Lewis Hamilton said he “cannot express the pain” suffered due to bouncing in his Mercedes Formula 1 car during the Azerbaijan Grand Prix and was relieved just to finish.
Mercedes‘ problems with bouncing and porpoising reemerged at the bumpy Baku street track this weekend, with both Hamilton and teammate George Russell complaining of back pain after practice and qualifying.
The seven-time world champion complained of back pain over his team radio during the race, with Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff apologising to him for the car’s bouncing problem.
Hamilton was grateful just to finish the race in fourth place due to the pain he was feeling.
“I was just holding and biting down on my teeth due to the pain, and the adrenaline [helped], I cannot express the pain that you experience, particularly on the straight here,” Hamilton told Sky Sports F1, having been visibly in pain when both getting out of the car and in the post-race media interviews.
“At the end you are just praying for it to end. But we were in such a good position still, third and fourth, a great result for the team. The team did a great job with the strategy.”
Hamilton remains confident once Mercedes cures its F1 car’s porpoising problem it can make clear performance jumps, as he estimated the issue was costing him around one second per lap in Baku.
“Once we fix this bouncing we’ll be right there in the race,” he said. “But we were losing, for sure, over a second just with bouncing. 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.”
Russell echoed his teammate’s comments after the race and reiterated his desire for the FIA to look into the matter on safety grounds, after the issue was brought up in the F1 drivers’ briefing ahead of the Azerbaijan GP.
“I was pretty pleased [for] the race come to a close, we are just smashing the ground every single corner, every lap for an hour and a half is pretty brutal, so I will sleep well tonight,” Russell told Sky Sports F1.
“Especially on a circuit that is not normally that physical.
“I’m pleased to be standing on the podium, as a team we have got to be there to pick up the pieces at the end, and that is what we are doing.
“We have just got to deal with it [bouncing] and as drivers accept there is not going to be any short-term changes. But there are conversations going on about the long-term future of these regulations. Let’s see.
“We have got intelligent people in this sport so I’m sure we will find a solution.”