F1 introduced a brand new car with the aim of improving racing for the 2022 season but the return to ground-effect technology has led to a recurrence of the high-speed bouncing phenomenon known as porpoising that had not been seen since the 1980s. 

Mercedes’ W13 challenger has been plagued by bouncing but most of the teams have been hit by porpoising at some stage this season, and the issue was more noticeable than usual during both practice sessions on Friday in Baku. 

Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz had already called for F1 to open a debate on the long-term health impact of the sport’s new generation of cars, while Russell previously warned the bouncing would be unsustainable after suffering with back and chest pains at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix in April. 

“There was a little bit of it [the bouncing] but it’s just that the cars are running so close to the ground,” Russell said after FP2. 

“It’s crazy out there through those high-speed corners, the car’s fully bottoming out. I think it’s the same for everybody and it’s really not comfortable to drive. 

“I don’t know what the future holds for this era of cars, but I don’t think it’s right to run like this for the next four years, or whatever we’ve got. 

“For all of us, conversations are going to be needed as everybody is in the same boat, really.” 

Asked what was the hardest thing about his day, Lewis Hamilton replied: “The bouncing.”

The seven-time world champion revealed that he was left “a bit sore” but said he would “get by”. 

Struggles continue for Lewis Hamilton in Baku 

Russell ended the day as the fastest Mercedes in seventh place, while Hamilton finished down in 12th, with both drivers over a second off the pace set by Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc. 

Russell conceded that Red Bull and Ferrari are currently “too far ahead” for Mercedes to even think about mounting a challenge this weekend. 

“It was a tricky day, we weren’t as competitive as we would have liked,” he said. “Again, a tricky track to get the tyres in the right window. 

“You see with a number of drivers, their fastest laps were coming right at the end of the run, whereas Ferrari and Red Bull, they seemed to be able to turn it on. 

“At the moment, they just have an inherently faster car than us and we’ve done everything we can to try and catch up. If we’re totally on top of the tyres we’re not going to fully close that gap - or we’re definitely not going to close that gap, they’re just too far ahead. 

“So that’s probably 50% of our issues - the rest is just the lack of performance we have at the moment.” 

Hamilton had been quicker than Russell in opening practice and put his FP2 struggles down to an experimental set-up change that did not work.

“We tried something experimental on my car and it didn’t feel that great, to be honest,” he explained. 

“But at least we tried it and got data on it, and now we’ll go through it and hopefully for tomorrow we’ll probably revert back to what we changed.”

Hamilton reacts to FIA president's comments

Mohammed Ben Sulayem, the FIA president, used social media to clarify that he “always believed in sport as a catalyst of progress in society” after comments were attributed to him that questioned Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel sharing their views on societal issues.

Hamilton reacted: “That doesn’t stop us doing what we are doing."