Lewis Hamilton has been dubbed a “pantomime lady” by former Formula One race winner John Watson, who says the seven-time world champion should “spend more time in the gym” to deal with the porpoise in his Mercedes.
Watson’s bizarre comments come after the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, which Hamilton described as the most physically demanding of his life, after the intense ups and downs in the Mercedes W13 caused him so bad a back that he struggled to get out of the car by the end of the race .
Mercedes have won every constructors’ championship since 2014 but have fallen behind on the grid this season after failing to transition into the new era of Formula 1 technical regulations. Each team had to completely overhaul their car design for 2022, with F1 changing its rules to allow cars to follow each other more easily and drivers to race against each other harder.
A return to ground effect aerodynamics for the first time since the 1980s has brought about a quirk known as porpoising, in which cars at high speed on the straights suffer intense impact as air pushes back and forth beneath the car. Mercedes are struggling with porpoises more than most other teams, meaning Hamilton and teammate George Russell are fighting for midfield points rather than race wins.
A few other teams have been able to mitigate the extent of the porpoise in their machines, but the sight of riders’ heads bouncing wildly as intense loads are sent up their spines is common.
Watson, who has driven for teams including McLaren and Lotus and won five races, has oddly claimed that Hamilton’s account of the pain he suffered during the race is evidence he is not fit enough.
“Lewis has to be careful not to act like a pantomime lady,” the 76-year-old told the Daily Mail. “It’s a very difficult car to drive, but at 37 your bones aren’t very forgiving of an uncomfortable drive.
“It’s a whole new world for Lewis. He’s had about seven years where Mercedes has been dominant and it’s maybe like a seven-year itch. George looked pretty fresh afterwards and finished third ahead of Lewis’ fourth. Lewis may need to recalibrate and spend less time in the air and more in the gym.
Drivers like Daniel Ricciardo, Pierre Gasly and Carlos Sainz have all spoken of their desire to see porpoises regulated by motorsport’s governing body, the FIA, in the future, with Hamilton far from alone suffering the severe physical effects of the phenomenon.
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https://metro.co.uk/2022/06/15/lewis-hamilton-slammed-as-pantomime-dame-by-former-f1-driver-over-azerbaijan-back-injury-16830451/ Lewis Hamilton has been dubbed a 'mime lady' by the former F1 driver over a back injury in Azerbaijan