Mercedes are "cautiously optimistic" of competing at Silverstone with a car that, according to their chief technical officer, is "definitely on the mend".

It has been a difficult Formula One season for Mercedes, who sit third in the constructors' standings, 116 points off pace-setters Red Bull.

While new boy George Russell has performed well and sits fourth in the Drivers' Championship with 111 points – 64 behind leader Max Verstappen – seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton is down in sixth.

Hamilton has struggled to adapt to Mercedes' new car and often been unable to hide his frustration with the vehicle's performance, though he did manage a third-place finish in Montreal last time out.

Third is the best Mercedes have achieved in any race in 2022, with Russell achieving it in Spain, Azerbaijan and Australia, and Hamilton clinching the final podium place in Bahrain as well as Canada.

Ahead of the British Grand Prix, Mercedes' CTO James Allison believes the team are finding a way to be competitive following two successive podium finishes.

He told Sky Sports: "Everyone in our factory doesn't dare say it, but we're cautiously optimistic of having a more competitive weekend than some of those we've had of late.

"I think some of the characteristics of this circuit will suit the car. We don't have a car capable of winning from the front yet. But I think as long as we can get the car tamed through Maggots Becketts and around the faster of the corners, then I think we have a decent chance of a competitive showing, and maybe if the Red Bulls stumble, who knows, but I'm hopeful of a better weekend."

When it was put to him that victory at Silverstone would be an emotional one, Allison quipped: "Absolutely, well I'd cry!

"It'd be a fantastic thing. I've just got my fingers crossed that we'll have a creditable showing with a car that is definitely on the mend."

Nico Rosberg believes Lewis Hamilton is "driving at his best" this season despite Mercedes' woes as the team continues to battle with the development of the W13 car.

Mercedes' campaign has been plagued with bouncing issues following the introduction of new restrictions for the 2022 season, with the German team among many on the grid to suffer with 'porpoising'.

A new FIA directive was issued ahead of the Canadian Grand Prix, allowing the use of a second floor, following complaints from a number of drivers – although the actions have led to backlash from Red Bull chief Christian Horner.

Mercedes did show significant signs of progress in Montreal and had a consistent race, whereas Ferrari had Charles Leclerc starting from the back for an engine penalty and Red Bull lost Sergio Perez with a technical problem.

Hamilton came third for his second podium finish of the season and it marked the first time since the opening race in Bahrain where he has finished above team-mate George Russell, who came fourth.

Seven-time world champion Hamilton has faced scrutiny this season amid the team's struggles but his former team-mate and title rival Rosberg insists that he has been at the top of his game over the past few months.

"Lewis is driving at his best. He has just had an unbelievably unlucky season with all these different things going against him," he told Sky Sports.

"This was a normal weekend and he delivered in the usual awesome way.

"That driver pairing is so strong, incredible, but, make no mistake, Lewis hates passionately to ever come second to a team-mate, so he will be ultra-motivated and pushing hard internally."

Mercedes' car showed signs of promise in Canada but Rosberg has warned them not to get ahead of themselves, as they remain off the pace of their rivals heading into the British Grand Prix on July 3.

"The car in the race was really decent. I thought it was so awesome how George right after the start made headway, passing one car after another down into the hairpin," he added.

"I think they are making progress but there is still some way to go to Ferrari and Red Bull. They can't win at Silverstone, they are still too far away."

Lewis Hamilton returned to the podium at the Canadian Grand Prix and sees potential in his car as Mercedes battle issues with their W13 model.

Seven-time world champion Hamilton had not finished on the podium since the season-opener in Bahrain, but secured third place in Montreal behind Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz.

The Briton's struggles have largely been down to his Mercedes W13 car porpoising – otherwise known as bouncing unevenly.

Hamilton faced such difficulties at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, struggling with back problems after a painful ride in Baku that led to doubts over him featuring in the next race.

However, the 37-year-old subsequently confirmed he would compete and spoke gleefully after securing his second podium in nine attempts.

"It's quite overwhelming to get this third place – it's been such a battle this year with the car, but we continue to stay vigilant, focused and never giving up, and that's something I'm proud of," Hamilton said.

"We're getting closer, so we've got to keep pushing and keep pushing, and hopefully we'll eventually be in the fight with these guys."

Hamilton, speaking to Sky Sports after the race, thanked the team working on the car as he reflected on an emotional season.

"I want to say a big shout to the team back home, they are working so hard at the factory week in week out. It’s difficult working and not seeing any progress," he added to Sky Sports.

"It's been a difficult year for me personally and in the car. Qualifying was emotional for me and back in the garage we were like 'wow, this is beautiful for us', we have been working so hard.

"Then to have a strong race just gives me so much hope and confidence that we can move forwards.

"There is potential in this car, it's not currently where we want it to be, it's just got a really small working window and if you don't get it perfect it's all over the place.

"That's a really hard thing to navigate through, but the team did a great job this weekend."

Hamilton's fellow Mercedes team-mate George Russell maintained his run of finishing in the top five in every race this season, settling for fourth.

That saw Mercedes move to 188 points in the constructor standings, 116 behind leaders Red Bull, and Toto Wolff acknowledged his team still have much to work on.

"They were both very good and they were on different set-ups and different rear wing settings. We showed some pace today," Wolff said.

"Before the safety car came out at the end we were actually quicker than Sainz. You're picking out a few laps and saying, 'yeah we are back' but I don't think that's the case yet, we just need to keep on working.

"The way forward, we just need to develop the car in a different window than we had. We were having it really low on the ground and clearly that doesn't function. 

"I think before we start looking to fix the problems, you need to understand where the issues are.

"I think we have development direction. We haven't got it right in many areas but we own the problem and we will fix it." 

While Russell secured yet another top-five finish, he warned that the issues with cars porpoising is far from over.

"I had total confidence we were able to carve our way past the Haas and Alpines," he said. 

"We were certainly concerned [Charles] Leclerc and Checo [Sergio Perez] would be able to come through and be fortunate to keep them behind us.

"Ultimately, our race pace was closer to Ferrari and Red Bull than we've seen all season, but the inherent performance isn't there yet.

"It was a shame I couldn't get the tyres going at the end, probably would have liked to pit before the first safety car, and then have been in the fight at the end.

"Nevertheless, P4, it's good points for the team and great to be back on the podium for the team.

"It was definitely bumpy out there, down the straight the car was just hitting the ground. It'll be a good sleep again tonight for sure.

"I think there are so many different factors [with the porpoising], this global issue with the 2022 cars is far from over."

Max Verstappen showed dogged resistance to secure victory in the Canadian Grand Prix after holding off Carlos Sainz, as Lewis Hamilton returned to the podium.

After the ninth leg of the 22-race season, Verstappen's lead in the Formula One drivers' championship stands at 46 points, and that is because his Red Bull team-mate and closest rival in the championship Sergio Perez was an early casualty in Montreal.

Sainz, in the Ferrari, clung tight behind Verstappen over the closing laps after a lengthy safety car delay but could not quite forge an overtaking opportunity.

That meant Verstappen's 150th grand prix was a triumphant one, as Sainz was kept waiting for his first F1 victory.

Hamilton had not finished on the podium since the season-opening race in Bahrain, a wait of seven races, so the Briton was delighted to get third, ahead of Mercedes team-mate George Russell. Hamilton said it was "quite overwhelming".

Perez, who crashed out in Q2 on Saturday, pulled over to the side of the track and abandoned the race on lap nine, seeming to lose power and complaining of being stuck in gear.

It was clear that Fernando Alonso, in the Alpine, would not be able to convert second place on the grid into a top-three finish as the two-time champion gradually drifted down the field.

Alonso did not pit until lap 29 and came back out on hard tyres in seventh place, behind team-mate Esteban Ocon and Ferrari's Charles Leclerc.

Leclerc first went to the pits on the 42nd lap, but it was a painfully sluggish stop and left the man from Monte Carlo down in 12th place. It was a credit to him and his team that he was able to surge through the field and close in to just three points behind Perez in the championship.

Yuki Tsunoda crashed out on lap 49 and that forced the drivers to proceed behind the safety car for five laps, drawing the field tightly together.

Leclerc, who started on the back row of the grid after his car was fitted with an all-new power unit, jumped ahead of the Alpines of Alonso and Ocon to go fifth, while at the front, Verstappen fittingly showed the defence of a champion to fend off Sainz.

Lewis Hamilton felt "amazing" to have clinched P4 in qualifying for the Canadian Grand Prix, though he warned there is still work to do for Mercedes.

Hamilton has endured a frustrating season in 2022, with the seven-time world champion struggling to adjust to his new car.

On Friday, after a poor practice session, Hamilton said "it's like the car's getting worse".

However, Hamilton will now look to build on Saturday's impressive qualifying display after securing fourth on the grid in Montreal for Sunday's race - his best qualification result of the season.

After finishing behind Max Verstappen, Fernando Alonso and Carlos Sainz, Hamilton told Sky Sports F1: "I feel amazing, so happy – P4 has never felt so good to be honest.

"Maybe in my first year of racing, in 2007, when I got my first P4 it probably felt great then, I think this probably feels like that. Particularly because it’s been a really difficult year, to go through what we were faced with today, it was difficult for everyone out there.

"I'm so happy to put us in a position, because everyone's working so hard, constantly facing these challenges with this car.

"We did a lot of work yesterday to try and get the information. The car didn't feel that great, so tomorrow should be a much better position. Hopefully I can try and hold position at least."

Saturday has not altered Hamilton's disappointment with his car, however, but he has full faith in the Mercedes engineers to get things clicking.

"With this car you need everything and more to come together," added the 37-year-old, who is sixth in the drivers' standings.

"I like to think that I have rhythm, and on this track in particular you have to have rhythm. I feel this car works on a completely different beat.

"It doesn't work on the normal beat so that's been difficult to get used to. The rain makes it much different, if it was dry I don't know if we'd have been in this position but the rain opens up opportunities and I love this track.

"It's been a struggle so far, there's still a lot of work to do, but I hope all the team are feeling positive. Please continue to push, I need you, we need you, we're all working as hard as we can and I believe in them so much, I hope at some stage we can stop this bouncing and move forwards."

Hamilton's team-mate George Russell endured a frustrating Q3, however.

Russell went out on slick tyres, but that decision backfired when he lost control and ultimately had to settle for P8.

He told Sky Sports F1: "It was high risk, high reward. It was literally just turn one, I think had that been as dry as the other corners we could have been in a really good place.

"Surprised my lap was only half a second off P4, so it shows the strong pace today, but as I said on the radio I'm not here to settle for P4, P5 – we need to try things.

"At the end of the day the points are tomorrow, I’m glad we tried something different."

Max Verstappen clinched pole position for Sunday's Canadian Grand Prix and Fernando Alonso secured an unlikely spot on the front row in Montreal.

Alonso, who set the pace in the final practice session, claimed second place in tricky, wet conditions in Saturday's qualifying session.

That hands the 40-year-old Spaniard his first front-row start in Formula One since he won from pole position at the German Grand Prix just under 10 years ago.

The two-time world champion, racing for Alpine, was the recipient of a huge ovation from the crowd as he celebrated his supreme qualifying performance, clocking up a time of 1:21.944 behind championship leader Verstappen's 1:21.299.

"It feels great. It was an unbelievable weekend for us so far, we’ve been competitive in free practice – which we normally are on Friday but on Saturday we seem to lose a little bit of pace – but in wet conditions today the car was mega, I was so comfortable driving this car and I think the fans gave me a push," a jubilant Alonso said.

When asked what his approach will be on Sunday, Alonso quipped: "Let's see, I think I will attack Max on the first corner."

Verstappen's pole ended the day on a high note for Red Bull, with team-mate and fellow title contender Sergio Perez set to start in 13th place after crashing out in Q2.

In difficult conditions, the reigning world champion – who will be further buoyed by title rival Charles Leclerc having to start at the back on Sunday due to Ferrari changing his entire power unit – was delighted with the composure shown by his team.

"Of course I still expect it not to be a straightforward race, today with tricky conditions, we stayed calm and we made the right calls in Q3 so of course, super happy with that to get pole position here and to be back in Montreal and great to see all the fans," he said.

"You really get that go-karting sensation back on this track with proper curves. We always enjoy driving here and I’m looking forward to tomorrow."

Carlos Sainz looked poised to push Verstappen, but a mistake on the final corner cost the Ferrari driver, who will start third on the grid. An incident involving the Spaniard and Esteban Ocon was investigated, but the stewards decided no further action was required.

Sainz said: "I was feeling quite okay with the car, especially in the full wet. In that lap I knew I had lost a bit too much, I tried to do a very quick last corner but it didn't pay off and it cost me half a second. I ended up with three for that mistake. I think it's going to be a good fight with Max up front and Fernando has been fast all weekend."

Meanwhile, Lewis Hamilton – who did not hide his frustration with his car after struggling in practice on Friday – was lifted by claiming fourth.

Mercedes team-mate George Russell had to settle for eighth, however, after a decision to go on slicks in Q3 failed to pay off.

Lewis Hamilton said his Mercedes feels like it is "getting worse" after struggling in Friday's two practice sessions ahead of Sunday's Canadian Grand Prix.

Hamilton is in the unfamiliar position of sixth in the drivers' championship, already 88 points behind rival and defending champion Max Verstappen eight races into what has been a tough 2022 campaign so far.

The seven-time world champion finished fourth last week in Azerbaijan, with team-mate George Russell claiming third, but called the race the "most painful" of his career after suffering severe back pain throughout.

Hamilton's discomfort, which saw him struggle to exit his car after finishing, was caused by the team's W13 car porpoising, bouncing unevenly.

The FIA confirmed on Thursday it had issued a technical directive to teams to provide guidance on how the porpoising problem will be dealt with in future, with a number of drivers complaining about its effects.

But Mercedes have continued to struggle in Montreal.

Following Friday practice, Hamilton summed up his day: "Pretty much like every Friday for us, trying lots of different things, an experimental floor on my side which didn't work.

"Nothing we do generally to this car seems to work, so we're trying different set-ups; me and George went with much different set-ups in this P2 just to see if one way works and one way doesn't. I'll wait to hear how it felt for him, but for me it was a disaster.

"It's like the car's getting worse, it's getting more and more unhappy the more we do to it. I don't know, we'll keep working on it; it is what it is. I think this is the car for the year, so we'll just have to tough it out and work hard on building a better car for next year."

Having won each of the past eight F1 constructors' championships, Mercedes are third in the 2022 standings, behind leaders Red Bull by 118 points.

"It's not the Montreal that I know, that I'm used to and that I've experienced in my career,” Hamilton added. "It's the worse that I've ever felt any car here, so I'm hoping overnight we can try and make some changes.

"But fundamentally, it's just the fundamentals of the car, it is what it is. It's going to be a struggle.

"It's just a monumental fight the whole time to keep it out of the wall.

"When it bounces, when the car leaves the ground a lot, and then when it lands it grips up and it goes in different directions, and you're just trying to catch a car that jumps, hops, grips, hops, grips... it's tough, it keeps you on edge. And there were some big hits today. We've raised the car, but it doesn't make a difference."

Mercedes pushed Lewis Hamilton too far during the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, the team's head of strategy James Vowles has admitted.

Seven-time world champion Hamilton finished fourth in Baku, with team-mate George Russell claiming third, but called the race the "most painful" of his career after suffering severe back pain throughout.

Hamilton's discomfort, which saw him struggle to exit his car after finishing, was caused by the team's W13 car porpoising – bouncing unevenly – and led team principal Toto Wolff to initially suggest the 37-year-old could miss the upcoming Canadian Grand Prix. 

While Hamilton has since quelled those fears by saying he "wouldn't miss it for the world", Vowles said the team had pushed him too far in the last race and could not afford to do so again.

"[Lewis] is an elite athlete that will push the bounds of endurance of himself and the car", he told Mercedes' YouTube channel. "That's what Formula One drivers do, that's what makes them exceptional.

"On this occasion, though, we pushed the package and our drivers too far, we are putting them into significant discomfort and we simply can't do that again. 

"Our drivers are not the only ones suffering, you will see in the media a number of comments from a number of drivers who are equally in discomfort and pain. And we have a responsibility now to make sure that this doesn't carry on."

Having won each of the last eight F1 constructors' championships, Mercedes sit third in the current standings, trailing leaders Red Bull by 118 points eight races into the 2022 campaign.

While Vowles acknowledged Red Bull and Ferrari remain the "benchmark", he believes Mercedes could narrow the gap to the leaders in Montreal.

"We didn't expect perhaps to drop back as much as we did in Baku, but that provided a platform to learn from," he added. 

"Montreal isn't going to be substantially different to the last two races, I think we will still have a package that isn't at the front on merit. Red Bull and Ferrari will still be the benchmark that we have to compare ourselves to.

"I think though that the large gap that you saw in qualifying in Baku perhaps won't be that big in Montreal – it will be back down from where it was and as we go through all the races from then onwards, I am fairly sure we will find small steps and developments that push us back towards the front."

Toto Wolff has dismissed a suggestion Lewis Hamilton is in decline and says the seven-time Formula One champion has proved he is a "genius" this season.

Hamilton dramatically missed out on a record eighth F1 title last year when he was dethroned by Max Verstappen in the final race of the season in Abu Dhabi.

The Briton is languishing in sixth place in the driver standings eight races into the 2022 season, with his team-mate George Russell fourth.

Mercedes sit third in the constructor standings, 108 points adrift of leaders Red Bull, and Hamilton suffered back pain due to his rattling car during the Azerbaijan Grand Prix last weekend.

Wolff, Mercedes' team principal, does not believe Hamilton's high standards have slipped this year.

"No, I don't think it’s like that, he is the best that has ever been," he said when asked if Hamilton is in decline.

"Between Abu Dhabi in 2021, dominating the last third of the season, to four months later, you are not losing your ability."

He added: "How they appear to me, both of them [Russell and Hamilton], it’s very professional.

"They have been given a car that is a bit sub-par, each of them tries to develop the car further, they have both gone [in] a different set-up direction, Lewis [during qualifying in Azerbaijan] again very experimental, but can be available in the long term.

"I think as long as the car is not good enough to really be racing at the front, the differences are small and I don't think you can have a pattern saying 'George is continuously outperforming Lewis' or the other way around."

Wolff pinpointed Hamilton's recovery from making contact with Kevin Magnussen on the first lap of the Spanish Grand Prix to finish fifth as an example of Hamilton's brilliance.

"He went as far as to say that in Barcelona, where Hamilton recovered from early contact with Kevin Magnussen to finish P5, the genius," he said.

"We have seen Lewis in Barcelona, he was the genius that we know, so I think what I enjoy is them working together and trying to bring the car back to the front."

Lewis Hamilton has declared himself fit for the Canadian Grand Prix despite a back injury suffered in Baku, stating he "would not miss it for the world".

Seven-time world champion Hamilton finished fourth at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, but repeatedly struggled with his Mercedes W13 car porpoising – otherwise known as bouncing unevenly.

That issue combined with the bumpy street circuit of Baku caused severe back pain for Hamilton, who described the race as the "most painful" of his illustrious career.

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff suggested his star driver may be unable to feature in Montreal due to the injury, adding there was a "definite" risk of him missing out.

However, Hamilton took to Instagram on Monday to confirm his participation in Canada, with practice starting on Friday.

"Good morning world," Hamilton wrote on his Instagram story.

"Yesterday was tough and had some troubles sleeping but have woken up feeling positive today. Back is a little sore and bruised but nothing serious, thankfully.

"I've had acupuncture and physio with Ang and am on the way to my team to work with them on improving [the car]. We have to keep fighting. No time like the present to pull together and we will.

"I'll be there this weekend, wouldn't miss it for the world. Wishing everybody an amazing day and week."

Hamilton sits sixth in the drivers' standings with 62 points, some 88 points behind Red Bull's Max Verstappen, who is on course for back-to-back titles.

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has revealed that Lewis Hamilton is doubtful to compete in next weekend's Canadian Grand Prix due to a back injury sustained in Azerbaijan. 

The seven-time world champion had an impressive drive to finish fourth in Baku, one place behind team-mate George Russell, but encountered physical struggles due to severe bouncing during the 51-lap race. 

Mercedes' W13 has encountered issues with bouncing throughout the season so far and the addition of a bumpy street circuit left Hamilton describing the race as the "most painful" of his illustrious career, having complained over team radio about the pain in his back during the race. 

Wolff said there is a "definitely" a risk that Hamilton will sit out of the next race in Montreal, stating: "I haven't seen him or spoken to him afterwards, but you can see this is not muscular anymore. This goes properly into the spine and can have some consequences. 

"He's really bad and we just have got to find a solution at this stage. He's maybe the worst affected of all drivers, but pretty much everyone, as far as I understand from the drivers, said something needs to happen. I couldn't give you an explanation as to what that is." 

A debate in the paddock has been developing as to whether Formula One's design regulations for the 2022 season need to be revised to protect the drivers, with bouncing being an issue for several drivers across the grid. 

There were questions as to whether the issues in Baku were caused by bottoming, where the bottom of the car makes contact with the road, or whether it was bouncing in general, but Wolff believes it is both. 

"I think they are very much linked together. We are seeing tracks where we have porpoising and then we have bouncing," he said.

"Some cars are bottoming so it's not really clear – it's all interlinked with the aerodynamic performance of the floor." 

McLaren's Daniel Ricciardo was among those to suffer with bouncing in Baku and, while it hasn't been a regular problem for him throughout the course of the season, he expressed his sympathy to Mercedes and stated he will support any push for changes. 

The current regulations are in place until 2026 but are likely to be revised along the way, with increases to the annual budget and the potential of a driver salary cap currently being hot topics throughout the paddock. 

Lewis Hamilton says he was "praying" for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix to end due to back pain brought on from his bouncing Mercedes car.

The seven-time world champion complained over the team radio and later struggled to get out of his car at the end of Sunday's race.

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff apologised to Hamilton for the ongoing porpoising issue, which has been a particular problem in Baku due to the high speeds and bumpy street layout.

"Lewis, we all know this is a bit of a s***box to drive at the moment. I'm sorry for the back also, we will sort ourselves out," Wolff said.

Speaking earlier this week, Hamilton's team-mate George Russell warned Formula One chiefs to expect a "major incident" if action is not taken to address the problem.

Despite the pain, Hamilton finished in fourth, one place behind Russell, and says he got through the race on adrenaline alone.

"Yeah, that's the only thing [that kept me going]," he told Sky Sports. "Biting down on my teeth through pain and just adrenaline.

"I can't express the pain that you experience, particularly on the straight here. At the end, you're just praying for it to end.

"We're in such a good position still, we got third and fourth which is a great result for the team. 

"The team did a great job with the strategy. Once we fix this bouncing, we're going to be right there in a race but we're losing over a season just with bouncing, for sure. 

"Or at least a second with bouncing… I'll be at the factory tomorrow. We've got to have some good discussions and keep pushing."

McLaren's car has also experienced bouncing problems and Daniel Ricciardo, who finished eighth, compared it to having his head knocked around like a basketball.

"You know when pro basketball players bounce the ball really low? That's what I felt like someone was doing to my helmet," he said.

"I know George has been vocal about it like it's not sustainable. I feel rattled. It's definitely not good. It's not good for our general health and well-being."

Lewis Hamilton says Mercedes know they must "take a beating" in order to recover the lost ground they trail Red Bull and Ferrari by ahead of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

The seven-time world champion will start seventh on the grid following another disappoint qualifying session in Baku, while team-mate George Russell will start in fifth.

Mercedes have remained dramatically off the pace of their rivals, with Ferrari's Charles Leclerc sealing a fourth consecutive pole position in his title race with Max Verstappen.

Hamilton – who won on this track in 2018 – admitted he and his team are continuing to draw the same conclusions from their struggles, in what could be a bad omen for their prospects over the rest of the season.

"I'm not surprised [about the gap], I mean it was the same in Monaco," he told Sky Sports. "It was a really difficult qualifying session, we're constantly pushing.

"We have a very, very small window where we can work this car and everything we try doesn't give us what we want.

"So, we're making lots of changes, but we're always out with the same conclusion, which is most often bouncing, which loses us a lot of performance.

"All the performance is when you get the car low… so we said let's take a beating in our necks and backs to get the car as low as possible for the performance."

Russell, who is out to better his best-ever 15th-place finish at the circuit, posted in 2019, suggested improvements were harder to decipher from within the cockpit.

"The lap felt good, the car felt good but obviously it is pretty shocking when you cross the line and you are one and a bit seconds behind pole position," Russell said.

"We expect so much of ourselves and we are working so hard to bring more performance, but definitely this weekend has brought out the strengths and the weaknesses of all of us.

"To be honest, it truly is just not going fast enough.

"It feels ok from within, except when we are going down the straights because every single bump is the most rigid I have ever felt from any race car before.

"In the breaking zones, it is so bumpy down those straights and feels awful from within but through the corners itself the car feels good.

"So we know it isn't a balance thing getting the car in the right window with the set up, it is more we don't have the downforce and we are balancing a lot of limitations to try and get the downforce.

"We know there is a lot there but we don't know how to extract it."

Charles Leclerc stormed to pole position for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, surprising himself by getting the better of the Red Bulls.

Leclerc produced a sensational final lap in Baku to become the first Ferrari driver since Michael Schumacher in 2001 to record six pole positions in the first eight races of a season. 

He was almost three tenths of a second faster than Sergio Perez, who pipped team-mate Max Verstappen to a place on the front row. 

"It feels good. Obviously all poles feel good, but this one I did not expect because in Q1 and Q2 I really struggled to see that we could be faster," said Leclerc. 

"In the last lap everything came together and I managed to do good, so I'm extremely happy. 

"I'm really excited for [the race]. Tyre management is a big thing here. In Barcelona and Monaco we were managing it well but overall our race pace has gone a step up since we brought in the upgrades." 

Championship leader Verstappen was disappointed to miss out on a place on the front row but is confident Red Bull will be able to challenge for the win on Sunday. 

"I think the start was good, then it went away from me a little bit with tiny mistakes," said Verstappen. 

"It's not ideal but in general I was just struggling to find balance over one lap. It's not what I want but being second and third the team has a good opportunity. 

"We'll find out tomorrow, but we maybe seem to lack a bit of pace over one lap but in the long run we should be quite good." 

Perez, who experienced an issue in the garage in Q3, said: "On the first run of Q3 is when you go all out. I hit the wall a couple of times – luckily we managed to survive, which is the key here. 

"We had a problem with the engine at the end, we couldn't turn it on. We lost a few tenths, but I think Charles has done a very good job. 

"It's a very long race ahead, so we just have to make sure we are there. You can make a mistake at any point and that's it." 

Lewis Hamilton could only qualify seventh and was facing an investigation for driving unnecessarily slowly in Q2.

PROVISIONAL CLASSIFICATION

1. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) 1:41.359
2. Sergio Perez (Red Bull) +0.282s
3. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) +0.347s
4. Carlos Sainz (Ferrari) +0.455s
5. George Russell (Mercedes) +1.353s
6. Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri) +1.486s
7. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) +1.565s
8. Yuki Tsunoda (AlphaTauri) +1.697s
9. Sebastian Vettel (Aston Martin) +1.732s
10. Fernando Alonso (Alpine) +1.814s

Lewis Hamilton has confirmed he is working on a Formula One movie with Brad Pitt.

It was reported this week that seven-time F1 world champion Hamilton had taken on a producer role in a film starring Hollywood legend Pitt for Apple TV+.

Hamilton says he has relished the opportunity to work on such an alternative project.

He said during a media conference ahead of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix: "It's a really cool project and we are already working on the script. 

"I'm much involved in the script, which is fun, and spending good time with Brad, which is pretty epic… and really from my responsibilities and something that I take on is just making sure the cast and crew in the background is diverse – something I really highlighted at the beginning.

"It's been very difficult, if you look at all the racing movies, you can't necessarily say all the racing movies that have been in the past have been spectacular and that's something we want to change.

"It's really about showing how great this sport really is to people that have never watched it and also making sure that we keep the real heritage and the true racing spirit within the movie and within the script, so that's part of my role."

The Mercedes driver says a cast has not yet been finalised.

Hamilton added: "We're going to need drivers I'm sure at one stage. What I think will be important is - it's not my movie, it's Formula One's, it's for all of us, so there's lots of people within the sport who are being a part of this, helping educate those who are trying to create this movie, so it's going to include lots and lots of people and there's talk already of how we're going to capture the footage and it's going to take us drivers to be involved in that.

"But we're not actors. We don't want it to be crap… which is probably why I'm not going to be a part of it! We need some good actors."

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