Lewis Hamilton has urged his Mercedes team to make changes to the W13 after his physically painful Azerbaijan Grand Prix weekend.
Voted Driver of the Day after improving on his grid position of seventh to finish fourth, aided by some fine overtaking moves, Hamilton appeared to be in considerable discomfort afterwards.
The seven-time former World Champion had said after qualifying his back was in “a real mess” due to the pounding his body was taking from the bouncing of the car – a feature of the Mercedes W13 ever since unofficial pre-season testing.
It was particularly evident in Baku and Hamilton took a while to climb out of the car, doing so very carefully and then walking away gingerly as he was clearly trying not to aggravate his back further.
But before doing so, he discussed with team principal Toto Wolff and his race engineer Pete Bonnington what needs to be done to alleviate the issues which are now patently taking their toll on Hamilton and his team-mate George Russell, who finished third behind Red Bull duo Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez as both Ferraris were forced to retire.
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The conversation over team radio went as follows:
Wolff: Lewis, we all know this is a bit of a sh*tbox to drive at the moment. Sorry for the back also. We will sort ourselves out. Well driven.”
Hamilton: “Well done, guys, great job with the strategy, thank you for continuing to push. Let’s definitely make some changes, okay?
Bonnington: “Yeah, copy, Lewis, can’t come soon enough.”
Hamilton: “Let’s keep pushing.”
The previous day, Hamilton had described how he had been suffering from the bouncing.
“I couldn’t finish my long run in practice on Friday because my back was a real mess,” said the 37-year-old. “Thank God for Angela [Cullen] for giving me physio and acupuncture every night.
“I woke up in pain this morning. The bouncing isn’t as bad on the straights, but it is through the corners where we are trying to keep the car out of the wall. There’s not a lot we can do to stop it, but we can’t have this car for four years so they do need to work it out.”
Hamilton also now has a long-haul flight to Montreal to contend with in the coming days as the Azerbaijan Grand Prix was the first leg of a double header completed by the Canadian GP next weekend.