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Lewis Hamilton says the cramp he reported in the closing stages of the Portuguese Grand Prix was painful enough to affect his driving.

The Mercedes driver revealed he had “a cramp in my right calf” over the final laps of the race. “I was lifting quite often down the straight because it was pretty painful,” he added, “but I had to somehow get through it because it is what it is, you can’t lift for the whole lap.”

Hamilton isn’t sure what caused the cramp. “I generally didn’t drink a lot today and I remember getting into the car thinking I’m probably going to be dehydrated. I never drink in the race, never. And anyways, I started having small cramp.”

The Autodromo do Algarve offered few opportunities for Hamilton to ease the strain on his leg. “It’s a very physical circuit,” he said, “there’s lots of bumps, undulations, you’re applying the throttle pretty aggressively for pretty much every lap all the way and you never really get to rest.

“I was coming out of the last corner, coming around turn 15 onto the straight and I got the feeling that it was about to pull, like you’re pulling a muscle, and it popped and it hurt so much.

“I had to lift and I didn’t really know what to do, because every time I applied it the pain was there. But of course I can’t stay off the gas, I’ve got to keep going, so it’s just mind over matter, so I just had to keep pushing.”

The pain eventually subsided. “It was pretty excruciating for a couple of laps, but then it started to kind of…. I don’t know whether blood starts rushing to it and the adrenalin takes over but I’ve definitely got a bit of a knot in my knee, my calf.”

Hamilton said he would have the cramp looked at after the race by his trainer Angela Cullen, who has treated other drivers on the grid including Max Verstappen. “Angela is a real physio,” he said. “A lot of trainers here claim they are real physios but they are not – most of them aren’t physios.”

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2020 Portuguese Grand Prix

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