CAROL’S CORNER: Lewis Hamilton fights through pain in Baku!

© LAT Images for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd

By Carol M. Creasey

After the struggles of Monaco, Mercedes knew that it wasn’t going to be an easy drive in Baku, yet another street circuit.

During practice they tried several different setups, but the car continued to bounce. Both Lewis Hamilton and George Russell complained about it, not only was it difficult to keep the car on track round the corners, but the physical pain to their back and neck made it a harrowing drive.

Lewis said how grateful he was to have Angela Cullen, his physiotherapist, to help him with the after effects, as he was running a different setup than George, and his car was bouncing more than anyone’s. His head could be clearly seen wobbling about when he was driving.

After a tight battle in qualifying, Charles Leclerc took pole, Perez was second, Verstappen third and Sainz fourth. Russell was fifth and Hamilton was seventh.

When the race started, Perez overtook Leclerc to lead, but it wasn’t long before Sainz had a DNF, and Verstappen overtook Leclerc. Then it was Leclerc’s turn to DNF, and with both Ferrari cars out of the race, Russell moved up to third place. When Lewis pitted he rejoined in 11th place, and even though he was in a lot of pain, he gritted his teeth, and set to work to climb up the grid.

He did several fine overtakes on Ocon, Ricciardo, and then Gasly. He ignored his pain, all he could think about was doing his best for the fans and his team, so it was not surprising that he was voted Driver of the Day.

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Verstappen passed Perez, in what may have been team orders, as Perez was told “no fighting” by Red Bull. They finished first and second, Russell was third, and Sir Lewis fought his way up to fourth. It was clear that Lewis was in a lot of pain and had great difficulty when getting out of the car, but he still had a smile on his face, and thanked his team for a great strategy.

It was very distressing to see Lewis in such pain, his fortitude is amazing, and I am sending him my very best wishes for the coming week. There seemed to be doubt as to whether he will be able to race in Canada next week, as it is another bumpy circuit, but it has since been confirmed that he will indeed compete. Nonetheless, Mercedes need to sort this problem.

Whilst the FIA are embroiled in a ridiculous war about drivers wearing jewellery, they should be looking at the bigger picture. This porpoising and bouncing is far more imminent danger, not only for the health of the drivers, but also for the danger and risk of crashing when the car is not fully under control. It’s hard to believe the drivers will have to put up with this design for four years. Come on,  those in charge, the safety of the drivers is paramount, get your act together!

Be sure to follow Carol on Twitter @eagertogo and visit her website!

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