Mercedes admit Lewis Hamilton and George Russell were in danger

Lewis Hamilton suffered from severe spinal pain at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, as a result of excessive porpoising.

Mercedes’ head of trackside engineering Andrew Shovlin has sensationally revealed that the team “knew” that the car George Russell and Lewis Hamilton were driving in 2022 was at times “bordering on dangerous”, as the Germans suffered from horrific porpoising at the start of the season.

The Brackley-based team’s car wasn’t safe on three occasions, according to Shovlin, with the main one being the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

At the Baku City Circuit, it appeared that the W13 was driving along a trampoline, let alone a street circuit.

The car bounced ferociously down the incredibly long straights that make the circuit so iconic, with Hamilton having complained of spinal pain as a result.

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Hamilton’s back pain was so bad, in fact, that he required assistance to climb out of his car post-race, with the seven-time World Champion having been in visible pain.

Thankfully, the porpoising issues are behind the side, with Shovlin hoping that the outfit are “through the worst of that challenge”.

“There were some difficult points where we knew that the car that we gave them in Baku, in Montreal, in Imola and all those races – it was bordering on dangerous,” Shovlin told

“And that certainly focuses your attention to make sure that we dig ourselves out of that position and start giving them something that they can race in again. But the whole team has been through a lot with Lewis, and it’s great that we have such an experienced driver when we’ve had such a challenging year.

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“Hopefully, we’re now through the worst of that challenge and we can get on with the next challenge, which is hopefully fighting our way back to the front and fighting for championships.”

Mercedes will be hoping to bounce back to the top in 2023, after slipping to third in the Constructors’ Championship last season.

Many are expecting an instant response from the Silver Arrows; however, team principal Toto Wolff has warned his team to “be realistic about our expectations”.

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”There is no doubt that when you start half a second late it is difficult to catch teams as strong as Red Bull or Ferrari,” said Wolff.

“For the new year, we have to be realistic about our expectations, if our performance is at the level we hope they will be we could be part of the fight at the top.

“I think that would be a good starting point, but let’s not take it for granted, because it can also happen that we have a gap like we had at the end of last season.”