F1: Mercedes says it has pushed Lewis Hamilton’s Baku setup too far

File photo: Formula One F1 - Azerbaijan Grand Prix - Baku City Circuit, Baku, Azerbaijan - June 12, 2022 Mercedes Lewis Hamilton on the grid before the race.

File photo: Formula One F1 – Azerbaijan Grand Prix – Baku City Circuit, Baku, Azerbaijan – June 12, 2022 REUTERS / Hamad I Mohammed / Pool in the grid before the Lewis Hamilton race of Mercedes

Mercedes pushed Lewis Hamilton’s car setup too far in Azerbaijan last weekend and could not hurt him again, Formula One team strategy chief said on Wednesday.

Britain’s seven-time world champion suffered severe back pain while wrestling with his bouncing car in Baku, saying it was his most painful race.

Team boss Toto Wolf has raised some concerns about Hamilton being able to race in Canada this weekend, but strategy boss James Wools has confirmed in a brief statement that the driver will be competing in Montreal.

“He’s an elite athlete who pushes the limits of his own and the car’s endurance, and what the Formula One drivers do makes them exceptional,” Voules said.

“Although on this occasion, we have pushed the package and our drivers a long way, we are putting them in significant discomfort and we cannot do it again.

“We have a responsibility now to make sure it doesn’t go on,” he said, referring to the suffering of other drivers.

After both Ferrari drivers retired, Hamilton finished fourth in Baku, Russell third.

Formula One has introduced a major rule restructuring this season and the changes have ‘porpoised’ cars – the aerodynamic ground effect is jumping straight up and down with sudden gains and losses.

Vowles explains that there is a difference between posing, bouncing and bottling.

“I am confident that we have taken a step forward in terms of porpoising but we have bounced very clearly and from the outside it looks almost identical, but there is a subtle difference between the two,” he declared.

Vowels said progress on the porposing solution at the Spanish Grand Prix had allowed the team to lower the ride height and allow the car to run on the ground – which revealed another problem.

The car was now “hitting the deck” quite strongly making the bouncing clear at the bottom Baku.

Voles said Montreal would not be significantly different.

“I think we will still have a package that is not ahead on merit,” he said. “The Red Bull and Ferrari will still be the criteria by which we compare ourselves.

“I think, though, that the huge gap you see in qualifying in Baku probably won’t be that big in Montreal.”

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