Lewis Hamilton says the Azerbaijan Grand Prix is ​​’the most painful’ he has ever experienced

Lewis Hamilton
Lewis Hamilton fought his way back from seventh to fourth place

Lewis Hamilton said he was “concerned” about the Canadian Grand Prix after saying Sunday’s race in Baku was “the most painful thing I’ve ever witnessed”.

Hamilton said his car’s high-speed jumping meant the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, where he finished fourth, was “the toughest race” of his career.

Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff said Hamilton was “definitely” a doubt for next weekend’s race in Montreal.

Hamilton said: “I always want to get in the car. I just don’t want to jump.”

He added: “I would do anything to avoid that. (I’m) worried every time I get back in the car.”

Since the beginning of the year, Mercedes has been suffering from jerking, which has several causes. They felt like they fixed one of the root causes with car upgrades two races ago in Spain, but it has since come back in a different form.

Hamilton, who cautiously got out of his car after the race and rubbed his back, said: “There were a lot of moments when I didn’t know if I was going to make it, if I was going to keep the car on track.

“I almost lost my composure several times in the high-speed corners. The fight with the car was intense. For the last 10 laps I just had to go inside: you got this, you got this, just put up with it.”

He added that driving required a similar type of mental management as the cryotherapy he used to treat the pain it caused.

“I’ve been doing cryotherapy and if you go in there for four minutes it’s freaking cold and you just have to go inside and just say you can and it’s the same thing,” Hamilton said.

“Just biting and crunching with it. I have to think of all the people who rely on me to get the points. That was the worst for me. I haven’t had it that bad this year.”

Things heated up as cars and drivers lined up in Baku

He added that the car “straight” bounced so violently through the high-speed kinks at the start of Baku’s pit lane that he thought he might have an accident.

“The thing bounced so much I almost hit the wall so many times,” Hamilton said. “That was a concern.

“Slammed against the wall at 290 km/h for safety reasons; I don’t think as a racer I really had to think too much about it. It’s a very strange experience.”

Hamilton’s team-mate George Russell, who finished one place ahead in third, is leading a campaign by drivers to try to persuade the F1 board to take action to swap cars to eliminate the crash.

Also known as the ‘porpoise’, the problem has returned to F1 this season for the first time in 40 years as a result of new car designs being introduced to make the races closer.

This introduced an aerodynamic philosophy known as “ground effect” which requires the cars to go as low as possible for maximum performance. However, this can cause airflow disruption in the underbody, which then causes high-frequency bouncing when the airflow fluctuates.

However, eight of the ten teams must agree to the introduction of a change unless the FIA ​​decides to introduce it for safety reasons, and the teams voted against an immediate change at a meeting held during the race in Azerbaijan over the weekend.

Russell said: “It’s totally understandable because every team develops their car around a set of regulations and with every change. Nobody knows what the consequences are.

“We want a change, but who knows what that change is? It’s just us 20 drivers. We would choose to drive safer out there. I couldn’t even see my pit board, the car was moving so much.

“We have the technology to remove this with a snap of our fingers, I don’t think anyone wants to take advantage of this, we’re just looking for a safer solution.”

Hamilton said: “All the drivers discuss this together in the drivers’ briefing and ultimately none of us want this ups and downs to continue over the next four years of this regulation. So I’m sure the teams will work on that.”

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner, whose drivers took the double win in the race, said: “The easiest thing is to lift the car. You have a choice of where to drive your car and you should never drive a car that is unsafe.

“Some cars have problems and others very few.

Red Bull are the team least affected by porpoises, but sources say world champion Max Verstappen also backed the idea of ​​making changes to solve the problem in the drivers’ briefing.

Horner admitted that if his car was going to cause as many problems as the Mercedes, “I would tell[the drivers]to bitch as much as they can over the radio and make as big a problem as they can.” It’s part of the game.

“You can see it’s uncomfortable, but there is a workaround. But it comes at the expense of car performance, so the easiest thing to complain about is safety.”

“But every team has a choice. If it was a real safety issue across the grid it should be looked into, but if it’s only affecting individual teams then the team might want to look into it.”

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