Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has revealed that Lewis Hamilton is doubtful to compete in next weekend's Canadian Grand Prix due to a back injury sustained in Azerbaijan.
The seven-time world champion had an impressive drive to finish fourth in Baku, one place behind team-mate George Russell, but encountered physical struggles due to severe bouncing during the 51-lap race.
Mercedes' W13 has encountered issues with bouncing throughout the season so far and the addition of a bumpy street circuit left Hamilton describing the race as the "most painful" of his illustrious career, having complained over team radio about the pain in his back during the race.
Wolff said there is a "definitely" a risk that Hamilton will sit out of the next race in Montreal, stating: "I haven't seen him or spoken to him afterwards, but you can see this is not muscular anymore. This goes properly into the spine and can have some consequences.
"He's really bad and we just have got to find a solution at this stage. He's maybe the worst affected of all drivers, but pretty much everyone, as far as I understand from the drivers, said something needs to happen. I couldn't give you an explanation as to what that is."
A debate in the paddock has been developing as to whether Formula One's design regulations for the 2022 season need to be revised to protect the drivers, with bouncing being an issue for several drivers across the grid.
Lewis: "Well done guys. Great job with the strategy, thank you for continuing to push. Let’s definitely make some changes."— Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team (@MercedesAMGF1) June 12, 2022
Bono: "Yeah, copy Lewis. Can’t come soon enough."
Lewis: "Let’s keep pushing." pic.twitter.com/RuDq6RZp7A
There were questions as to whether the issues in Baku were caused by bottoming, where the bottom of the car makes contact with the road, or whether it was bouncing in general, but Wolff believes it is both.
"I think they are very much linked together. We are seeing tracks where we have porpoising and then we have bouncing," he said.
"Some cars are bottoming so it's not really clear – it's all interlinked with the aerodynamic performance of the floor."
McLaren's Daniel Ricciardo was among those to suffer with bouncing in Baku and, while it hasn't been a regular problem for him throughout the course of the season, he expressed his sympathy to Mercedes and stated he will support any push for changes.
The current regulations are in place until 2026 but are likely to be revised along the way, with increases to the annual budget and the potential of a driver salary cap currently being hot topics throughout the paddock.