The seven-time world champion confessed to lifting and coasting at times to avoid contact with the walls at the Baku City Circuit. This was alongside his well-documented struggle with porpoising, which has been one of the main talking points in the F1 world since.
Speaking in an interview with motorsport.com in the aftermath of the race, Lewis Hamilton said:
“There were a lot of moments when I didn’t know if I would make it. Just whether I was going to keep the car on track because I don’t know if you saw it, I nearly lost it in the high-speed several times. So the battle with the car was intense. And then at the end, the last 10 laps to the flag, I was just having to go internal, like ‘you can do this, you’ve got this, just bear with it’. The thing was bouncing so much sometimes. There were so many times I was nearly going into the wall. So that was a concern – safety-wise at 180mph, smashing into the wall… I don’t think I’ve really ever had to think about that too much as a racing driver. You don’t really ever think about keeping it out of the wall at that high speed. A very, very, very strange experience.”
Despite his difficulties, Hamilton was able to cross the line in P4, behind teammate George Russell, who took his third podium of the season.
"Once we fix this bouncing, we’re going to be right there in a race" - Lewis Hamilton feels Mercedes can unlock more performance
Lewis Hamilton feels Mercedes can challenge for wins in races once they fix the bouncing issue being caused by porpoising.
Mercedes engineers have not been able to extract the level of performance their simulations during development had suggested. To try and keep up with the likes of Red Bull and Ferrari at the top, the Silver Arrows have had to sacrifice comfort in the short-term while scrambling for a long-term fix to their problems.
Speaking to Sky Sports F1 after a grueling ordeal at the 2022 F1 Azerbaijan GP, Lewis Hamilton chose to look beyond his immediate discomfort, saying:
“That’s the only thing. Biting down on my teeth through pain and just adrenaline. I can’t express the pain that you experience, particularly on the straight here. At the end, you’re just praying for it to end. We’re in such a good position still, we got third and fourth which is a great result for the team. The team did a great job with the strategy, once we fix this bouncing, we’re going to be right there in a race but we’re losing over a second just with bouncing, for sure. Or at least a second with bouncing…I’ll be at the factory tomorrow; we’ve got to have some good discussions and keep pushing.”
Despite earlier concerns expressed by Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff, Hamilton is on schedule to race at this weekend's Canadian GP in Montreal.
The Briton is currently in P6 in the World Drivers' Championship standings with 62 points from eight rounds of racing.