Lewis Hamilton blames the Red Bulls

Lewis Hamilton claimed two points in Saturday's Azerbaijan sprint race after finishing in seventh position.

Seven-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton admitted after Saturday morning’s Sprint Qualifying that his disappointing SQ3 result was due to losing the tow from the Red Bulls, affecting his straight-line speed.

Hamilton could only manage sixth during the shortened qualifying session on Saturday, meaning he lined-up sixth on the grid for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix sprint race.

This was one position lower than he managed Friday afternoon, where the 38-year-old qualified fifth for Sunday’s traditional race.

Hamilton was pleased with his performance Saturday morning except for in SQ3, with the Red Bulls ahead of him having “pulled too far ahead”.

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“The sessions were going really well actually. Q1 and Q2 were going well,” Hamilton told Sky Sports F1.

“Just my last lap… I struggled with the rear-end with the last lap and I didn’t get a tow at the end, the Red Bulls pulled too far ahead.”

Despite not managing to match his qualifying result from Friday afternoon, the Mercedes driver still enjoyed the second qualifying session, before switching his attention to the sprint race in the afternoon.

“Qualifying is always fun so it felt like another qualifying session,” admitted Hamilton.

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“It’s only 17 laps so there’s not a massive amount we can do in that time but hopefully we can get a race.”

The sprint race was fairly disappointing for Hamilton, with the Briton having a lonely seventh after being overtaken by Fernando Alonso.

He did claim two points for the result; however, he was beaten by team-mate George Russell, who finished fourth.

Mercedes’ poor straight-line speed was evident once again during the sprint race, with both Hamilton and Russell having been unable to make any moves when using DRS.

This will likely hamper Russell on Sunday given that he starts Sunday’s race at the Baku City Circuit from P11, after missing out on Q3 on Friday by 0.004s.

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Russell will also be hoping to avoid any contact on the opening lap of Sunday’s race, after hitting Max Verstappen at the second corner of the sprint.

The incident resulted in a gaping hole appearing on Verstappen’s left sidepod, much to the Dutchman’s frustration.

Russell found out just how angry Verstappen was after the race, with the Red Bull driver having waited for the Mercedes driver in parc ferme to call him a “di*khead”.