“Argh, my back is killing me!” - Hamilton in agony after 'most painful race'

Lewis Hamilton was in agony after being forced to drive with back pain at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.
Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercede
Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercede

Hamilton finished fourth in Baku but was left struggling to climb out of his W13 car due to the impact of severe porpoising, the bouncing phenomenom that has blighted Mercedes all season.

“Argh, my back is killing me!” Hamilton shouted over his team radio.

Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff apologised to the British driver shortly after the chequered flag.

“Lewis, we all know this is a bit of a sh--box to drive at the moment,” Wolff said. “I’m sorry for the back also, we will sort ourselves out.”

Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W13. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 8, Azerbaijan Grand Prix, Baku Street Circuit,
Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W13. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd…

Hamilton said post-race: "Happy it’s over. Sore. That was the most painful race I’ve experienced, the toughest race I’ve experienced.

"Honestly [George Russell] didn’t have the same bounce I had, he had a lot less bouncing, yesterday I lost 3.5 tenths to him on the straights, I had an experimental part on my car, and the different rear suspension. Ultimately it is the wrong one.

"All the drivers together are discussing it in the briefing and ultimately none of us want to have the bouncing for the next four years of the regulation so I’m sure the teams will be working on it.

"There were a lot of moments where I didn’t know if I was going to make it. One, whether I was going to keep the car on track as on the high speed I nearly lost it several times. The battle with the car was intense. 

"Horrible, the worst at the beginning of the race, I thought it would get much better, got a bit better in the corners towards the end but down the straights still just as bad.

"I’ve been doing cryotherapy and you go in there for 4 minutes and it’s bloody cold, same sort of thing, just biting down and just gritting with it. I have to think of all the people that rely on me to get those points so that’s really what I was focused on. But this is definitely the worst for me, haven’t had it this bad this year.

"George hasn’t had it as bad today, his back is 10 years younger than mine!

"The thing was bouncing so much there were so many times I was nearly going into the wall, that was a concern safety wise, 180mph smashing into the wall. I don’t think I’ve ever really had to think about that as a racing driver, keeping it out of the wall at that high speed, very strange experience.

"There is so much potential in this car, we just can’t unlock it at all until we stop this bouncing. But we have a much different looking car to everyone else and we need to see if that’s right or wrong."

Hamilton ‘praying for it to end’ 

Lewis Hamilton (GBR), Mercedes AMG F1 Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 8, Azerbaijan Grand Prix, Baku Street Circuit,
Lewis Hamilton (GBR), Mercedes AMG F1 Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 8,…

Max Verstappen won the Azerbaijan Grand Prix ahead of Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez, while Ferrari duo Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz failed to finish amid more reliability issues.

Hamilton elaborated on the pain he experienced during the race in Baku, conceding that “adrenaline” got him through the 51 laps.

“Yeah, that’s the only thing. Just biting down on my teeth through pain,” Hamilton told Sky Sports F1. “Just adrenaline. I can’t express the pain you experience, especially on the straight here. At the end you’re just praying for it to end.”

With Ferrari’s double DNF, Mercedes were able to come away with their joint-best result of the season with third and fourth.

“We’re in such a good position still, third and fourth is a great result for the team,” he added. “The team did a really great job with the strategy. 

“Once we fix this bouncing we’re going to be right there in the race but we were losing over a second with the bouncing, or at least a second. I’ll be at the factory tomorrow, we’ve got have some good discussions and keep pushing.”

Hamilton did manage to deliver an upbeat message over his Mercedes team radio after the race: “Well done guys. Great job with the strategy. Thank you for continuing to push. Let’s definitely make some changes.”

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