Lewis Hamilton is having a painful F1 season in more ways than one.
His previously all-conquering Mercedes has been off the pace compared to Red Bull and Ferrari and the seven-time world champion hasn’t finished ahead of new teammate George Russell since the opening round in Bahrain, with his hopes of an eighth world title this year all but over.
Of more pressing concern for Hamilton and the Silver Arrows is the team’s battle with porpoising – the vicious bouncing that affects the car at high speed. The issue was particularly acute in Azerbaijan, where the 37-year-old was left in agony with back pain during the race. After finishing fourth, Hamilton struggled to extricate himself from the car and was even a doubt for the next race in Canada this weekend.
Hamilton has subsequently declared himself fit, declaring via Instagram on Monday: “I’ll be there this weekend. I wouldn’t miss it for the world. Yesterday was tough and I had some troubles sleeping but I have woke up feeling positive today. Back is a little sore and bruised but nothing serious thankfully.”
While Hamilton’s body took a battering in Baku, teammate Russell, 13 years his junior, was comparatively spritely after finishing third. And former F1 driver John Watson believes Hamilton’s could be related to age and has urged him to spend more than in the gym and less time jet-setting between races.
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“Lewis needs to be careful not to act like a pantomime dame,” Watson, who drove for McLaren and Brabham, told the Daily Mail.
“It is a very difficult car to drive but at 37 the bones are not as forgiving of an uncomfortable ride. This is a whole new world to Lewis. He has had seven or so years when Mercedes have been dominant and it’s perhaps like a seven-year itch.
“George looked pretty fresh afterwards and finished third to Lewis’s fourth. Lewis maybe needs to recalibrate and spend less time in the air and more in the gym.”
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