Mercedes’ engineer James Vowles has explained why Lewis Hamilton reported that his seat had “gone cold” during the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.
The 37-year-old left his team concerned mid-way through the Grand Prix when he asked why he felt the carbon fibre around him suffer a sudden drop in temperature.
The team checked the car but were unable to find an answer for his confusion, a confusion that remained unsolved until the team had returned to their Brackley base on Tuesday.
However, it was not a problem with the car, Vowles says, with Hamilton instead experiencing a cold sensation on his lower back due to the bouncing he was enduring.
“It’s a good question. I didn’t have an answer until I spent a few minutes with Lewis earlier to actually ask him,” Vowles said, when asked about Hamilton’s strange radio message.
“What happened is: nothing really had changed in the car, it just looks like after the amount of pummelling his back had taken from the bouncing, he fundamentally had a numbness that set in and it looks like the cold was a response to that.
“There wasn’t anything colder in the car, it was just a response to the amount of endurance and pain he had been through in the race.”
Hamilton will race in Canada, despite back agony
Hamilton has already confirmed that he will race in Montreal, despite struggling to get out of his car with any urgency following the race at the Baku City Circuit.
The team trialled an experimental part on his W13 in Azerbaijan, which has been blamed for the intense bouncing. The team say they will not push the seven-time World Champion so hard in Canada.
“I am pleased to report that Lewis is here this morning, I spent a few hours with him and he is okay, he will be back in the car in Montreal,” he continued.
“He is an elite athlete that will push the bounds of endurance of himself and the car and that’s what Formula 1 drivers do, that’s what makes them exceptional.
“On this occasion, though we pushed the package and our drivers too far, we are putting them into significant discomfort and we simply can’t do that again.
“Our drivers are not the only ones suffering,” he added. “You will see in the media a number of comments from a number of drivers who are equally in discomfort and pain. And we have a responsibility now to make sure that this doesn’t carry on.”