Mercedes: What’s gone wrong at the F1 and can they recover?
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Lewis Hamilton has admitted he was ‘praying’ for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix to end as he admitted he was ‘biting’ his teeth in pain. The Mercedes star said he ‘can’t express the pain’ during the race but still praised the team’s solid performance.
He said: “I can’t express the pain you experience, particularly on the straight here. At the end you’re just praying for it to end. We’re in such a good position still, third and fourth is a great result for the team. The team did a great job with the strategy.
“Once we fix this bouncing we’re going to be right there in the race. We’re losing for sure at least a second with the bouncing. I’ll be in the factory tomorrow, we’ve got to have some good discussions and keep pushing.”
During the race, Hamilton appeared to scream ‘my back is killing me’.
The seven-time champion has struggled with Mercedes bouncing issues all weekend, claiming after qualifying that his back was in a ‘real mess’
Toto Woff apologised to Hamilton after the race and promised the team would keep working to fix the car. Hamilton replied: “Make some changes OK. Please. Let’s keep pushing.”
Sky Sports commentator Paul di Resta called upon Mercedes to ensure their car was safe for Hamilton to drive.
He said: “Mercedes need to give him a car that is not going to porpoise, bounce… that has a more comfortable ride. That should be philosophy No 1 for the team leaving this race. It’s amazing what adrenaline can do to a sports person getting through that level of pain.”
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The Silver Arrows benefited from a double Ferrari retirement as Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz suffered mechanica issues. This meant the team were the second-fastest cars to finish the race and came home behind the pair of Red Bull’s.
Hamilton was closing in on Russell in the early stages before losing out in the pit stops to fall behind a gaggle of cars. This ended any chances of challenging his team-mate but Hamilton was able to secure fourth to equal his second best result of the season.
Russell’s third placed finish is the former Williams man’s third podium of the season. After the race, he said: “To be honest I was pleased to see the race come to a close. Just smashing the ground every single corner, every single lap.
“Pretty brutal, I’ll sleep well tonight. Especially on a circuit that isn’t usually too physical. It’s just what we’ve got to deal with and live with at the moment. We as drivers have to accept [it].
“There’s not going to be any short-term changes but there are conversations about the long-term future of these regulations. We’ve got a lot of brilliant engineers and intelligent people in this sport. I’m sure we’ll find the right solutions.”
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