Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff has admitted concern that Lewis Hamilton could miss next weekend’s Canadian Grand Prix due to discomfort in his back.
Hamilton, as well as team-mate George Russell, have complained of back pain throughout the weekend in Baku.
Both drivers are struggling with a car that is bouncing at high speed, with Hamilton in visible agony as he climbed out of his W13 challenger at the end of the race on Sunday.
The seven-time World Champion described the outing as his most painful race in the sport, with Wolff stating when asked if there’s a chance he could be forced to sit out the upcoming weekend in Montreal: “Yeah, definitely.
“I haven’t seen him and I haven’t spoken to him afterwards, but you can see this is not muscular anymore.
“I mean, this goes properly into the spine and can have some consequences. He’s really bad. We have just got to find a solution.
“At this stage I think he is maybe the worst affected from all drivers. But pretty much everyone, as far as I understood from the drivers, said that something needs to happen. But I couldn’t give you an explanation what that is.”
Mercedes introduced upgrades at the Spanish Grand Prix earlier this season which appeared to solve the issue of porpoising, a problem it has suffered from since the start of the year.
On Saturday, Russell suggested that Mercedes’ issues in Baku are ride height related, with the car bottoming out on the bumpy surface.
“I think they are very much linked together,” Wolff said of porpoising and the car bottoming.
“We’ve seen tracks where we have an aero porpoising and then we have a bouncing and then some cars bottoming so it’s not really clear. It’s all interlinked with the aerodynamic performance of the floor.”
Mercedes has its Formula E competitors Stoffel Vandoorne and Nyck de Vries listed as its F1 reserve drivers, and one of them could step in if Hamilton is deemed unfit to race next week.
“The solution could be to have someone on reserve, which we anyway have at every race to make sure that our car is running,” Wolff said.