European Grand Prix: Lewis Hamilton to rev up world title bid at brutal Baku circuit on his very first attempt

LEWIS HAMILTON conquered the brutal Baku circuit at the first attempt — and without having even walked around it first.

Astonishingly, the world champion drove just EIGHT practice laps in his Mercedes team’s simulator to learn the quickest way around the 3.7mile circuit.

 Hamilton romps to the fastest lap at the controversial circuit in the Azerbaijan capital


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Hamilton romps to the fastest lap at the controversial circuit in the Azerbaijan capitalCredit: Getty Images
Cocky Hamilton is on the crest of a wave after wins in Monaco and Montreal and he showed his swagger here at the brand new circuit in Azerbaijan.

And despite not even seeing the track first, he comfortably topped both practice sessions here on Friday.

He said: “On the simulator it was very easy, but the simulator is not very good, it’s a very bad computer game basically so it doesn’t say much.


“It took me five or six [laps] to learn it and then I already did the best time and I couldn’t beat it after that.

“I don’t drive the simulator a lot because it’s not at its best at the moment. We’re working on trying to get it better.

“I quite like the idea of going out and not knowing, seeing it for the first time. I was kind of excited about that.

 Nico Rosberg acknowledges fans but had to bow to Mercedes team-mate Hamilton


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Nico Rosberg acknowledges fans but had to bow to Mercedes team-mate HamiltonCredit: Getty Images

 German ace Sebastian Vettel surges past the most picturesque part of the track


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German ace Sebastian Vettel surges past the most picturesque part of the trackCredit: Getty Images
“I’ve walked around circuits from Formula Renault to probably my third or fourth year in Formula One.

“It made zero difference to my weekend performance. So I’ve not walked a track since 2010, it makes zero difference.”

F1 drivers Jenson Button and Hamilton’s team-mate Nico Rosberg were both hugely critical of the lack of run-off areas around this brand new track.

But Hamilton says there is TOO MUCH space for error, despite almost all of the other 21 drivers making cock-ups during practice.

He added: “I’ve seen huge one here at Turn 16, massive. I think it’s too big a run-off area.

 Brit Jenson Button gets his first taste of the track ahead of the European GP
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Brit Jenson Button gets his first taste of the track ahead of the European GPCredit: Getty Images

 British ace Hamilton showed how keen he is to shrug off doubts over the venue
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British ace Hamilton showed how keen he is to shrug off doubts over the venueCredit: Getty Images
“There’s a white line and then there’s ten metres probably to the wall on your left, which we’ll never drive there.

“I like Monaco and that doesn’t have hardly any run-off areas, only in the areas we really, really need.

“That’s why I love Monaco and also Montreal, because there’s not really much room for that.”

Hamilton’s excellent day was made even better as his nearest championship rivals Rosberg and Sebastian Vettel both suffered mechanical problems.

And Rosberg admits his spectacular drop in form has been “a blow” after shipping 34 points in just two races to Hamilton.

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Lewis Hamilton warns championship rivals he's back to his best ahead of Baku GP

LEW AIN’T SEEN NOTHING 

He said: “My results have been a blow and I don’t like finishing fifth in Montreal.
“I haven’t been counting my points; I’ve just wanted to win the races. It’s not going so well lately but that doesn’t change my optimism or my motivation.
“I know I can win this race, and it’s always going to be a battle with Lewis, that’s a given fact.
“It’s never going to be easy against him. I lost out unfortunately in Montreal, that’s it, I’ll fight back.”
Meanwhile, race bosses are frantically trying to repair kerbs in time for qualifying today (SAT) after their fixing bolts came loose during practice.



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