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Lewis Hamilton encouraged by gap to Ferrari

Lewis Hamilton is relieved Mercedes has managed to cut the deficit to Ferrari after struggling through much of practice in Baku.

Mercedes appeared to be the third fastest team going into qualifying with both Ferrari and Red Bull showing a stronger turn of pace throughout the three practice sessions. Overnight improvements and an impressive final Q3 effort from Hamilton put him just 0.179s shy of Vettel's pole time meaning the reigning champion will start Sunday's race from the front-row.

Speaking after qualifying, Hamilton said: "The Ferrari has been so dominant in the last couple of races pace-wise so we knew they would be very quick here which they have been all weekend and also Red Bull look pretty promising. I'm not sure what happened to them. We were struggling yesterday and came into today and the team and engineers managed to do a great job to understand where we were and where we could progress forwards so a big thank you to them for all their hard work.

"Today was a much more reasonable car, there are still areas that we are lacking but it is a work in progress I would say and to be that close to the Ferraris is definitely a positive. To have both me and Valtteri up here is good for the team, a good boost for the team, to be right up there in the mix. I am excited for the race, it is hard to overtake here, as it is anywhere around the world but we will give it everything we've got.''

Hamilton revealed the extent of the changes Mercedes made to its cars after practice stating the team changed ''pretty much everything''.

"Just set-up,'' Hamilton replied when asked what changed overnight. "Yesterday we were sliding around a lot so set-up and levels, ride heights, pretty much everything on the car. We did a lot of changes.''


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