Lewis Hamilton’s season continues to be very complicated on a sporting level, but also physically. The seven-time world champion had a very difficult time at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix and seems to be very weakened by back pain. So much so that Mercedes is not ruling out the possibility that Lewis Hamilton may not be able to compete in Canada this weekend. Something that appears to be a bluff by Wolff.
Taking advantage of the retirement of the two Ferrari drivers, Mercedes managed to position themselves behind the Red Bulls at the finish of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix with a new podium for George Russell and a fourth place for an aggressive Lewis Hamilton, who is still suffering in his car. A suffering that is characterised by difficulties in finding a rhythm, but now also by physical ailments.
Due to the fact Mercedes insist on dropping the car as low as possible, their car suffers the most porpoising, the regularly mentioned issue caused by ground effect that makes the car bounce. And in Baku, with its very long straight and top speeds of up to 345km/h, this phenomenon was stronger than ever.
The drivers complained about it, starting with Lewis Hamilton, who suffered back pain during the race and appeared very weak when he left his seat.
“It was the most physical race I’ve ever had in my life. I have never felt such pain in a car before. Normally it’s only physical of course in normal races, but this one I had to grit my teeth and deal with the pain, I was spiking all the time. But I told myself not to give up, I kept the car on the track and I managed to do it”, even the seven-time world champion admitted.
Toto Wolff alluded to the fact that Lewis Hamilton might not be able to race at the Canadian Grand Prix which will take place this weekend.
“Can Hamilton be absent in Canada? Yes, definitely. It’s not even a muscle issue anymore. It goes into the spine and it could have bad consequences.
“He’s in a lot of pain and we have to find a solution. At this stage he is perhaps the most affected driver of all, but from what I understand all the guys are asking for changes but I can’t tell you what to do. It’s not just Lewis’ problem. It affects George and many others.
“The solution could be to have someone in reserve at each race to make sure we can run the car,” said the Mercedes boss.
The latter could therefore be forced to make a radical decision by doing without the seven-time world champion in Montreal. But above all, Toto Wolff will have to find a driver to support George Russell and take over Lewis Hamilton’s seat while he recovers. With this in mind, eyes are on the two Mercedes drivers in Formula E, namely Stoffel Vandoorne and Nyck de Vries.
At 30 years of age, the former has the advantage of experience as he has already competed in 41 F1 races. This is a considerable advantage given the fact that he will have to acclimatise very quickly. Stoffel Vandoorne, the leader of the Formula E standings, does not risk jeopardising his title chances by travelling to Canada this weekend, as the next ePrix will take place in Marrakech on 2 July.
Nyck de Vries (27) has been part of the Mercedes team since he was very young, but he has no experience in Formula 1, although he has been a reserve driver for the German team in the past. Nyck de Vries, who is fifth in the Formula E driver rankings, has seen his chance to take a seat in a Formula One car slip through his fingers several times, and perhaps this will be the case again.
In any case, the decision on whether or not Lewis Hamilton will be in Canada appears to be settled for now with the team confirming Hamilton should be present in Canada.