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Lewis Hamilton was fourth in Baku but his car gave him a painful ride; Mercedes boss Toto Wolff apologized to the seven-time world champion and said the team will “fix itself”; George Russell was third as Mercedes benefited from Ferrari’s reliability issues
Last updated: 06/12/22 05:00 p.m
Lewis Hamilton was clearly in pain getting out of his car and his Mercedes team boss apologized to him
Lewis Hamilton has revealed the pain caused by the impact of his Mercedes made him “pray for the end” of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix on Sunday.
After Hamilton felt severe discomfort in practice and qualifying on Friday and Saturday, the Mercedes driver had warned he was worried about going through the race.
The seven-time world champion fought his way through Sunday’s 51 laps of the Baku City Circuit to finish fourth. He made several overtakes to take advantage of the extra points a Ferrari double DNF provided, allowing Max Verstappen to lead a Red Bull one. two.
Hamilton’s performance, along with team-mate George Russell’s third place finish, provided a boost in what has been a hugely disappointing season for Mercedes so far, but driver unease has sparked a debate over whether F1’s new design regulations for 2022 need to be changed.
Hamilton, who struggled to get out of his car at the end of the race, said he was only able to see the checkered flag thanks to adrenaline.
Hamilton is open about the severe back pain he suffered during the Azerbaijan GP
“That’s the only thing,” Hamilton said. “Biting my teeth through pain and adrenaline.
“I can’t express the pain you’re going through, especially on the straight here. In the end you just pray for it to end.”
Russell: It was pretty brutal
Russell’s performance saw him close the gap to third-placed Charles Leclerc in the Drivers’ Championship, while Mercedes now sits just 38 points adrift of Ferrari in the Constructors’ Championship.
“The team did a great job with the strategy. Once we fix that jumping we’ll be spot on in a race. We’ll lose at least a second to jumping for sure,” Hamilton said.
“I’ll be at the factory tomorrow; we need to have some good talks and keep pushing.”
George Russell admitted it wasn’t “pleasant” to hop due to porpoises but was delighted to have finished third in Baku
Russell, who is the only rider to finish in the points in all eight races this season, also experienced an awkward ride in Baku and believes there needs to be broader conversations about the hopping and porpoise issues.
“I was quite pleased to see the race come to an end,” said Russell.
I don’t know what the solution is to be honest. The majority of us are in the same boat, either you have porpoises and the car jumps up and down and hits the ground, or you don’t have it and have to drive the car millimeters off the ground and you hit the ground lap after lap. Whatever boat you’re in, it’s not a pleasant one.
“You’re banging every single corner and lap for an hour and a half, it’s pretty brutal. I’m going to sleep well tonight. It’s a track that’s not usually that physical [too].
“We just have to live with that at the moment and as drivers we have to reckon with that.
Take a look back at the highlights of the Azerbaijan GP from the Baku City Circuit
“There will be no short-term changes, but talks are ongoing about the long-term future of these regulations.
“We have many brilliant engineers and intelligent people in this sport and I’m sure we will find the right solution.”
“Rattled” Ricciardo wants to help Mercedes drivers
Daniel Ricciardo, who finished eighth ahead of his McLaren teammate Lando Norris with an improved performance, expressed his condolences to the Mercedes drivers after the race.
Although McLaren struggled for pace at times this season, it was one of the teams least affected by jumps or porpoises, but it was on the bumpy Baku circuit that the Australian suffered.
“I feel like, you know, when pro basketball players bounce the ball really low, I felt like someone was going to do something to my helmet,” he said SkySports F1.
Daniel Ricciardo talks about the effects he felt on his body during the Azerbaijan Grand Prix
“It kept getting worse and I sympathize with everyone who has had it now. It’s bad. I really feel insecure. I will definitely help when people talk about it.
“I know George has been vocal about it not being sustainable.
“It’s not good for our overall health and well-being. It is not normal for us to get high frequency exposure. I’m shocked, probably because it’s the first time I’ve really felt what some others are feeling. It definitely felt bad.”
With the Canadian Grand Prix quickly following next weekend and practice sessions starting on Friday, the issue could be back on the agenda in Montreal.
After that, it takes a little longer for Formula 1 to arrive in the UK, with Silverstone hosting the British Grand Prix on July 1-3.