Former Formula 1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone reckons that Sir Lewis Hamilton has been laying his back pain on thick this season amid Mercedes “porpoising” and bouncing issues.
Hamilton struggled to get out of his car at the end of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix amid warnings from several drivers that the aggressive contact between the floor of the car and the track surface would eventually cause some long-term health issues.
The FIA subsequently introduced a technical directive designed to force the teams to limit their oscillation and, as such, Red Bull and Ferrari’s advantage over the Silver Arrows could be cancelled out should they too be forced to raise the ride height of their cars.
This caused a lot of controversy within the paddock, and Ecclestone suggested that the seven-time champion was not being entirely honest in expressing his discomfort, adding that George Russell’s height should theoretically make the bouncing more of an issue for him.
“All b*******,” he told the Daily Mail.
“George is taller and if it was going to happen to anyone it would have happened to him.
“There was a bit of Nigel Mansell about it. At least with Nigel, he would get out of the car and rub his left leg as if he had broken it. Next moment, it would be his right leg.”
The 91-year-old also accused Hamilton of taking losing to Russell, who has out-raced him seven times in nine races, “too easy,” warning that team boss Toto Wolff will be considering replacing him.
The latest of Ecclestone’s perplexing hot takes pertained to Russian Vladimir Putin, whom he praised for starting Russia’s war with Ukraine.
“I’d still take a bullet for him,” he told Good Morning Britain.
“I’d rather it didn’t hurt but even if it does, I’d still take a bullet because he’s a first-class person and what he’s doing is something he believed was the right thing he was doing for Russia.
“Unfortunately, he’s like a lot of businesspeople – certainly like me – in that we make mistakes from time to time.
“And when you’ve made a mistake, you have to do the best you can to get out of it, and I think if it had been conducted properly…” he tailed off before suggesting that Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelenskyy should have done more to avoid the war.
Hamilton has hit back at the criticism he has received from the likes of Ecclestone and Sir Jackie Stewart and Nelson Piquet, as well as racist abuse from Nelson Piquet, affirming that society needs to do away with “older voices” and outdated views.
“I don’t know why we are continuing to give these older voices a platform,” he said, quoted by Sky Sports.
“They’re speaking upon our sport and we’re looking to go somewhere completely different.
“If we’re looking to grow in the US, other countries, South Africa, we need to look to the future and give the younger people a platform, who are more representative of today’s time.
“It’s not just about one individual, it’s not about the one use of that term, it’s the bigger picture.”