Hamilton on Baku pain: ‘Was praying for it to end’

Jessica Thompson

Lewis Hamilton said the pain he felt from his bouncing Formula One car during the Azerbaijan Grand Prix was so bad he was “praying for it to end,” while McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo compared it having your head bounced around like a basketball.

Hamilton was seen struggling to get out of his Mercedes after the race and walked away in clear pain, holding his lower back.

During the race, he had shouted over the radio: “My back is killing me!”

Mercedes’ current car bounces violently at high speed, known as “porposising. Cars hit top speeds of 220 mph down Baku’s long start-finish straight.

On Saturday Hamilton’s teammate George Russell warned the bouncing trait is a major accident waiting to happen and on Sunday TV cameras picked up just how badly the movement was inside the car for both Mercedes drivers.

Russell and Hamilton finished third and fourth on Sunday despite the bouncing.

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff apologised to Hamilton after the race, saying: “Lewis, we all know this is a bit of a s—box to drive at the moment. I’m sorry for the back also, we will sort ourselves out.”

Asked if he got through the race on adrenaline alone, Hamilton said: “Yeah, that’s the only thing. Just biting down on my teeth through pain. 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.”

McLaren’s car is not known for bouncing as bad but Ricciardo said he finally understood what the Mercedes drivers have been complaining about this season.

“You know when pro basketball players bounce the ball really low? That’s what I felt like someone was doing to my helmet,” Ricciardo said after the race.

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