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Lewis hopes to stay cool in Baku heat

Updated: 2017-06-23 09:26

Lewis hopes to stay cool in Baku heat

Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton celebrates winning the race on the podium with the trophy in Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal on June 11, 2017. [Photo/Agencies]

BAKU-Fresh from a glorious season-saving triumph at one of his favorite venues, Lewis Hamilton sets out to tame his unpredictable and sometimes wayward "diva" of a Mercedes again as the Formula One circus endures sizzling heat at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

The three-time world champion's victory at the Canadian Grand Prix earlier this month-his sixth at the Montreal track-hauled him back within 12 points of championship leader Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari and sharpened his appetite for a first triumph on the streets of Baku, the only venue on the current calendar where he has never won.

"I was very quick there last year, but I just didn't deliver," said Hamilton. "So, this time, the plan is to make sure I deliver."

After an inconsistent opening to the season in which he and Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas have struggled badly at times, Hamilton bounced back to his best in Montreal to claim his third win in seven races as Mercedes produced a crushing one-two success.

He arrives in Baku with team boss Toto Wolff's praise endorsing his behavior and performances.

"Lewis is in the best place I've seen him in any of the five years since I joined the team," said Wolff.

"Not just because of Montreal, where he had a great weekend, but also because he is coping so well with the more difficult days.

"It's what the best are made of-when the going is tough, they get over it. They maximize their opportunities. And it's a long championship."

Referring to this year's "new-era" car, Wolff said it posed challenges for the team with its contrary and temperamental nature.

"We've joked about it, saying it is a bit of a diva," he said. "It's a good car, but sometimes it can be a bit difficult. We have to accept that and understand and appreciate the positives it has.

"I think it is the fastest on the grid and I wouldn't want any other."

In last year's European Grand Prix in Baku, Hamilton struggled, found some pace, crashed in qualifying and, from 10th on the grid, battled with engine-setting problems to finish fifth.

"You learn from each experience," he said.

"You pile them up. We learned in Monaco, too, and we will use it. Downforce is going to be important in the heat."

Vettel and Ferrari, traditionally strong in the hottest conditions, will hope to bounce back on a circuit where Hamilton's previous Mercedes teammate, retired 2016 champion German Nico Rosberg, won from pole last year.

Four-time champion Vettel left Canada unhappy at his own result despite a stirring drive through the field to finish fourth after a first-lap collision required a pit-stop.

AFP

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