Mercedes plans reserve driver ‘solution’ for Canada in case Hamilton can’t drive RaceFans

Mercedes plans reserve driver ‘solution’ for Canada in case Hamilton can’t drive RaceFans

Mercedes will ensure they are prepared for the possibility that Lewis Hamilton cannot compete in next week’s Canadian Grand Prix weekend.

Hamilton said he was in a lot of pain in today’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix due to his car porpoising and bottoming out throughout the race. He called it “the most painful race I’ve had.”

Wolff said it was clear his driver’s condition was worse than just muscle aches. “I haven’t seen it and I haven’t spoken to it afterwards,” he said, “but you can see it’s not muscular anymore. I mean, it fits well in the spine and can have consequences.

Practice for the next race at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve is due to start in five days. Wolff said the team would be prepared for the possibility that Hamilton or teammate George Russell could not drive.

“I don’t think it’s just Lewis’ problem,” he said. “He is the one who is probably the most affected. But usually it also affects George and many others.

“So the solution might be to have someone in reserve, which we have every race anyway, to make sure our cars are running.”

Hamilton hasn’t missed a race since testing positive for Covid-19 ahead of the 2020 Sakhir Grand Prix. All teams are required to run junior drivers in at least two practice sessions during the season. Mercedes could take the opportunity to do so in early testing, extending Hamilton’s recovery time.

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Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Baku Street Circuit, 2022
Gallery: The 2022 Azerbaijan Grand Prix in pictures

Wolff apologized to Hamilton over the radio after the race. “I know it’s a bit of a crap to drive,” he said, “sorry about that.”

He later admitted that his driver was in “really bad” condition after the race. “We just have to find a solution at this point,” Wolff said. “He is, I think, perhaps the most affected of our drivers.

“But pretty much everyone, from what I understood from the pilots, said something had to happen. But I couldn’t explain to you what it is.

In Baku, the problem of cars porpoising – bouncing at high speeds – was compounded by the dip – hitting the circuit – on the bumpy track. “They are very connected to each other,” admitted Wolff. “We saw tracks where we have no porpoising, then we bounced, then some cars bottomed out.

“So it’s not really clear. It’s clear [that] everything is related to the aerodynamic performance of the ground.

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Azerbaijan Grand Prix 2022

Browse all articles from the 2022 Azerbaijan Grand Prix

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