Mercedes: What’s gone wrong at the F1 and can they recover?
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Daniel Ricciardo has claimed Lewis Hamilton “wasn’t exaggerating” his back pains after the Azerbaijan Grand Prix as the Australian was also “really uncomfortable” behind the wheel. The McLaren star said the bouncing seen in F1 cars is “not normal or comfortable” and warned the issue would be discussed during the drivers’ briefing ahead of the Canadian Grand Prix.
In an interview with the Press Association, Ricciardo said: “There was talk about Lewis after the race. I saw some of his on-boards, I saw pictures of him getting out of the car and stretching his back, and he wasn’t exaggerating. It really was uncomfortable. The good thing is that it is very visible. If you have the car’s audio, you can hear it jumping and bouncing, and from the images, you can see the helmet is moving around, too. It is not normal or comfortable.
“The position we sit in the car, we don’t have much room to move so we are not prepared for the impacts. If that is up to a rule change, or the way the teams are setting up the cars, I am not 100 per cent sure. But I wouldn’t like anyone to go through any unnecessary injury or pain.
“We have spoken about it throughout the season, but with Baku being such a big one, I am sure it will get discussed in the drivers’ briefing on Friday.”
Hamilton claimed he was biting into his teeth during Sunday’s race due to the extreme back pain. He appeared to scream in agony when speaking to his race engineer Peter Bonnington and looked unable to get out of his car after the race in parc ferme.
However, the Briton’s injury was questioned by Red Bull boss Christian Horner who claimed Mercedes had told Hamilton to b**** behind the wheel in a bid to push through rules changes. The Silver Arrows are not competitive when struggling with bouncing as seen in Monaco and Azerbaijan.
However, in Spain the team appeared closer to the pace, raising suspicion they could challenge for wins if they were not struggling so badly.
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Mercedes boss Toto Wolff appeared to push for changes ahead of the race, claiming the regulations were a “real issue”. When asked what he would do if his drivers were suffering from the issues Horner said: “Tell them to b**** as much as they could over the radio and make as big an issue out of it as they possibly could.
“It’s part of the game.” He added: “Look, it is uncomfortable but there are remedies to that but it’s detrimental to car performance.
“What’s the easiest thing to do? Complain from a safety point of view, but each team has a choice.”
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