Ranked fourth at the Formula 1 Azerbaijan Grand Prix, 71 seconds behind winner Max Verstappen, Lewis Hamilton admitted to having contested the most grueling race of his career today.
• To read also: [PHOTOS] Azerbaijan Grand Prix: a double for Red Bull in Baku
• Read also: Formula 1 calendar
The seven-time world champion, clearly behind this year, took a long time to get out of his Mercedes after a course where, he says, he suffered a lot physically.
"It's the most difficult race of my life," he said on the French network Canal. I had never felt such pain in a race car. »
So much so that specialized sites have reported comments made by his boss and according to which the participation of the British driver in the Grand Prix of Canada, at the end of the week, would be compromised.
The famous “porpoising”
The German team has still not solved the problems of extreme rebounds of its single-seater, commonly referred to as "porpoising", a phenomenon which was particularly difficult to bear today, in the streets of Baku.
“Lewis is in bad shape, indicated Toto Wolff, and it will be necessary to determine over the next few days if he will be able to ride in Canada. »
After two years of absence, Montreal will host the F1 circus this weekend. The first two free practice sessions will take place on Friday afternoon at the Gilles-Villeneuve circuit.
"It's not a muscle thing anymore," Wolff said. Rather, it could have unfortunate consequences for his spine. His back is messed up. »
But hey, it would be premature today to suggest that Hamilton will not be able to defend his victory acquired in Montreal during the last visit of F1, in 2019.
Russell too, but...
Hamilton is not alone in lamenting the situation in Baku. His teammate George Russell also said that today's event was particularly hard on the body.
However, the young Briton took the podium for the third time in the 2022 season today, while Hamilton was limited to just one in the inaugural race in Bahrain.
In the overall standings, after the first eight stops of the season, Russell is fourth with amassing 99 points, 37 more than his partner at Mercedes.
Vettel saves the furniture
The Aston Martin team can say thank you to its driver Sebastian Vettel, who reached the finish in sixth place, even if the German made a short expedition into a loophole by braking too late to overtake the French Esteban Ocon (Alpine) .
"It's a very good result for our team," said the four-time world champion on Sky Sports. We manage to exploit the limits of the car and it starts to bear fruit. »
For his part, his teammate Lance Stroll had another weekend of misery. After two outings in qualifying the day before, which relegated him to 19th place on the starting grid, he was forced to retire due to vibrations.
As he rode out of the top 10, his engineer asked him to wisely return to the refueling pit five laps from the end of the curtain.
Stroll has just two points in eight races this year and has been shut out in all three recent Grands Prix.
Two penalties for Latifi
As for the other Canadian driver in F1, Nicholas Latifi, his name appears in the last row (15th) of the drivers who finished the race.
His two penalties certainly did not improve his fate. The first, for which he is not responsible, was imposed on him because his mechanics did not respect the ban on no longer working on the car 15 seconds before the start procedure. He had to return to the pit and stop for ten seconds at the start of the event.
As for the second, the marshals sanctioned him (five seconds) for having failed, on several occasions, to let pass drivers who took a turn during the race.