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Hamilton unsure why older drivers have "bee in their bonnet" on F1 success - Autosport
Lewis Hamilton is unsure why older drivers have a "bee in their bonnet" over his success and standing among Formula 1's greats
Lewis Hamilton is unsure why older drivers have a "bee in their bonnet" over his success and standing among Formula 1's greats. Hamilton scored the 91st victory of his F1 career in Sunday's Eifel Grand Prix at the Nurburgring, drawing him level with Michael Schumacher's win record. Hamilton now leads the F1 drivers' championship by 69 points, putting him on course to clinch a seventh world title that would also tie with Schumacher's record. The result came just days after three-time world champion Sir Jackie Stewart said that it was "hard to justify" how Hamilton stacked up against some of F1's other greats. Stewart said comparing Hamilton to drivers such as Juan Manuel Fangio and Jim Clark was difficult due to the longer calendar and tendency for teams to be more dominant in the modern era. Hamilton said following his win in Germany that it was "impossible" to compare drivers across eras and that it was "not important" to be deemed as the greatest. But the six-time world champion expressed his confusion about comments made about him by some of F1's past drivers. "I don't think you should knock anybody for the way they do things," Hamilton said. "I get knocked by many people, particularly like older drivers. They still have a bee in their bonnet. I don't know why. Maybe one day, they'll get over it. "I have so much respect for the past and the past legends, even those that do continue to talk negatively about me all the time. I still hold them in high regard, because I know it was so difficult, a different time in history. "It was incredibly tough for them, and they remain the legends that they were then. In 20 years' time, whatever it is, when I'm looking back, I can promise you this, I will not be talking down any young driver that is coming through and succeeding. "Our responsibility as an older driver is to shine a light as bright as possible." Hamilton will surpass Schumacher's landmark with his next victory and take the record outright, and looks set to become the first driver in F1 history to win more than 100 races. The debate about whether the win record will ever be broken again has intensified in the wake of Hamilton's achievement, but the Mercedes driver felt it was wrong not to encourage drivers to aim for it. "There's going to be someone else, whether it's Max [Verstappen] or whoever it may be, that is going to be chasing the record that I eventually set," Hamilton said. "It's the wrong kind of characteristic and approach to hope that he doesn't break it. I should be encouraging him and hoping that they live to their full potential. "If that means them getting to that record, that's amazing."
Hamilton: Work needed to avoid "disturbances" after Mercedes F1 member has COVID-19 - Autosport
Lewis Hamilton says adjustments Mercedes must make after a Formula 1 team member tested positive for COVID-19 will take a lot of work if it is to avoid any "disturbances"
Lewis Hamilton says adjustments Mercedes must make after a Formula 1 team member tested positive for COVID-19 will take a lot of work if it is to avoid any "disturbances". The German manufacturer's preparations for the Eifel Grand Prix suffered a setback on Thursday when an unidentified team member was confirmed as having been infected with coronavirus. As part of the FIA's protocols, that team member has now been isolated. Their identity has not been revealed, and no details have been released about whether any further Mercedes team members have had to be put into quarantine after coming into contact with the individual. However, losing any individual from a race team at such short notice will inevitably require job responsibilities to shift - which can have knock-on consequences. Hamilton, who is chasing a record-equalling 91st F1 victory this weekend, said the development was a "concern", and highlighted that it would have an impact on the way Mercedes worked this weekend. "Naturally, it's sad to hear that, for the guys that work so hard," he said. "We've had this week in-between, and those guys work so hard to stay safe and to be here on the weekends, so it's definitely a concern. "I can't say what it's going to do to the weekend. "We have a lot of great people within our team, it's not just about one person. "We'll try and make him proud this weekend, and it's just going to take a different type of work, a lot of work, to make sure that we continue on without any disturbances." The Mercedes individual is the first F1 team member to have been tested positive at an event since Sergio Perez at the British Grand Prix. Perez was forced to miss two F1 races as a result, and the latest incident has highlighted just how careful everyone needs to be. Valtteri Bottas said that, despite a Mercedes team member catching the virus, he had faith his team was managing the situation as well as it could. "I think for sure, as a driver, the last thing you want is to get it," he said. "It would definitely mean at least missing one race, maybe more. "We had one example of that already, so we are being as cautious as we can, following the protocols, trying to be sensible, and stay in the bubble. "Of course sometimes it can be a matter of luck. "It's pretty contagious - we're all trying to do the best we can not to get it. "Of course it's unfortunate that one team member got it, but I fully trust how the team is handling everything, following all the protocols and doing everything we can to make sure that it stops there in that one case - I have all the trust in that."
Hamilton: FIA changing F1 rules to "keep the racing exciting" - Autosport
Lewis Hamilton feels the FIA changes rules to "keep the racing exciting" after receiving a 10-second penalty that cost him a shot at Russian Grand Prix victory
Lewis Hamilton feels the FIA changes rules to "keep the racing exciting" after receiving a 10-second penalty that cost him a shot at Russian Grand Prix victory. Hamilton was deemed to have completed two practice starts en route to the grid in the wrong place, going against Formula 1 race director Michael Masi's pre-race instructions. It resulted in a five-second time penalty for each violation, forcing Hamilton to wait for 10 seconds when pitting, dropping him out of the lead. He eventually finished the race third as team-mate Valtteri Bottas scored his second win of the season. Hamilton said in the aftermath of the race that the stewards were "trying to stop me", calling the penalty "ridiculous". He was also initially handed two penalty points on his FIA superlicence, only for the sanction to later be rescinded. Asked if he felt targeted by the rulings, Hamilton explained that it was not him specifically, but whoever was dominating F1 that was susceptible to rulings to try and rein them in. "I don't necessarily think that it's for me," Hamilton said. "I think probably most teams, whenever a team is at the front, obviously they are doing a lot of scrutiny. "Everything we have on our car is being checked, and double-checked and triple-checked. "They are changing rules, such as the engine regs, lots and lots of things to get in the way to keep the racing exciting, I assume. "I don't know if the rules, in terms of what happened today, was anything to do with it but naturally that's how it feels. "It feels like we're fighting uphill, but it's OK. It's not like I haven't faced adversity before. "So we just keep our heads down and keep fighting and keep trying to do a better job and be cleaner and squeaky clean, as I said before." Mercedes is on-course to win a seventh consecutive constructors' championship in 2020, but has faced a number of regulation changes across the course of its streak. After capitalising on the new V6 hybrid engine regulations in 2014, the team had to contend with a significant aerodynamic rule overhaul for 2017 that saw Ferrari cut the gap. A more minor aero rule change followed in 2019, again seemingly designed to cut Mercedes' advantage, while further shake-ups such as reverse grid sprint races in place of qualifying have also been mooted in recent times. Hamilton's two penalty points were ultimately replaced by a 25,000 fine handed to Mercedes after the stewards agreed the driver had only acted on an instruction from the team.
Why even the Mercedes aces are struggling to stay on the road in Sochi - F1 - autosport.com
There were two key takeaways from the opening practice sessions for Formula 1's 2020 Russian Grand Prix - and one of them concerned the unusual sight of Mercedes drivers repeatedly off the road. Here's why even the leaders were sliding off in Sochi
Two things really stood out from opening practice sessions at the 2020 Russian Grand Prix. One, which absolutely was not a shock, is that Mercedes appears to have its usual crushing advantage. But the second main takeaway was something rare. In both FP1 and FP2 in Sochi, both of the Black Arrows drivers were having a good go at throwing their W11s at the scenery - or what passes for scenery with walls lining the track at the 2014 winter Olympics venue. Both Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas were among those going off - they were far from alone in this regard - but they were doing it at crucial points too. The track has been on the calendar for seven years now, but something is different this year.
Was Bottas doomed to lose at Mugello despite 'race one' win? - F1 - autosport.com
Valtteri Bottas had three chances to win an incident-packed Tuscan GP at Mugello, but familiar problems meant his 'part one' victory counted for nothing as Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton secured his 90th F1 victory
Formula 1 was only racing at Mugello because of the freak nature of 2020 and the disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic. This MotoGP paradise had held testing back in 2012 and is owned by Ferrari, which secured the inaugural Tuscan Grand Prix when F1 was redrawing this year's calendar, and it opted to celebrate its 1000th world championship race (after massaging of entry definitions) at the track. Mugello is tricky for the drivers and engineers, and it is vicious, ready to bite the slightest mistake with its close gravel traps and narrow, high-speed nature - only Monza and Silverstone have faster average laps. Intrigue was high as to what kind of race this would produce. In the end, F1 got a freak event.
F1 drivers braced for Mugello to be "killer physically" - Autosport
Friday's practice running for the Tuscan Grand Prix will give Formula 1 drivers a long-awaited first taste of Mugello, which some predict will be "an absolute killer physically"
Friday's practice running for the Tuscan Grand Prix will give Formula 1 drivers a long-awaited first taste of Mugello, which some predict will be "an absolute killer physically". Mugello was added to the 2020 calendar as part of the alterations made in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic that forced the cancellation of over half the scheduled races. The circuit has traditionally been used for motorbike racing, hosting the Italian Grand Prix in MotoGP every year since 1994, but is also used for a handful of junior single-seater categories. PLUS: Why the forbidden dream of F1 at Mugello will be worth the wait While a handful of the grid have raced at Mugello before, none felt their experiences in junior categories could suitably prepare them for the speeds they will hit in an F1 car. "I've raced here once in 2014 I think when I was competing in Formula Renault," said Williams driver George Russell. "It's an incredible circuit. It's so fast, it's so flowing, it's going to be an absolute killer physically. Turn 6, 7, 8, and 9 will be absolutely flat out, probably, flat out in seventh gear I think anyway. "I think Arrabiata will be quite easy flat. It's the corners before, Casanova and Savelli, those are the difficult ones. I hope it will be. "We've done a sweepstake to see who is going to do it [flat] first. We'll let you know on Sunday." McLaren's Lando Norris previously raced at Mugello in Formula 4, but did not think there was any benefit to be gained from the added experience. "I don't think there's any advantage, it was too long ago for me now in a completely different car," Norris said. "The track has even changed slightly since then. I don't even remember the track being cambered in so many of the corners. "Simulators are very good, but at the same time, it was very late notice for us to know that we're going to Mugello, so maybe everything was not as perfect and up to date as all the tracks that we normally go to. "You have a good enough of an understanding driving a Formula 1 car in a simulator of what you need to achieve coming to a track like Mugello. "This track is the pure performance and definition of what a Formula 1 car can achieve in such corners, such medium and high-speed corners, and just goes to show the limit for us as drivers. "Physically it's going to be very tough." Renault's Daniel Ricciardo said drivers had to "lean" on the simulator in order to learn a new circuit, but was excited by the chance to get out for the first time in practice on Friday. "We've got obviously a lot of time on track in practice, so it's not something we really need to rush into," Ricciardo said. "I don't think we need to be a hero in FP1. For sure we can't mess around. "Driving on a new circuit, it does bait you in. You do want to go fast, straight away. It's fun. "I've never had probably so much excitement for a Friday practice as I do tomorrow. It's been a while, unless it's a Thursday in Monaco." Red Bull's Alexander Albon echoed his peers on the physical challenge that would be posed by Mugello. "I think it's going to be the most physical track for drivers this year, possibly ever," Albon said. "The lowest gear is fourth gear. So it's going to be it's going to be fun, especially on our necks, I'm sure we're going to feel it. "It's a really cool circuit, it's nice to be going to these old school circuits with proper history, and it has that character that you don't always get with new circuits. So it's a thumbs up."
Hamilton explains why he missed F1 pre-race anti-racism demonstration at Monza - Autosport
Lewis Hamilton missed Formula 1's pre-race anti-racism demonstration ahead of the Italian Grand Prix due to a timing mix-up after returning to the Mercedes garage
Lewis Hamilton missed Formula 1's pre-race anti-racism demonstration ahead of the Italian Grand Prix due to a timing mix-up after returning to the Mercedes garage. F1 has held a formal demonstration for its anti-racism messaging at races since the British GP in July, giving drivers the opportunity to take a knee or make other gestures at the front of the grid. Hamilton - F1's only black driver - has been the leading figure in the series over its anti-racism messaging, but was absent from the demonstration ahead of Sunday's Italian Grand Prix. Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel also failed to attend the demonstration, leaving two empty spots among the drivers ahead of the national anthems. Hamilton joined the drivers to stand for the anthem, wearing a 'Black Lives Matter' t-shirt as he has done at previous races. Hamilton explained after the race that he only missed the demonstration as a result of a timing mix-up, having returned to the Mercedes garage to complete his final preparations. "[It was] just timing," Hamilton said. "My garage is the furthest away. I took the scooter back, and just basically ran out of time. I thought I left to come back in time - usually I'm guided of when to leave. "I left when I was told to leave the garage, to come back, but by the time I came back, everyone had already taken the knee. "[I] definitely missed it, but it's not the end of the world. "I got to see that my team continued to take the knee, which is great. We'll just try and do better with timing next time. "Perhaps I won't go all the way back to my garage when it's that far away. In the past, there is usually another toilet somewhere closer." F1 added an extra 10 minutes to its pre-race scheduling from the British Grand Prix onwards to give drivers more time to partake in the anti-racism demonstration following criticism from many on the grid. Of the drivers attending the demonstration, seven - Max Verstappen, Charles Leclerc, Carlos Sainz Jr, Kimi Raikkonen, Antonio Giovinazzi, Daniil Kvyat and Kevin Magnussen - opted to remain standing instead of taking a knee, as seen at previous races.
Ban on F1 qualifying engine modes "only a positive" for Ferrari - Autosport
The FIA's upcoming ban on teams running higher engine modes in Formula 1 qualifying is "only a positive" for Ferrari given its straight-line speed struggles, reckons Charles Leclerc
The FIA's upcoming ban on teams running higher engine modes in Formula 1 qualifying is "only a positive" for Ferrari given its straight-line speed struggles, reckons Charles Leclerc. It emerged on Thursday ahead of the Spanish Grand Prix that the FIA is set to clamp down on changeable power modes between qualifying and the race, removing the possibility for teams to use so-called 'party mode' settings for hot laps. The move is set to be clarified in a technical directive that should be issued to teams ahead of the Belgian Grand Prix at the end of the month. The Mercedes-powered teams are widely expected to be the biggest loser as a result of the ruling, with Williams, Racing Point and the Mercedes works outfit all known to benefit from a higher-power setting in qualifying. Ferrari has struggled with the straight-line speed of its car through the 2020 season after an off-season settlement with the FIA over the performance of its power unit last year, with questions raised about its legality. Asked what the ban on qualifying engine modes would mean for Ferrari, Leclerc claimed the team had no significantly different setting available compared to the race, making it only good news for the Italian marque. "To be honest, I don't think it will affect us so much, so I think it can only be positive for us," Leclerc said. "How much it will be beneficial, it's still to see. "But for us, I can say that we don't have anything different from qualifying to the race. So for us it won't change anything." Leclerc was supportive of the move, saying "they are probably doing that for a reason". Team-mate Sebastian Vettel echoed Leclerc's thoughts, saying: "Let's wait and see what happens. It always depends what you're able to pull off I guess. "If you have something developed on your engine that you can probably run in certain amount of mileage with more power, more stress on the engine then, probably not the best news. "But from where we are right now, as Charles said, it doesn't affect us." Lewis Hamilton said the move did not come as a surprise to Mercedes as it was "obviously to slow us down", but doubted it was "going to get the result that they want". Racing Point driver Lance Stroll felt it would be a "shame" for the Mercedes-powered cars to have their peak performance reined in. "Formula 1 is all about operating at the maximum capacity of the car and the engine," Stroll said. "I think we want to see all the engine manufacturers, the teams, the car development, pushed to the limit. "I don't think that would be nice to see." Williams' George Russell was also disappointed to learn of the ruling, having put the added boost to good use in his charge to Q2 at each of the last four races. "I'd be disappointed to see it lost," Russell said. "I think for every engine manufacturer, you've got a boost for qualifying. When you're within the car you've got the lowest amount of fuel you have for the whole weekend, you've got the fastest engine mode, you're the most pumped up and ready for that lap you're about to approach. "Everything just feels like a little bit extra and it allows you to just extract that bit more from the car, and it's such an exciting part of the weekend. "You've got that one lap, give it full beans, and then just tune it down for the race. "I'd be disappointed to see it gone."
Mercedes now in F1 title fight with Verstappen, says Wolff - Autosport
Mercedes Formula 1 boss Toto Wolff believes his drivers Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas are now in a title fight against Red Bull and Max Verstappen
Mercedes Formula 1 boss Toto Wolff believes his drivers Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas are now in a title fight against Red Bull and Max Verstappen. Following his spectacular victory in the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix Verstappen has moved up to second in the F1 drivers' standings on 77 points, 30 behind leader Hamilton, despite retiring in the first race in Austria. Prior to last weekend Wolff had consistently cautioned that the season was far from over, despite dominant performances from Mercedes in the early races, and he believes that Verstappen's Silverstone win proved that the contest is still open. "I think we have," he said when asked if F1 now has a title fight. "I kind of enjoy the situation because everyone was saying, 'OK, this is going to be a walk in the park for Mercedes,' and here we go. "That wasn't at all a walk in the park. We were certainly not the quickest car, maybe not even the second quickest car. We have seen in the past that the hot conditions somehow don't suit our car but it's much more complex than that. PLUS: How a ruthless Verstappen exploited Mercedes's strength-turned-weakness "We have probably the quickest package, but the quickest package also involves the most downforce, and the most downforce works the tyres hardest. In that respect, we have to learn how to tune the car to help the tyres survive a little bit. "I'm really curious to see and interested to see how we're going to do in Barcelona. We have a handful of days to understand, and there is nothing better than a great challenge. "We embrace the challenge, we love the fight, and they're a strong competitor and Max is a very good driver. "If you consider they had a full DNF at the beginning of the season, that gap is not large. It would only be five points behind and not 30. "There are maybe 10 more races to go. DNFs can quickly make the points swing, and yeah, it could be much more interesting than many people were afraid of two weeks ago." Red Bull boss Christian Horner said he's waiting for a "clearer picture" to emerge before making a call on Verstappen's prospects. In the past the Milton Keynes team has traditionally become more competitive as the season has gone on, although the change in the schedule due to COVID-19 means that some of the circuits where it has excelled are not being used. "It's difficult to say," said Horner when asked by Autosport if Verstappen can gain title momentum. "I think Mercedes underperformed today, compared to the last few events, so I think it's going to be a few more races yet before we have a clearer picture on that. But we're delighted to get this first victory of 2020, particularly on this anniversary race." PLUS: Why inflation left Mercedes poorer at Silverstone Horner added that the second Silverstone event was the first true sign of the potential of the RB16. "These cars put up a little bit of a fight so far," he said. "It has only been today that we have really seen the performance that we believe that it is capable of. "So for us it is very important that we understand why it has performed so well today, in corners that we were weak in on Saturday today was no issue at all. "The wind was a little bit less, temperatures were pretty similar to the last couple of days, and last weekend. Tyre pressures were slightly different, because of the problems Pirelli had last weekend. "It is important for us to take away this data and analyse it and understand it, because we're definitely underperforming on Saturdays, where we are fighting over tenths with Racing Point and Renaults this weekend, and then we were lapping them in the race. "So there is a big delta, and we've seen a bit of a pattern of that across the last four or five races. We've got a lot to understand, but it is really encouraging to have this performance. It rewards all the hard work that is going in."
Five F1 teams to appeal against Racing Point brake duct verdict - Autosport
Five Formula 1 teams have filed their intent to appeal the Racing Point brake duct case - with the Silverstone outfit itself facing up against a group of four rivals
Five Formula 1 teams have filed their intent to appeal the Racing Point brake duct case - with the Silverstone outfit itself facing up against a group of four rivals. On Friday morning the FIA stewards issued their verdict on the case, which centred on the protests lodged by Renault at the Styrian, Hungarian and British GPs regarding the legality of Racing Point's brake ducts. Racing Point was fined 400,000 and docked 15 World Championship points, but is allowed to keep using the same duct design for the rest of the season. Due to the complex nature of the case teams were given 24 hours after the publication of the verdict to log their intention to appeal, instead of the usual hour. When the deadline passed at 0930 this morning both original parties had taken up the option. Racing Point wants to clear its name, while Renault has questioned the penalty. Other interested parties are allowed to appeal, and Ferrari, McLaren and Williams have all joined Renault's efforts to secure a tougher sanction. An FIA spokesman confirmed: "We have received notices of intention to appeal the Renault Protest Decision from the following Competitors: Ferrari, McLaren, Racing Point, Renault and Williams." All five teams now have a further period of 96 hours in which to consider their options and decide whether to proceed with their appeals. Assuming that at least one decides to go ahead the case will go to the International Court of Appeal, where it will be heard by a panel of independent judges. Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff revealed on Friday that a group of teams was planning to appeal. "I think the FIA wanted to come up with a solution that kind of lets everybody live," he told Sky F1. "Now Racing Point is pretty upset. They believe they have a strong case, and they have lawyers ready to go and appeal. "And on the other side, what I see, there is a group forming, a little revolution in every sense, little, and they are trying to go after Racing Point, because I guess they are upset they haven't got the performance Racing Point has." Prior to confirming the intent to appeal Racing Point boss Otmar Szafnauer admitted on Friday evening that the decision would not be taken lightly, as there were many factors to consider. "I think an appeal, for example, would require some further legal assistance from lawyers," he said. "And it could very well be that the lawyers cost you more than the fine. So that's something you've got to decide. "And then to me the 15 points that we're docked you've got to assess as well, is that gonna matter at the end of the championship? "In some years it does, and some years it doesn't. So it's hard to predict - that could be a yes. "And then the last thing is having done absolutely nothing wrong, but being in breach of a sporting regulation process, that in itself is also not a positive thing. "So, we should just also consider appealing to clear our name. "We did absolutely nothing wrong, we followed the regulations to a tee. "And when you go to appeal, you've got different types of judges that will hear the arguments."