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Martin Brundle: Mercedes must unlock 'excellent' car, not wait for rule change to resolve porpoising

Lewis Hamilton suffered intense back pain during the Azerbaijan GP while George Russell believes 'wider conversations' must be had about porpoising and bouncing; despite issues, Mercedes picked up points in Baku, with Russell finishing in third and Hamilton fourth

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Martin Brundle is surprised Mercedes are struggling to unlock the potential in their car and continuing to have issues

Martin Brundle says he is surprised that Mercedes cannot seem to unlock the potential of their "excellent" car and sees little chance of rival teams voting to change the regulations in their favour.

Since the introduction of new regulations at the start of the 2022 Formula 1 season, Mercedes' new W13 has been particularly hit by porpoising and bouncing issues.

In Azerbaijan, Lewis Hamilton said the race was the most "painful" of his career and that only adrenaline helped him reach the chequered flag, while team-mate George Russell believes wider conversations must be had about addressing the issues across the sport.

"The teams that have got it sorted are clearly saying that's Mercedes' problem and it's not Formula 1's problem," Brundle told Sky Sports News.

"There's no doubt about it, it looks particularly uncomfortable.

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Take a look at Hamilton's driving experience around the Baku City Circuit and the issues he is experiencing

"Of course, [Mercedes] can fix it by raising the car but then they lose a huge amount of performance.

"So, they need to get the car low, stiff on the suspension and stiff on the side wall of the new tyres as well, and they've had to sacrifice comfort for performance.

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"What's surprising, really, is that Mercedes just can't seem to get a handle on what looks like, actually, quite an excellent car, if they could just unlock it."

Red Bull are leading both the Drivers' and Constructors' Championships and team principal Christian Horner indicated he would not be willing to vote for a regulation change.

He argued: "If it was something that was affecting everybody, then yes, [the regulations should change] on the grounds of safety, but you can see that some cars are absolutely fine, and others are struggling.

"Therefore, I think the emphasis is on the team to sort it out as opposed to changing the regulations. It's something that they're struggling with, it's not something that our drivers are complaining about.

"I think it would be unfair if there was a change just because they've missed the target."

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Watch the highlights of the Azerbaijan GP from the Baku City Circuit

It was reported this weekend that teams had voted against a proposal to reduce porpoising before the start of the season - and Brundle sees little chance of the teams changing the rules now.

"Generally, we had porpoising back in the 80s. When you have these ground effect cars, it's always been in issue. It is still in sports car racing; I was at Les Mans and in the prototypes there they have porpoising and ground effect issues in terms of bouncing. It needs managing.

"To ask the other teams to change the regulations to help Mercedes, is a bit like asking a turkey to vote for Christmas.

"I'm not underplaying what George Russell and Lewis Hamilton are going through, because it does look particularly painful.

"And, the Ferrari drivers just at the crucial breaking points that looks plain tricky to me, I don't know how they go into the corners frankly."

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Take a look at Hamilton's driving experience around the Baku City Circuit and the issues he is experiencing

After productive practice sessions and qualifying in Azerbaijan, Ferrari had a nightmare race day with both Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc having to retire due to engine failures.

Leclerc, who led the championship after five races, has now dropped to third in the standings behind both the Red Bull drivers and Brundle is signals that Ferrari's variety of reliability issues will derail their driver's title hopes.

"We're into the thick of a 22-race season, races are coming relentlessly at us. If you've got one big issue, you go and fix it, but there are various gremlins that Ferrari are having.

"Charles Leclerc must be beside himself. He could have had four glorious victories; he's sticking the car on pole position, driving beautifully and then this kind of thing [engine failure] is happening to him just way too much.

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Mattia Binotto discusses Ferrari's challenging race day in Baku and looks ahead to the rest of the season

"Reliability is costing him heavily now, a chance at becoming world champion. Strategy cost him in Monaco of a chance of a glorious victory in his hometown.

"He loves Ferrari and Ferrari love him, in a way that, the last time I saw something like that was between Michael Schumacher and the Ferrari team.

"There's an awful lot of love to burn through there but right now, Leclerc must be feeling as bruised as Lewis' back."

There is little time for teams' engineers to work or for the drivers' to recuperate, as the Formula 1 season continues this weekend with the Canadian GP.

First practice for the Canadian GP in Montreal takes place on Friday with full coverage of the weekend, live on Sky Sports F1. Coverage of the Canadian GP starts at 5.30pm BST on Sunday evening with lights out at 7pm.

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