• IN WORDS: Lewis and Valtteri's Baku Debrief

Lewis and Valtteri reflect on a Sunday of mixed fortunes in Azerbaijan...

'Never give up'

Lewis kept Sebastian Vettel in his sights throughout the race, pouncing when the Ferrari driver made a mistake and being there to pick up the pieces when Valtteri retired with a puncture.

"It was a quite humbling feeling because I came into yesterday (Saturday) saying 'maybe third time lucky' and it really was the case," the Brit said.

"There were points in the race where I felt like I might have a chance to win and then I had the lock-up and I really thought that was taking me out (of contention).

"But I just kept telling myself 'keep pushing, don't give up, something might happen' and it did. My dad told me to never give up when I was really, really young. Today was sheer proof of that.

"This is a lottery race and it was a fortunate race for me. I was standing on the podium believing that Valtteri should be standing there. Because I felt that he had earned it.

"I still drove pretty well and I'm grateful for the win. But the performance didn't feel like it was on par with what I'm capable of doing. I take that away and try to turn that into positivity and come back strong at the next race because there are improvements we need to make."

'10 pints of beer and we'll be fine'

Valtteri's race got off to a fairly low-key start, but the Finn moved into contention with an impressive long stint on SuperSofts - which left him in the perfect position to capitalise on the late Safety Car.

He took the restart as race leader, surviving a late lunge from Sebastian Vettel to open up a small gap to Lewis behind. But then, on lap 49, a punctured right-rear tyre cruelly took him out of the race.

"It shows that the race is never in your pocket until the chequered flag," he admitted. "It is difficult, unfortunate, unlucky.

"10 pints of beer and we'll be fine. I will get through it. I always get through difficulties. It's part of racing but at the moment it is very painful.

"It was a really good race until then. The pace we had at the end of the first stint we could run really long, really good pace.

"The Safety Car restart felt like I had everything under control. The car felt really good and I could even pull a good enough gap. Then this happened.

"Heartbroken... losing everything like that in the end it hurts. But what can you do?"

'It was the toughest race'

Baku lived up to its 'City of Winds' nickname and Lewis says this is one of the reasons why it was the most difficult race he can remember competing in.

"In the first stint Ferrari seemed to get the tyres switched on better," he said. "Sebastian pulled out a 2.8 second lead or something like that.

"All of a sudden, the car started to work a little bit better and I started to reign him in and I got it down to I think 2.2 at one point. It was looking good and I thought 'if I stay on this trajectory I can catch him'.

"Then I had this lock-up and I was completely baffled by what had happened. Normally when I go upstairs they would say it was just a mistake or something. I had a 25km/h head wind and then 15 km/h tailwind straight after.

"It was really strange. I hit the brakes, the car was working obviously and then suddenly the wheels just locked.

"So, that was definitely a bit frustrating because I think I was running pretty well at that point. And after that it was a bit of a struggle.

"We needed a pit stop and then obviously I was out of sync. The SuperSoft tyre continued and I was battling with Valtteri. He was in my pit stop window and not in my pit stop window.

"I was unsafe and then safe. Then I got traffic and no traffic. Tailwind. It was probably the most difficult race that I can remember having, with all the wind particularly. It really made it the toughest race."

'I didn't see anything'

Street circuits always lead to more incidents and more debris as a result, but it's impossible to see discarded bits of carbon fibre.

For Valtteri, it was simply the wrong place at the wrong time. But, while the wound is still fresh, he'll be back and stronger than ever.

"I think this track is difficult," Valtteri explained. "On street circuits there are always a lot of crashes. It's always going to be an issue and this time I was unlucky.

"I had no idea at any point that I ran over any debris, I didn't see anything, I didn't feel anything. Just very, very unlucky.

"Honestly, I had no idea where the debris was. There was a sudden explosion on the rear tyre and obviously it is a terrible feeling if you lose the win like that. But that's racing.

"A small piece destroyed our race today. It's a shame, everything was going really well until then. We were competitive. We could have been one-two. Lewis won the race that's positive - but the end results hurts."