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No excuse for F2 outshining F1 - Lewis Hamilton

Published in Formula 1
Wednesday, 06 December 2017 12:13

World champion Lewis Hamilton says there is no excuse for Formula 1 to have cars that sound worse and produce less spectacular racing than F2 single-seaters.

Hamilton, speaking at the BRDC Awards where F1 CEO Chase Carey was also in attendance, said he wants to see louder engines, bigger tyres, and a greater ability to follow the car ahead.
He urged F1's new bosses to make the championship "more raw", and questioned why F2 is often able to provide more spectacular racing.
"From a racing driver's point of view you just want to be able to race closely like you could in karts," said Hamilton.

"Kart racing is the best form of racing still, because the guys follow each other so closely.

"The cars this year are the best they've ever been. Looking at the next step, I believe Ross [Brawn] and Chase and the teams are really working hard to make sure that the next cars in 2021, they're even more raw.

"I hope they make the cars louder. You can have bigger tyres. Why did Jackie [Stewart] have big tyres back in the day and we've got smaller tyres?

"Maybe a little less downforce, maybe we can race closer.

"There's no reason why a GP2 race or F2 or whatever you want to call it should be louder and sound better, and be able to have better racing, and follow closer.

"And that's what we've somehow got to make in F1, while it's still faster than the other classes."
The four-time champion reckons Formula 1 continues to be behind other sports such as American football in terms of global awareness, but he praised its bosses for trying new things.

"Everyone has an opinion about it," said Hamilton. "It's not about what I want, it's just F1 has been a little bit behind other sports. It's such a special sport.

"And you look at the NFL, you look at soccer, you look at all these other sports which happen to have a little bit more of a global awareness - F1 has the scope to be as big as those.

"The great thing with Chase and the team from Liberty coming in is they've really brought something new into the mix this year, whilst they're learning at the same time about the sport, and what the fans want."

Lewis Hamilton crashes out of Brazil qualifying, Valtteri Bottas takes pole

Published in Formula 1
Sunday, 12 November 2017 12:58

World champion Lewis Hamilton will start last at the Brazilian Grand Prix after crashing out in Q1, with Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas taking pole position.

The Brit, who secured his fourth title in Mexico last month, lost control of his rear mid-corner on his first flying lap, sending him careering sideways into a barrier.
Hamilton said he was fine over the team radio, but remained in his cockpit in apparent disbelief as the session was red flagged.
Qualifying soon resumed with Bottas squabbling with the Ferraris for pole.

And it was the Finn who came out on top in Q3, posting a superb 1:08.322 to pip Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen, with Red Bull pair Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo finishing fourth and fifth.

Ricciardo will take a 10-place penalty for Sunday's race, promoting Force India's Sergio Perez and McLaren's Fernando Alonso into fifth and sixth respectively.
Qualifying results

1. Valtteri Bottas (Finland) Mercedes 1:08.322

2. Sebastian Vettel (Germany) Ferrari 1:08.360

3. Kimi Raikkonen (Finland) Ferrari 1:08.538

4. Max Verstappen (Netherlands) Red Bull - TAG Heuer 1:08.925

5. Daniel Ricciardo (Australia) Red Bull - TAG Heuer 1:09.330

6. Sergio Perez (Mexico) Force India - Mercedes 1:09.598

7. Fernando Alonso (Spain) McLaren 1:09.617

8. Nico Huelkenberg (Germany) Renault 1:09.703

9. Carlos Sainz Jr (Spain) Renault 1:09.805

10. Felipe Massa (Brazil) Williams-Mercedes 1:09.841

- - - - - - - - - -

11. Esteban Ocon (France) Force India - Mercedes 1:09.830

12. Romain Grosjean (France) Haas - Ferrari 1:09.879

13. Stoffel Vandoorne (Belgium) McLaren 1:10.116

14. Kevin Magnussen (Denmark) Haas - Ferrari 1:10.154

15. Brendon Hartley (New Zealand) Toro Rosso - Renault

- - - - - - - - - -

16. Pascal Wehrlein (Germany) Sauber - Ferrari 1:10.678

17. Pierre Gasly (France) Toro Rosso - Renault 1:10.686

18. Lance Stroll (Canada) Williams-Mercedes 1:10.776

19. Marcus Ericsson (Sweden) Sauber - Ferrari 1:10.875

20. Lewis Hamilton (Britain) Mercedes

Singapore Grand Prix: Hamilton victorious in chaotic night race

Published in Formula 1
Wednesday, 20 September 2017 09:04

Lewis Hamilton took advantage of first-lap chaos to take the chequered flag in the Singapore night race.

WHERE THE RACE WAS WON

Absolute carnage at the start. Kimi Raikkonen on the second row got away brilliantly on the inside, Max Verstappen in P2 kept his line - and pole-sitter Sebastian Vettel moved across, catching the Red Bull in a Ferrari pincer movement and then sending the Finn and the German flying off the track and out of the race.

Mind, Ferrari didn't see it that way - this one could result in plenty of post-race shenanigans when the stewards investigate the incident.
Poor Fernando Alonso suffered hugely too - starting brilliantly, moving up through the field, and then getting caught by the out-of-control Red Bull. Although he tried to continue, there was too much damage to his McLaren.
Such a shame for him and for the team - they clearly thought they might manage some points today.
Because of a trio of safety-car spells, the race ended up going to a time limit rather than the originally-intended 61 laps.

HAMILTON-WATCH

Five stars out of five. Well, it was clear that Lewis Hamilton needed some kind of magic to benefit from this race - and that first-lap chaos was just what he needed. He was far enough back to keep clear of the mess, and promptly snaffled the race lead, holding position under the three safety-car spells. He didn't much like his team telling him to keep the pace down in the last 20 minutes, and got them to agree to him taking the initiative on that one. That meant he kept a good three seconds ahead of Daniel Ricciardo, left behind in second place, and set a new record in his penultimate lap of the day - ultimately triumphing to go 28 points clear at the top of the championship.

PIT RADIO EXCHANGE OF THE DAY

"Shut up, please. Please." Carlos Sainz, sitting in fifth and trying to fend of Sergio Perez, was not interested in his team's musings about his battery.

Second place goes to Hamilton's constant whining about safety cars, most notably when Marcus Ericsson's Sauber was blocking half of a bridge.
True, he was concerned about preserving his lead, but when there are cars stranded on track that need to be retrieved, the welfare of the marshals is paramount.

MOVE OF THE RACE

Daniel Ricciardo drove a fairly gentle race, to be honest - but that might have proved the best idea. He had no problems fending off Valtteri Bottas, but never looked like catching Hamilton. A certain amount of sense and decorum on an afternoon of ridiculousness resulted in second place. It turned out afterwards that he was also suffering from gearbox issues, making his restrained race even more impressive.

BEST OVERTAKE

Jolyon Palmer sliding past Valtteri Bottas after the safety car was amazing. The Finn didn't look particularly comfortable on track all weekend, and to see him outdone for pace by a Renault was both strange and impressive.

TACTICAL MASTERSTROKE

Mercedes's decision to keep Hamilton out on rather than changing his tyres under the early safety car spells was a brave one. The driver himself seemed unconvinced, complaining that everyone else had switched after the end of the early wet weather - but it worked out OK for him in the end. When he crossed the line, he admitted, "Fantastic job with the strategy." That's probably the closest his team will get to an apology...

UNSUNG HERO

Carlos Sainz missed out on a podium place by the narrowest of margins, but drove incredibly well in trying conditions - the poor visibility in the opening laps plus the crashes happening around him. Fourth place is his best-ever finish - and it was met with much cheering and shouts of "Vamos!" over the radio as he passed the flag.
FACEPALM OF THE WEEKEND

Daniil Kvyat taking himself into the barriers after a lock-up and launching the second safety car spell was quite spectacular. He was under no pressure whatsoever.

STAR-SPOTTING

Singaporean actor JJ Lin was in the Mercedes garage - and Eddie Jordan did the podium interviews.

Silverstone victory reignited the 'fire' within Hamilton

Published in Formula 1
Wednesday, 06 September 2017 07:34

Lewis Hamilton says winning the British Grand Prix at Silverstone in July was the crucial factor that has reignited his determination to win this year's world championship.

"Silverstone was a real empowering weekend," the Mercedes driver said. "It kind of sparked a forest fire within me, and that’s hopefully reflecting in my driving and the way I'm working with my guys."

After Silverstone, Hamilton was only able to finish fourth in Hungary. But since Formula 1 has returned from its summer break, the Briton has scored flawless back-to-back wins at Belgium and Spa.

He's also surpassed Michael Schumacher's all-time record for pole positions, and moved into the lead of the drivers championship standings.
“These last few races have been very solid," he agreed. "I felt more heart and passion within myself, I've found more in myself in the last three or four races.

"I always drive with my heart," he continued. "My heart is the engine and the power and the force behind what I do. My mind is really like the rudder, and I feel like it's really steering me in the right direction."

"I feel good. My mind feels exactly the same as it has the last two races and now coming [to Monza]," he added. "Of course that solidifies your confidence and in the car and in the direction you’re going.

“It’s been a real constant search and battle for perfection to overhaul Ferrari.

"But there’s still a long way to go and lots can happen still, so just try to remain in the same frame of mind as I have been."
Hamilton said that the timing of the summer break had also been important.

"The whole season is kind of full flat out, pedal to the metal, all year long," he explained. "Even going into that break for a little bit I was flat out.

"[I] made sure I recharged the batteries - and that's what they are. They're fully charged and ready to go," he said. "It's like an ERS pack. Towards the end of the season you're running on the low end of the battery pack, whereas I'm operating at the top end. It's a good feeling!"

With the European leg of this year's Formula 1 season now complete, the next race on the calendar is Singapore. The street circuit has come to be seen as something of a 'bogey' circuit for Mercedes.

However, Hamilton is determined not to lose the momentum gained since Silverstone.

“I am going to apply myself the same as I have these past three or four races," he insisted. "I will do all the due diligence it’s possible to make sure that we arrive there best prepared.

"We have no idea until we get there what the picture’s going to look like. But I think we learned a lot from the past.

"I go and approach it with a real positive mind-set that we are going to be fighting for a win," he stated. "Ferrari are often better in hot places [but] I think we’ll be able to give them a good race."

Italian Grand Prix: Hamilton takes championship lead as Monza mixes things up

Published in Formula 1
Monday, 04 September 2017 09:30

Lewis Hamilton had a straightforward day on track at Monza as he took the lead in the drivers' championship from Sebastian Vettel.

WHERE THE RACE WAS WON

Essentially, this race was won in qualifying. There were so many grid penalties behind Lewis Hamilton in pole that the mixed-up, muddled pack had to shake itself out, leaving the leader to do his thing, win the race and take the lead in the championship standings. He made a few errors, ran wide a couple of times, but ultimately it didn't matter.

His Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas came in second, protecting Hamilton from the threat of Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel, the man who started the day as championship leader.
Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo just missed out on a podium place; and after looking good in qualifying, Max Verstappen's race was hampered yet again by a problem with his car - this time a puncture after a coming-together with Felipe Massa on Lap 3 - and he ended up in tenth.
HAMILTON-WATCH

Four stars out of five. Not exactly a vintage Hamilton performance, but one more than good enough to justify the point as he finds form in this second half of the season. Once he'd got away clean and could start to pull away from the pack, he was comfortable till the end.
PIT RADIO EXCHANGE OF THE WEEKEND

Daniel Ricciardo, that cheeky chappie, did his best to be threatening as he spotted some potential for overtaking.
Shout-out too to Nico Hulkenberg, who didn't know he'd left his radio on, and it was left to his team to point it out to him.
MOVE OF THE RACE

Wheel to wheel round the Parabolica? It's brave and gutsy driving. Valtteri Bottas was majestic as he moved round the outside of Kimi Raikkonen's Ferrari.
BEST OVERTAKE

Ferrari were looking for a good race day after a very disappointing qualifying session in front of their home fans, and Sebastian Vettel gave them something to cheer early on when he cleverly used the slipstream to get past Force India's Esteban Ocon and into a podium position.
TACTICAL MASTERSTROKE

Is it a tactical masterstroke to build cars that stay in one piece? If so, Mercedes and Ferrari deserve all the credit. What with grid penalties and enforced retirements, the quartet of cars had a good day today without having to try too hard.

UNSUNG HERO

Ricciardo drove very well today, finishing fourth after starting 16th, and was asked to speak a few words of Italian as a nod to his ancestral homeland. He did his best.
FACEPALM OF THE WEEKEND

Renault's Jolyon Palmer's efforts at aggressive driving did nothing but rile Fernando Alonso, the man whose McLaren he was attempting to close down.
When the yellow car moved in front, the Spaniard immediately claimed that he had gone off the track - and demanded that he get the place back.
The powers-that-be intervened, giving Palmer a five-second penalty.
Alonso - never a man known for his calm demeanour - muttered about "karma" on his radio.
STAR-SPOTTING

Not quite a celebrity spot, but the drivers' pleasure at seeing former - and future? - colleague Robert Kubica was nice to note.

Italian Grand Prix qualifying: Hamilton breaks pole record in Monza rain

Published in Formula 1
Sunday, 03 September 2017 12:05

Rain couldn't ruin the day for Lewis Hamilton as he secured his record-breaking 69th career pole position.

BEFORE QUALIFYING

Final practice and qualifying were both hugely delayed today due to the wet conditions. Romain Grosjean headed out on track in the early afternoon, and declared that he couldn't see. Then he proved it.
The drivers went back to their garages, and several decided to set up live social media streams, providing much more entertainment than one might expect of a rain-interrupted qualifying session. Lewis Hamilton set the trend by hooking up Instagram Live, then roping in his Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas for some PlayStation action.
Q1

When things got under way, in obviously slippery conditions, Grosjean couldn't join the rest of the pack, signalling the start of a very disappointing afternoon for Haas, with Kevin Magnussen falling into the drop zone as well, along with both Saubers - and Jolyon Palmer, who had an upsurge in form in Belgium following his summer break.

Bottas led the field, two-tenths of a second faster than Hamilton - but perhaps most impressive was Lance Stroll, in P5 after that dreadful qualifying for Williams last weekend.

OUT: Kevin Magnussen (Haas), Jolyon Palmer (Renault), Marcus Ericsson (Sauber), Pascal Wehrlein (Sauber), Romain Grosjean (Haas).

Q2

Max Verstappen set the mark to beat on wet tyres - and Sebastian Vettel took it over on intermediates, showing the quick-changing track conditions.

Ultimately, the Mercedes cars swapped places at the top of the leaderboard - but Stroll stayed up there in fifth. Surprised expressions crossed faces, eyebrows were raised, elbows were nudged. Could this be...a very good weekend for Williams? Finally?

OUT: Sergio Perez (Force India), Nico Hulkenberg (Renault), Fernando Alonso (McLaren), Daniil Kvyat (Toro Rosso), Carlos Sainz (Toro Rosso).
Q3

Bottas let his quick form slip after such a good day for him as the rain began to fall again, and Hamilton snatched it - becoming an all-time record holder with his 69th career pole position.
And how about those Red Bulls? Lurking in the pack all day, and then sneaking in to take second (Verstappen) and third (Daniel Ricciardo, who was in provisional pole for much of Q3). Still, because of grid penalties, neither will start from there - it'll be Lance Stroll, yes, THAT Lance Stroll, taking his place alongside Hamilton on the front row. The Williams team must have their fingers crossed that everything goes just as well tomorrow.

TOP TEN: Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes), Max Verstappen (Red Bull), Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull), Lance Stroll (Williams), Esteban Ocon (Force India), Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes), Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari), Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari), Felipe Massa (Williams), Stoffel Vandoorne (McLaren).

QUALIFYING IN SUMMARY

Bad weather always mixes things up, and this qualifying was no different. Sure, Lewis Hamilton set a new record and ended up on top of the pile, but look at that top ten - Force India and Williams both ahead of two Ferraris, and McLaren's Stoffel Vandoorne up in the mix too.

ONE TO WATCH

Esteban Ocon will be relieved to be well clear of his team-mate Sergio Perez on the grid after last weekend's disaster, and may finally prove how pacy those Force Indias are.

BIGGEST SHOCK

The tifosi will have been disappointed to see such a lukewarm display from the Ferraris in their home race - and will hope for better things from Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen tomorrow, who will get bumped up two places on the grid due to the Red Bull penalties.

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