Ricciardo backs injured F1 champ Hamilton

Staff WritersPress Association
Lewis Hamilton hopes to overcome a back injury to participate in the Canadian F1 GP.
Camera IconLewis Hamilton hopes to overcome a back injury to participate in the Canadian F1 GP. Credit: AP

Australia's Daniel Ricciardo insists Lewis Hamilton was not exaggerating his back injury after the Azerbaijan Grand Prix and believes Formula One drivers do not deserve to go through "unnecessary" pain.

Hamilton's participation at this weekend's round in Canada was thrown into doubt after he required assistance to get out of his Mercedes cockpit following last Sunday's race on the streets of Baku.

The 37-year old is expected to be fit to participate, but it is likely he will have to race through the pain barrier again in his bouncy Mercedes machine.

"There was talk about Lewis after the race. I saw some of his on-boards, I saw pictures of him getting out of the car and stretching his back, and he wasn't exaggerating. It really was uncomfortable," McLaren driver Ricciardo said.

"The position we sit in the car, we don't have much room to move so we are not prepared for the impacts.

"If that is up to a rule change, or the way the teams are setting up the cars, I am not 100 per cent sure. But I wouldn't like anyone to go through any unnecessary injury or pain."

Hamilton has finished behind teammate George Russell at every round since the first race and trails him by 37 points in the standings. The seven-time world champion has also been cast 88 points adrift of Max Verstappen.

But Ricciardo added: "I definitely think Lewis is as capable as ever.

"We all knew George was quick, and it was just how quick is he? How good is he? And he is proving he is very good.

"But I also wouldn't count Lewis out for having the ability to win this weekend for example. I don't think he has lost anything, no, not at all."

For Ricciardo, the eight-time race winner is under pressure to deliver with McLaren following an underwhelming one-and-a-half seasons with the British team.

McLaren CEO Zak Brown recently said that Ricciardo has not met his expectations, casting doubt over the former Red Bull driver's deal which runs until the end of 2023.

"I know the team cares about me and therefore there is an expectation as to where I can perform and where my ability lies, so with Zak's comment, I am well aware of how I am doing and I take it as a roundabout way of a compliment because he also believes I can be doing better," Ricciardo said.

"I am my biggest critic and I don't take that stuff to heart. A bit of pressure is good. It is not something I take personally or negatively."

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