Former F1 driver Ralf Schumacher believes that seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton's posture while driving could be a potential reason why the Briton seems to be struggling with severe back pain as a result of the porpoising problems Mercedes are suffering from.
In his column for Sky Germany, Schumacher wrote:
“As for bouncing, you can have those issues, but [George] Russell was in the same car and George looked fresh to me after the race, Lewis [Hamilton] should first see [Russell] is faster than [him]. I’m sorry for Lewis that he has a backache but other teams are tackling the problem as well. I don’t know if Lewis sits more upright in the car and therefore feels the blows to his back more. If he were sitting more upright, the load on his lumbar spine would be much higher and would explain his pain. The other problem with bouncing is the constant hitting makes the car hop and you can hardly see anything.”
The former Toyota F1 driver-turned-pundit went on to say:
“George Russell was new to the team at the start of the season and is usually ahead of the runner-up world champion and is also stronger in qualifying. The ‘greatest driver of all time’, as Toto Wolff always calls [him], is ironed out by a newcomer in a way that is already worrying. I’m amazed because there are only two options: either Russell is the new highflyer, or Hamilton had such a strong car in recent years that has made up for a lot. You could solve the problem if you used a flat underbody for all cars. But that would mean lap times would be at least two seconds longer or even slower. The whole thing would involve a complete change of concept and cannot be fixed overnight.”
Lewis Hamilton, who has been outperformed by his teammate George Russell in seven out of the last eight races this season, certainly seems to be having a tougher time than his compatriot.
Lewis Hamilton claims Mercedes is losing "at least a second with bouncing"
While Lewis Hamilton secured his best result of the season since the Bahrain Grand Prix last weekend in Azerbaijan in P4, he claims that the bouncing is costing the team "at least a second" of lap time.
In a post-race media interaction, the Briton reflected on the challenging race, admitting that the end result was a very positive one for the team. He said:
“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.”
Lewis Hamilton currently stands sixth in the drivers' standings with 62 points to his name.