Despite extreme pain following the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton says he will race in the Canadian GP.
Porpoising — the violent up-and-down motion byproduct of new F1 vehicle rules — has been an issue for every Formula 1 team this year, but no team has it worse than Mercedes. Lewis Hamilton and teammate George Russell were both visibly shaken up as they exited their cars following the checkered flag in Baku on Sunday.
Hamilton, who started seventh and finished fourth, still had 22 of the 51 laps remaining when he radioed his team saying, “Argh, my back is killing me, man.”
Mercedes team boss Toto Wolf said after Sunday’s race that Hamilton was “definitely” doubtful for Canada, but later in the day the seven-time world champion tweeted to let fans know he will in fact be racing.
“Yesterday was tough and I had some trouble sleeping, but I’ve woken up feeling positive today,” Hamilton said. He added on Instagram that, “I’ve had acupuncture and physiotherapy and I’m on my way to my team to work with them on improving.”
The extreme conditions made the Azerbaijan GP the “most painful” race he’s ever driven according to Hamilton. The bouncing was so bad that he feared he might crash down the pit lane straight.
Hamilton and Mercedes aren’t the only parties speaking out against Formula 1’s porpoising problem. Alpha Tauri’s Pierre Gasly says that the FIA, Formula 1’s governing body, need to stop drivers from “ending up with a cane at 30.”
Gasly, who finished fifth on Sunday, said he was struggling with similar conditions to Hamilton.
“Sometimes the car is moving on its own, just because the steering is shaking,” Gasly said.
The Alpha Tauri driver is also receiving medical treatments to try and survive this season.
“I’ve had a physio session before and after every session, just because my [spinal] discs are suffering from it. You have literally no suspension. It just hits going through your spine.”
Not everyone in Formula 1 is in agreement though. Red Bull Racing, who lead the constructors championship and hold the top two places in the drivers championship, have encountered minimal porpoising. Red Bull team boss Christian Horner doesn’t think the teams who have done well to minimize the bouncing should suffer from a rule change.
“It would seem unfair to penalize the ones that have done a decent job, versus the ones that have perhaps missed the target slightly.”
Teams can continue to bring upgrades as the season progresses to try and eliminate the porpoising issue, but with a new spending cap looming over team’s heads, there may not be enough in the bank to solve the problem.
The Formula 1 championship continues on Sunday at the Canadian Grand Prix.