Lewis Hamilton admitted that qualifying in P2 in Baku was a “monumental result” after struggling on Friday.

It was not an ideal Friday for the Silver Arrows, with both drivers outside the top ten. However, Lewis managed to put his W12 in P3 in the last Free Practice session.

In qualifying, Hamilton managed to go second fastest, and a late crash caused by Yuki Tsunoda and Carlos Sainz did not allow him to improve his lap. Anyway, he was happy with the result he achieved.

“The lap was okay,” he said. “We weren’t expecting that.”

“This is such a monumental result for us because we’ve been struggling like you wouldn’t believe all weekend. You can see it. We kept our composure. We’ll continue to have difficult conversations in the background and challenging one another, and just never taking no for an answer.

“We’ve moved around, made so many changes over these two days, chasing our tails. And it’s been so difficult, but I think the work overnight and particularly between the sessions was amazing from the team, and proud of everyone for keeping positive. To be up there, to be so close to these guys, it’s a great, great start.”

After Friday, Mercedes tried to find a different setup to improve its performance, and this year finding the right configuration is not easy as Hamilton said.

“Trying to find the envelope for this car it’s the biggest challenge we’ve had in a long time,” said Hamilton. “Understanding what the car wants, she’s not been happy all weekend, it’s been a bit of a disaster.

“So for us to be up here and even Valtteri getting into the top 10 is a massive relief, and that’s just down to great teamwork.”

Despite struggling on the single lap, Mercedes seemed to be faster in the race pace simulation. Therefore, Hamilton is confident that on Sunday the performance can be even better.

“Our race pace is a lot better than our single lap,” he said. “We’re miles off in a single lap, and we’re a lot closer in race pace. We don’t understand why.

“I’d like to think hopefully we’re in the same position so we can take the fight to these guys tomorrow.”

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