Lewis Hamilton reveals his back is a 'mess' as freak Mercedes car bouncing issues return in Azerbaijan GP qualifying | The Sun

LEWIS HAMILTON was bashed up in Baku as his hopes of a return to form in Barcelona proved to be a false dawn.

The seven-time world champion has been hamstrung as his Mercedes team have been plagued with uncontrollable bouncing whenever their car hits top speed – but not at the Spanish circuit.

Not only is the bottoming out uncomfortable, it means Hamilton and team-mate George Russell are struggling to see their braking points.

And to make matters worse, they are now hitting the ground so much, it is slowing them down.

Hamilton, who will start the Azerbaijan GP in seventh place after being cleared of any wrongdoing following an FIA investigation, revealed he is pulling late nights in the hope of trying to help Merc iron out their problems that are causing him considerable physical pain.

He said: "Nothing we seem to do, like we have changed so many things but we just can't seem to… it is crazy because in Barcelona we didn't have any and then everywhere else we've had it.

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"It is a phenomenon we just cannot get our heads around. It is the same thing underneath the car that keeps on coming back.

"Honestly, on Friday we had so much bottoming I could not finish my long runs because my back was in a real mess.

"Thank god for [physio] Angela [Cullen], who gave me physio and acupuncture and I was still in quite a bit of pain on Saturday morning.

"Now we don't have it as bad at the end of the straight but it is the corners where you are trying to keep it out of the wall but I am hoping on heavy fuel it will be better.

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"But we are very slow on the straight and I am sure part of that is the bottoming, which slows you down, so we have a lot to do."

Hamilton, who has failed to qualify in the top four all year, says the bouncing is a safety issue while Russell fears the new car design rules are "dangerous" and will cause a "major incident".

Russell said: "The bottoming has been extreme. We got on top of the porpoising issue and we're now so close to the ground to get the maximum aero benefit and it's brutal being shaken to pieces.

"We can barely see where to brake as we're bouncing around so much. Half of the grid are in the same boat.

"It's just a matter of time before we see a major incident. A lot of us can barely keep the car in a straight line over these bumps.

"We're running an F1 car at 200mph just millimetres from the ground and it's a recipe for disaster. It feels dangerous."

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Charles Leclerc took pole with an excellent flying lap right at the death while Sergio Perez will start in second place ahead of Red Bull teammate Max Verstappen.

But the fast Baku track proved to be too much of a test for Aston Martin's Lance Stroll, who hit the barriers twice in a matter of seconds in an embarrassing display.

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