Hamilton in Baku: champion mode activated?

Lewis Hamilton arrives in Azerbaijan in the shoes of the hunter after a final weekend to forget. A rare situation that he must relearn how to manage.  


Published on 02/06/2021 à 16:49

Alexandre HERBIN

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Hamilton in Baku: champion mode activated?

Lewis Hamilton will have to raise his head after Monaco. ©DPPI/Florent Gooden.

In what state of mind will we find Lewis Hamilton in Baku this week? This is one of the questions that is agitating the paddock at the dawn of the 6th round of 2021.  

The seven-time world champion lost control of the Drivers' standings after a very complicated weekend in Monaco where his Mercedes was surprisingly not in the game, even compared to that of his teammate Valtteri Bottas. Hamilton also appeared a bit resigned and annoyed in the Principality, but not dejected. The loss of world leadership did not seem to really worry him: “ The road is still very long “, the Briton whispered. 

Champion reaction or absolute disaster?

You don't become a legend of the F1 without knowing how to bounce back from adversity. During his illustrious career, Hamilton has already proven time and time again that he knows how to react like a champion. The Mercedes leader has the ability to digest disappointments in order to look forward to the next deadline without languishing too much.  

Last year, Hamilton never stayed away from the top step of the podium two races in a row. Guilty of an error of approximation synonymous with clashing with Alexander albon (Red Bull) during the opening round in Austria, the English rider came back to triumphantly win the following week at the Styrian GP.  

When Mercedes and Hamilton make a mistake, they know how to question themselves to move forward. In Monza (Italy), the Briton lost control of the race by returning to his box while the pit lane was closed. Penalized, Hamilton had to settle for 7th place. A week later, he established himself as boss at Mugello (Italy). Sanctioned in Sochi (Russia) for having carried out a simulated start in the wrong place when entering the grid, Hamilton finished 3rd in the Russian GP before going on to achieve 5 successes in a row. Only Covid-19 will have interrupted its hegemony after the Bahrain GP.  

The scenario for the 2021 campaign is, however, different because the Mercedes W12 does not dominate the debates as its ultra-high-performance predecessor outrageously did. Pressure from Red Bull and Max Verstappen is clearly felt. Not since 2016, the last season in which he was beaten in the title race, has Hamilton been so threatened.   

That year, the English star showed several facets of his complex personality and flamboyant talent. Sometimes grumpy and feverish, sometimes brilliant, Hamilton alternated between sluggish passages and bursts of brilliance to fall 5 points behind his teammate Nico Rosberg, who knew how to resist the furious return of his best enemy in the final race. Hamilton today has an outlay of 4 units on an impeccable Verstappen since the kick-off in Bahrain.  

In Baku, the Briton should find a more competitive car than in Monaco. At least that's what his boss suggests. Toto wolff. " We dissected last weekend, questioned ourselves and learned from our mistakes, said the Mercedes team principal. The key to success is to exploit every opportunity available to us." 

The reaction is in any case imperative in the German clan where surprising signs of friability were noted in Monaco. Who knows what another poor performance would bring on the streets of Baku….

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