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Lewis Hamilton: Toto Wolff says Mercedes driver doubt for Canadian GP with back injury as Christian Horner questions complaints


Lewis Hamilton said Sunday’s Azerbaijan GP was the “most painful” race of his career due to his car’s big rebounds; Mercedes boss Toto Wolff says Hamilton is doubtful for the Canadian GP next weekend, but Red Bull chief Christian Horner has questioned his rival’s claims

Last update: 06/12/22 9:59 p.m.

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Lewis Hamilton was clearly in pain getting out of his car after his Mercedes suffered further porpoising issues in Azerbaijan, prompting Toto Wolff to apologize to him.

Lewis Hamilton was clearly in pain getting out of his car after his Mercedes suffered further porpoising issues in Azerbaijan, prompting Toto Wolff to apologize to him.

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has accused Mercedes of exaggerating Lewis Hamilton’s physical struggles after Toto Wolff declared the Briton a doubt for the Canadian Grand Prix.

Hamilton described Sunday’s Azerbaijan GP as the “most painful” of his career, as the combination of Mercedes’ problematic W13 and the bumpy street circuit exposed him to serious rebounds.

Before the race started, Wolff said Sky Sports F1 he was unsure Hamilton would be able to complete the full 51 laps due to back pain.

The seven-time world champion drove impressively to finish fourth, but expressed discomfort during the race and looked seriously embarrassed as he got out of his car afterwards.

“It was the most painful race I’ve had, the toughest race I’ve had,” Hamilton said.

“I’m worried every time we get back in the car

Lewis Hamilton: Toto Wolff says Mercedes driver doubt for Canadian GP with back injury as Christian Horner questions complaints

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Hamilton says he was praying for the race to end after suffering severe back pain after his Mercedes was porpoised during the Azerbaijan Grand Prix

Hamilton says he was praying for the race to end after suffering severe back pain after his Mercedes was porpoised during the Azerbaijan Grand Prix

“There were a lot of times where I didn’t know if I was going to make it, there was one where I didn’t know if I was going to stay the course.”

Wolff said Hamilton was “certainly” at risk of missing the Canadian GP, ​​with back-to-back race weekends proving less than ideal for Mercedes on this occasion.

But Hamilton later hinted he would be in Canada, posting on social media: “Even when it’s painful we still get up. Thanks for the love, see you next week.”

The struggles of Hamilton and other drivers have led to a debate in the paddock over whether Formula 1’s brand new design regulations for 2022 need to be changed to protect the stars of the sport.

“I didn’t see him or talk to him afterwards, but you can see he’s not muscular anymore,” Wolff said. “It goes well in the spine and can have consequences.

“He’s really bad and we just have to find a solution at this point.

“He may be the hardest hit of all the drivers, but pretty much everyone, from what I understand from the drivers, said something had to happen. I couldn’t give you a explanation of what it is.”

Lewis Hamilton: Toto Wolff says Mercedes driver doubt for Canadian GP with back injury as Christian Horner questions complaints

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Azerbaijan GP Highlights from Baku City Circuit

Azerbaijan GP Highlights from Baku City Circuit

Horner: Mercedes has a choice

Red Bull have been one of the teams to suffer the least from porpoising under the new rules, something Horner thinks they should be rewarded for.

After watching reigning world champion Max Verstappen lead team-mate Sergio Perez to a Red Bull double in Baku, Horner offered little sympathy for the team he fought so hard against in the title battle. drama from last season.

“The easiest thing is obviously to lift a car. So…you know, the team has a choice to do that,” Horner said.

Lewis Hamilton: Toto Wolff says Mercedes driver doubt for Canadian GP with back injury as Christian Horner questions complaints

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Max Verstappen crosses the finish line to claim first place in the Azerbaijan Grand Prix

Max Verstappen crosses the finish line to claim first place in the Azerbaijan Grand Prix

“It’s your choice to drive your car, right? And you should never drive a car that’s unsafe. But…I think it’s more for the technicians – because there’s has some cars that have problems, and there are cars that have few problems.

“It would seem unfair to penalize those who have done a decent job over those who may have slightly missed the mark.”

Horner admitted that if he were in Wolff’s shoes, he would urge his drivers to take care of the problem as much as possible.

“I would tell them to b**** as much as they could on the radio and make it as big an issue as possible,” he said. “It’s part of the game.”

Lewis Hamilton: Toto Wolff says Mercedes driver doubt for Canadian GP with back injury as Christian Horner questions complaints

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Hamilton claimed his car was dangerously bottoming out during qualifying in Baku

Hamilton claimed his car was dangerously bottoming out during qualifying in Baku

Asked if he thought that was what Mercedes were doing, Horner added: “Of course it is. I mean listen, you can see it’s uncomfortable – but there are remedies. to that. But it’s at the expense of the performance of the car.”

“The easiest thing to do is complain from a safety perspective – but every team has a choice.

“I think if it was a real grid-wide safety issue then it’s something that should be looked at. But if it only affects isolated people or teams, it’s something this team should potentially deal with.”

Hamilton: all drivers discuss the problem

Despite Horner’s doubts, Hamilton and Wolff believe the strength of sentiment among the drivers will likely prompt action.

Daniel Ricciardo’s McLaren has been one of the cars least affected by porpoising this season, but he experienced a bounce back in Baku, publicly expressing sympathy for Mercedes drivers and saying he would be ready to help to change things.

Lewis Hamilton: Toto Wolff says Mercedes driver doubt for Canadian GP with back injury as Christian Horner questions complaints

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Daniel Ricciardo talks about the porpoising he suffered during the Azerbaijan Grand Prix and how it shook him

Daniel Ricciardo talks about the porpoising he suffered during the Azerbaijan Grand Prix and how it shook him

“All the drivers discuss it together at the driver briefing and at the end of the day I don’t think any of us want to keep bouncing back for the next four years of this regulation,” Hamilton said. “So I’m sure the teams will work on it.”

There was some confusion as to whether Hamilton’s discomfort was caused by porpoising or “bottoming”, the latter being when the bottom of the car makes contact with the ground, as opposed to just general bouncing.

Wolff added: “I think they are very connected. We see runs where we have porpoises and then rebounds.

“Some cars are at their lowest, so it’s not really clear – it’s all about the aerodynamic performance of the ground.




Sky Sports

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