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'I was fortunate to win here last year' - Hamilton desperate to improve on Baku struggles

The Briton knows there is a small slice of history on the line for he and team-mate Valtteri Bottas this weekend.

Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton
Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton

LEWIS HAMILTON IS hoping to put his past struggles at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix behind him in Baku this weekend.

The two-time defending Formula One world champion did emerge victorious at this race in 2018, but only after Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas suffered a puncture in the closing stages.

In his previous two visits to the Baku City Circuit, Hamilton could only manage fifth, and the standings leader – winner of the last two meetings in Bahrain and China – knows he can ill-afford another poor outing on Sunday with Bottas just six points adrift.

“It’s a really great track and it’s one that I’ve honestly struggled at a little bit, particularly last year,” Hamilton said.

It will be interesting, and I’m going there with a mindset that I’ve got to try and improve my previous years’ performance.

“I was fortunate to get the win there last year but I wasn’t quick enough really through the weekend.

So that’s a place I expect Valtteri to be quick and I expect the Ferraris to be particularly quick.”

And Mercedes chief Toto Wolff expects Bottas to be eager for a reversal of his poor fortune 12 months ago.

“Valtteri drove a strong race last year but a puncture denied him a well-deserved victory shortly before the end,” Wolff said.

He’s had a good start to this season and I’m sure he will be hungry to go for the points he didn’t get last year.”

Motorsports: FIA Formula One World Championship 2019, Grand Prix of China Lewis Hamilton (centre) celebrates winning the Grand Prix of China. Source: DPA/PA Images

History Makers

Hamilton and Bottas have secured one-twos in each of the first three races, Bottas opening the campaign with victory in Australia before Hamilton picked up maximum points in Bahrain and China.

And the duo could claim a piece of history for the Silver Arrows on Sunday, although Ferrari’s Vettel and Leclerc will be desperate to stop Mercedes’ march, which has already opened up a 57-point lead in the constructors’ standings.

Mercedes could record one-twos in each of the opening four Grands Prix of the season for the first time ever.

Vettel and Leclerc took third in China and Bahrain respectively – the latter desperately unlucky to see his hopes of a maiden F1 success scuppered by engine failure.

In addition, Mercedes have recorded two of the three wins (Rosberg 2016 and Hamilton 2018), two of the three pole positions (Rosberg 2016 and Hamilton 2017) and two of the three fastest laps (Rosberg 2016 and Bottas 2018) in Baku.

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