George Russell opens up on ‘chest pains’ caused by bouncing of Mercedes car at Imola GP

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George Russell has revealed that he was suffering from chest and back pains as a result of his Mercedes car bouncing violently on the straights during the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix. The 24-year-old managed to secure an impressive fourth-placed finish after initially qualifying outside the top 10 but was again forced to cope with the porpoising issue that has plagued Mercedes all year throughout the 63-lap event at Imola.

Russell’s car was often spotted bouncing up and down towards the end of the long straights, with the issue also helping to prevent Lewis Hamilton from overtaking Pierre Gasly for 12th place during the closing stages of the contest. The former has since raised questions over the knock-on effects of porpoising by admitting that it took a serious physical toll on him over the course of the day’s running.

“When the car is in the right window and the tyres are in the right window, the car – except for the bouncing – feels really good to drive,” said Russell after the race at Imola.

“But the bouncing, it really takes your breath away, it’s the most extreme I’ve ever felt it. I really hope we find a solution and I hope every team struggling with the bouncing finds a solution, because it’s not sustainable for the drivers to continue.

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“This is the first weekend I’ve truly been struggling with my back, and almost like chest pains from the severity of the bouncing. It’s just what we have to do to go and do the fastest laps.”

Russell has enjoyed a relatively strong start to the new F1 season and is the only driver on the grid to have finished in the top five at every Grand Prix this year. His impressive performances have only served to paper over the cracks at Mercedes, though, with the Silver Arrows still adrift of their Constructors’ Championship rivals in terms of outright performance at this stage of the campaign.

The porpoising issue appears to be hurting Mercedes to a greater degree than the other teams in the paddock and will need to be resolved quickly for the German outfit to stand any chance of fighting back over the next few months. Team principal Toto Wolff has already insisted that Mercedes are not quick enough to challenge for the end-of-season honours, which look set to be won by either Red Bull or Ferrari this time around.

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“We got squeezed by the other contenders and no overtaking in DRS train,” Wolff told Sky Sports F1 when asked to sum up his team’s performance at Imola.

“We saw with George what you can do in clean air. We are not good enough for a world championship and need to fix the car.

“We are going to look at things for Miami, we can make a step in the understanding of the car. It’s another day, we just need to understand more and bring development to the car and fix the bouncing.”

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