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F1 Raceweek: Hamilton sick of rollercoaster ride, Palmer under pressure

F1 Raceweek: Hamilton sick of rollercoaster ride, Palmer under pressure

Lewis Hamilton's win in Canada last time out means the Briton goes into the Azerbaijan Grand Prix this weekend capable of overhauling Sebastian Vettel.

Hamilton is only 12 points behind his rival, but cannot afford a repeat of last year in Baku - when the race was known as the European Grand Prix - when he finished fifth, while Vettel was second behind Nico Rosberg.

The three-time world champion will hope his fortunes in the Azerbaijan capital improve this weekend and he can take home more than the 10 points he claimed 12 months ago as the championship battle hots up.

As the teams head to the Baku City Circuit, we take a look at the talk of the paddock.

 

HAMILTON STRIVING FOR CONSISTENCY

With Rosberg retired, many expected Hamilton to dominate in 2017 but that has been far from the case as he has struggled to get consistency from his Mercedes W08.

The Briton hopes his fortunes will change - starting in Baku - and he can move away from the uncertainty he has experienced so far.

"I think we've learned a lot from Monaco and I think we've learned a lot [from Canada]," he said.

"If we acquire the same diligence that we did in the past two weeks after every single race, even when we win, I'm pretty sure that we can continue to fight, and maybe not make the rollercoaster ride so up and down."

 

IMPOSSIBLE FOR SMALLER TEAMS TO 'DO A LEICESTER CITY'

Ever hoped the likes of Toro Rosso, Sauber or Williams could mount a title challenge and upset the odds like Leicester City did in the Premier League in 2015-16?

Well, it will never happen according to experienced driver Felipe Massa, who says it is impossible for them to compete under the current rules.

"How can a team that has $80million fight with a team that has $400m? You will not see it," Williams' Massa said.

"It might happen in the Premier League but it's not normal. It's quite difficult to see in football that a team has no money and beat everybody. It's quite difficult, you know? But maybe it's easier in football than in Formula One. 

"Maybe it will happen one day but it's taking time."

 

KUBICA LOOMS AS PRESSURE GROWS ON PALMER

After back-to-back 11th-placed finishes Jolyon Palmer is getting closer to his first points of the season for Renault, and breaking into the top 10 in Baku could be crucial if he is to retain his seat.

Palmer only managed one point in 2016 and a similar result this season could see him replaced, especially given Robert Kubica recently completed a successful test with his former team.

Renault boss Cyril Abiteboul has said Palmer "has to deliver" soon to help ease the burden on team-mate Nico Hulkenberg to score points.

Palmer himself has admitted he has been "too distracted" and guilty of "overdriving" at times, something he needs to change in Baku to impress his bosses.

 

HAVE WE SEEN THE LAST OF FORCE INDIA?

Force India have been in the paddock since 2008 when they took over Spyker F1, themselves a reincarnation of Midland F1 and Jordan Grand Prix.

Vijay Mallya's team have become regular challengers for points, but the team principal has admitted he may be forced to change their name.

"There is a growing feeling that maybe since we are a much-improved team in terms of performance and attracting more international sponsors, and sadly less Indian sponsors, there is a debate as to why the name should not be changed to give it a more international flavour," Mallya told motorsport.com.

"There are some people who believe the current name Force India is restrictive psychologically.

"I'm considering along with the other shareholders what steps to take but it's a major decision and one that is not going to be taken in a hurry without due consideration."