In an extraordinary interview prior to the Azerbaijan GP, Toto Wolff suggested his premier driver Lewis Hamilton was unlikely to be able to complete the race. The reason being he was not physically capable of driving the car for 55 laps with the extreme bouncing of the W13 car on the uneven tarmac in Baku.
Hamilton did complete the race and starting P7 achieved a credible P4 at the chequered flag. However, during the race several messages form Hamilton made it clear he was suffering the most incredible back discomfort.
When the cars rolled into Parc firm following the chequered flag, Lewis was seen too weak to extricate himself from the car for quite some time. When he finally climbed out of the cockpit, he hobbled extremely slowly towards the FIA mandatory post race driver weight check.
Toto Wolff immediately raised the possibility the Hamilton may not be fit enough to drive 5 days later at the Canadian GP. The Mercedes boss confirmed the team had reserve drivers on standby to fill Lewis seat if he failed to recover from the “brutal” Baku race.
Yet certain F1 commentators were skeptical over Hamilton’s efforts to portray to the media his poor health and back pain.
Speaking to Sky f1’s Any Driven Monday, Danika Patrick observed, “For Lewis, the question is did he feel that bad? Is that the reality of what the car did to him or is he making it seem worse than it really is for the purpose of getting a rules change?”
Today Hamilton has quickly responded to the suggestion he will not be racing in Canada. He posted an assurance for all his fans on Instagram saying, “My back is a little sore and bruised, both nothing serious thankfully.”
“I’ll be there this weekend [in Canada] I wouldn’t miss it for the world.”
John Watson weighed in on the Hamilton apparent frailty. “Lewis needs to be careful not to act like a Pantomime Dame,” clearly believing the Hamilton slow and deliberate extraction from his car was contrived.
“George looked pretty fresh afterwards,” added Watson.
‘It is a very difficult car to drive, but at 37 [years of age] the bones are not as forgiving of an uncomfortable ride.”
Watson believes the situation Lewis now find himself in himself in is a “whole new world. Lewis has had 7 years when Mercedes has been dominant”.
Further he suggests for Hamilton to beat his young gun team mate, “Lewis may need to re-calibrate and spend less time in the air and more time in the gym.”
Maybe these new more physical F1 cars are proving too difficult for Hamilton. He is 88 points behind Verstappen the championship leader and more importantly 37 points behind his young spritely British team mate.
Maybe Lewis is being forced to play the Mercedes political game to get the FIA to change car design regulations, which unfortunately is reflecting on his ‘perceived’ fitness badly.
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As was the case in Monaco, Perez was quick all weekend in finished ahead of team mate Max Verstappen in each of the….. READ MORE ON THIS STORY