Daniel Ricciardo says F1 race was like being ‘dribbled by Steph Curry’

Porpoising was again the talk of the F1 paddock following Sunday’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

The phenomenon, which sees the car bounce aggressively at high speed, has particularly affected the Mercedes team in 2022. In Baku, it was so acute that Lewis Hamilton was left in agony with back pain and struggling to get out of his car after the race.

Teammate George Russell and team boss Toto Wolff have complained about the issue and want to see a mid-season change of technical regulations. Russell fears the issue could lead to drivers suffering from long-term neurological damage, but a rule change appears unlikely at this stage, with most other teams either suffering mildly or not at all from porpoising.

However, Mercedes could have a useful ally as they look to get their way. McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo was among the other drivers to suffer from vicious bouncing on the Baku street circuit, and the Australian, a keen basketball fan, came up with a novel way of summing up how it feels from in the car.

“I dread to feel what the others felt because honestly, today was bad. I really struggled,” said Ricciardo after finishing eighth. “It was, simply putting it, painful. It’s painful – but I guess like, unnatural. It’s literally like someone’s bouncing you like that, like a pro basketball player when they get the ball really low. [It was like] being dribbled, being professionally dribbled by [NBA player] Stephen Curry or something.

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“It’s definitely not good, and it’s not normal, and I think we do need to do something. George and Lewis for example, I know that they have had so much bad porpoising. If they are feeling it worse, which they probably are, I can’t imagine what they are feeling because it was painful [for me].”

Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz and Alpine’s Esteban Ocon have also spoken out about the dangers of porpoising. But others, including Red Bull boss Christian Horner and F1 commentator Martin Brundle, have pointed that there could a simple fix for the issue, by simply raising the car’s ride height, although that would probably lead to a loss of performance.

Horner said: "You have a choice where you run your car, don’t you? And you should never run a car that’s unsafe. It would seem unfair to penalise the ones that have done a decent job versus the ones that have perhaps missed the target slightly.

"You can see it’s uncomfortable, but there are remedies to that. What’s the easiest thing to do is to complain from a safety point of view, but each team has a choice.”

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