George Russell worries about ‘major incident’ in near future due to ‘dangerous’ new cars

Max Verstappen makes subtle dig at Lewis Hamilton

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Mercedes driver George Russell has branded Formula One’s new wave of cars as “dangerous” and admitted that he believes there is only a matter of time before a major incident occurs. Russell, who will start fifth on the grid at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, was one of several drivers complaining about the porpoising that his car was suffering from, a feature that has plagued Russell’s team-mate Lewis Hamilton this season.

“It is definitely dangerous and it is just a matter of time before we see a major incident,” the 24-year-old said. “It is brutal. We are being shaken to pieces and I can barely see where to brake at the end of the straight because we are bouncing around so much.

“I don’t think we are the only car. Half of the grid are in the same boat, including Ferrari.

“A lot of us can barely keep the car in a straight line over the bumps and we are going round the last two corners at 200mph, with concrete walls either side of us, which is not a comfortable position to be in.

“It is unnecessary, with the technology that we have, that we are running a Formula One car millimetres from the ground. It is a recipe for disaster. I don’t know what the future holds but we cannot sustain this for three more years or however long these regulations are in place for.”

Mercedes chief Toto Wolff admitted that their car was “all over the place” during qualifying, as Hamilton finished two places behind Russell in P7. “The car is just all over the place with porpoising and bouncing, you name it”, the Austrian told Sky Sports F1. “It is never one thing… add to this we are maybe not the most efficient in terms of drag, we are losing more than a second to Ferrari in straight-line speed, all of that makes us just not competitive.”

Mercedes were told that if they were able to get their porpoising under control then they would be able to compete with Ferrari and Red Bull in Baku. During practice, Hamilton admitted that he was suffering again with the porpoising. “The hardest thing about today was the bouncing,” Hamilton said on Friday. “We’re hitting serious speeds at the end of the straight and bottoming out. We’re facing the same problems as in the last race.

“We tried something experimental on my car in the second session, it didn’t feel great but at least we tried it and we got some useful data to go through. We’ll probably revert to the original set-up tomorrow.”

Hamilton has avoided a grid penalty following an investigation into claims he drove unnecessarily during an incident with Lando Norris at the end of Q2.

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