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Lewis Hamilton made a big error in Baku
Lewis Hamilton made a big error in Baku

Lewis Hamilton apologised to the Mercedes team after a "humbling experience" left the Formula One world champion outside the points at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

Hamilton overcame difficulties in practice to clinch second on the grid in a red flag-laden qualifying session on Saturday, yet he finished 15th in Sunday's race.

Max Verstappen, Hamilton's championship rival, crashed with five laps remaining, and a red flag resulted in a standing start.

Hamilton, who had swiftly caught pole holder Charles Leclerc but had been delayed by Pierre Gasly in the pits, resumed the race behind Sergio Perez.

Yet the seven-time world champion, with his brakes smoking, careered off the track moments after the restart, enabling Perez to cruise to victory.

"Today was a humbling experience," Hamilton tweeted, having initially apologised to the team from his car.

"We worked so hard to put ourselves back in the top 10 today after a rocky week here in Baku. We gave it our all today and a small error caused the brakes to switch off.

"Sorry to the team, we'll come back stronger for the next race."

Mercedes' official team account echoed Hamilton's sentiment.

"This is hard to take. We worked so hard this weekend to put ourselves into the fight after a really difficult start on Friday – only to leave with nothing," the team's tweet read.

"[We] need a big reaction next time out in France."

Sunday's drama means Red Bull hold a 26-point lead in the constructors' championship, with Verstappen (105) four points ahead of Hamilton in the drivers' standings.

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