Double F1 champion emphasises one key strength Mercedes have over Ferrari and Red Bull

The FIA responded to concerns over "porpoising" and bouncing with a technical directive at the Canadian Grand Prix.

Double world champion Mika Hakkinen has sided with Mercedes on the “porpoising” and bouncing debate, asserting that safety is paramount.

Mercedes’ George Russell and Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz have called for action to be taken on the phenomenon brought out by the new technical regulations this year before someone gets hurt.

Russell’s team-mate, Sir Lewis Hamilton, struggled to climb out of his car after the Azerbaijan Grand Prix after his back took a pounding on the track surface in Baku, so the FIA introduced a new technical directive to help counteract it.

READ: Hamilton critic gives verdict on his Canada GP performance

They have introduced a metric for oscillating movement on the cars in order to set a limit for it, and any car that goes over that limit will have to raise their ride height by a minimum of 10 millimetres.

Depending on where the limit is set, every team may eventually be forced to raise their ride height, and both Ferrari and Red Bull feel that this is unfair to the teams that have mastered the new ground effect aerodynamics.

Russell insisted before the Canadian Grand Prix that Mercedes did not ask for any new provisions on performance grounds, affirming that safety comes first and that the new directive will be “good for everyone.”

Hakkinen, who suffered a life-threatening crash in Adelaide in 1995, agrees that the safety is more important than performance.

“It is good to see the FIA listening to concerns about driver safety,” he wrote in his Unibet column.

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“As usual, the best way to get to sort it out is to measure what’s happening and then make some decisions based on what the data shows. 

“Of course, some teams want to see changes, especially if the ‘porpoising’ is making their cars uncompetitive, but once the FIA, teams and drivers can get an accurate picture of what’s really happening, the right steps can be taken.”

Switching the attention to performance, the Silver Arrows have been losing around a second a lap on the straights to Ferrari and Red Bull due to “porpoising” and bottoming, but they have been there to take advantage of slip-ups from the leading two teams and claim five podiums this year.

Russell and Hamilton have both finished every race, with the 24-year-old ending in the top five in all nine rounds so far.

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez have now suffered four reliability related failures between them, while Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz have endured three.

READ: Ferrari boss questions legality of FIA rule change after Hamilton’s porpoising concerns

This, ultimately, is the strength that the eight-time constructors’ champions hold over their rivals.

“Mercedes has the one thing both Red Bull and Ferrari lack: reliability,” added Hakkinen.

“They are also quick enough to be consistently the third fastest car on the track and able to pick up good points whenever Red Bull or Ferrari have any issues. 

“This looked like a step forward in terms of race set-up. The team have been trying new things on the car, sometimes making it very difficult for both drivers, but Sunday looked positive.”

Hamilton claimed his second podium finish of the year in P3 in Canada as Verstappen beat Sainz to the win ahead of him.

Russell and Leclerc came in behind the seven-time champion, with the Monegasque recovering from engine penalties and a subsequent 19th-placed start.