Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton was all set to win the Azerbaijan Grand Prix after Red Bull rival Max Verstappen crashed out after a tyre failure.

After red flags were deployed, the seven-time world champion lined up second on the grid for the standing restart.

Unfortunately, due to an accidental mistake, he ran off into the escape area at Turn 1 and dropped from P2 to P15 which ended his hopes of scoring points for his team.

While Red Bull has shown a clear advantage at both the street circuits of Monaco and Baku, Mercedes hopes to bounce back in France and Austria.

Lewis Hamilton; Source: autosport.com

Red Bull at a clear advantage

Hamilton seems to believe that Red Bull has a pace advantage over Mercedes at the moment, especially after struggling to match Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez.

“You can see that Red Bull is clearly the quickest at the moment,” Hamilton stated to reporters after the Baku race. “It was very, very hard to keep up with them.

“So to be have been in the mix and in that position was really amazing. It’s quite a humbling experience actually to come away with nothing after all the hard work, but these things happen.”

Is Perez a hindrance?

Hamilton goes off-grid in Baku. Source: motorsports.nbcsports.com

The Brit was asked if Baku winner Perez would prove to complicate things for the title race.

“Their car is incredibly fast, so I think undoubtedly the two of them together will make it difficult.

“That’s what we expected at the beginning of the year, and so we will just keep our heads down.”

Hamilton is optimistic

Despite two difficult races for Mercedes, Hamilton still sees some positives.

“I think it’s been an incredibly difficult two weeks, or two races,” he explained. “And I think today it’s obviously a painful experience.

“I think [Sunday] was really a stroke of bad luck. But Max had bad luck too, and these sorts of things happen.

“But I think there’s lots of positives to take from the weekend in terms of where we recovered to get back to, so we’ll regroup and try to come back stronger.”

‘A mixture of emotions’

Hamilton also added that Verstappen’s unlucky retirement from the race does not impact his disappointment in any way.

“It’s irrelevant, it doesn’t really make any difference to be honest,” he said.

“These lessons are sent to try us, and it’s just quite difficult also because I lost a friend [Mansour Ojjeh] this morning, and so just a mixture of emotions. But we live to fight another day.”

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