assessment of his team’s position in Baku.

READ MORE: Leclerc grabs pole from Baku as Perez joins him on the front row in Azerbaijan Grand Prix qualifying

“We don’t even face those guys up front, they’re in a completely different league,” Hamilton said. “So it seems like these guys are miles ahead, and then there’s this group we’re in. I don’t think [today was] damage limitation. I guess you could say George is on pole and I’m third and that’s the real race.


Russell has finished fifth or better in all races in 2022 so far

As for Russell, the 24-year-old could well continue his top-five finishing streak from 2022 on Sunday, and called his qualifying performance a consolation on a tough day for the Silver Arrows.

“They are not easy beasts to control. We’re doing everything we can to get more information and take a few steps forward, but it’s apparently a little more difficult at the moment than we would have liked. But we are working as hard as we can to get that under control and find more performance.

“So speaking of today, P5 is the max, so that’s a silver lining.”

FACTS & STATS: Leclerc first to win multiple poles in Baku as he eclipses Verstappen’s P1 tally

Lewis Hamilton: Ferrari and Red Bull are ‘in a different league’ in Baku

As for Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff, the Austrian admitted that looking at the data after qualifying made reading difficult.

READ MORE: ‘I just want to finish the job’ – Leclerc finally looks to capitalize from pole in Azerbaijan

“I think the position was to wait for the third fastest on the road,” said Wolff, whose two riders were separated by the AlphaTauri of Pierre Gasly. “So in terms of position [it’s as expected] but the difference is great. The gap is big, it’s a long lap time and we miss all over the place, so I wish I didn’t have to watch that kind of [data] overlays in the future.

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