Lewis Hamilton Aims To Be ‘Purest’ F1 Driver
Two races remain, at Jeddah in Saudi Arabia and Yas Marina in the United Arab Emirates, both circuits with layouts including a series long straights. That should favour the Mercedes car over the Red Bull, meaning one of the most intense battles the sport has seen in its modern history is set to go down to the wire.
Off track, team principals Toto Wolff and Christian Horner have been engaged in something of a slanging match, while the FIA’s policing of the sport in regards to penalties dished out to drivers has come in for heavy criticism. That combination of scintillating action on circuit and controversy off it means the pressure is rising and the smallest of margins could make all the difference
Here’s all the latest F1 news and reaction as the build-up to Saudi Arabia continues:
Alonso regrets lack of battles with Hamilton
Fernando Alonso says a lack of battling with Lewis Hamilton is one of the ‘missing points’ in his Formula 1 career.
The Spaniard was team-mate with the Briton at McLaren in the latter’s rookie season in 2007, but in-fighting within the team and clashes of personalities meant that neither won the world championship, which went to Kimi Raikkonen in a Ferrari that was the inferior car.
“In 2007 I think we both were not ready,” Alonso told F1’s Beyond the Grid podcast. “Understandably, he was maybe not ready for the fight because he was a rookie and coming into Formula 1, and I was not performing at my best, not really integrated with the team.
“In the following years, I had a better package in Ferrari than him when he was in McLaren, so we didn’t fight really directly, and now when he switched to Mercedes, he had a better package and we never had the opportunity again to fight together. So, that’s a missing point in my career. But, obviously, he’s a legend of the sport and he, like Michael, pushed you to the limit because if you want to beat Lewis, you need to perform at your best.”
Dan Austin25 November 2021 11:18
Hamilton calls Mercedes car ‘monster diva’ after setup issues
Lewis Hamilton has called the current Mercedes F1 car a “monster diva” because of the difficulty the team has found in finding its sweet spot for race setups at different circuits.
The 2017 Mercedes was notoriously difficult to manage and was the first car to be given the ‘diva’ label by team principal Toto Wolff, but Hamilton says the W12 is even more tough to get a handle on.
“What I’ve noticed this year, which is just a fact, is that the car has been very, very hard to set up,” he told the press. “But this one is a monster of a diva. What we often find, plus we’ve had less practice time, is that it’s been harder to get the car in the right window.
Dan Austin25 November 2021 11:10
Hamilton says he needs to avoid ‘selfish acts’ in Verstappen fight
Lewis Hamilton says he needs a ‘clever’ strategy to beat Max Verstappen to the Formula 1 drivers’ championship, and that ‘selfish acts’ at this stage could be costly for either man.
The seven-time world champion trails his rival by eight points going into the final two rounds of the season, with the tracks at Jeddah and Yas Marina set to favour the Mercedes car thanks to their long straights and high speeds.
“I don’t feel too big or too successful to avoid a fight,” the 36-year-old told Auto und Motor Sport. “I know that sometimes you have to take this path. You have to be the clever one. Sometimes you lose points, but it’s not just about me. I have 2,000 employees behind me.
“A selfish act where I stick to my point and don’t finish the race could cost my whole team the bonus payments at the end of the year. And then create more work on the damaged car.”
Dan Austin25 November 2021 11:02
Schwartzmann to test for Haas at Abu Dhabi
Formula 2 driver and Ferrari junior Robert Schwartzman will drive for Haas at the post season rookie test in Abu Dhabi.
The annual event is designed to allow drivers who have never raced full-time in Formula 1 the chance to test themselves in the fastest single-seater racing machinery on the planet, while teams are able to assess which youngsters could become candidates for a permanent drive in future.
Schwartzman has raced for Prema in F2 for the past two seasons, scoring six wins in 39 starts. The 22-year-old Russian has his sites set on an F1 seat, and with Haas heavily-sponsored by Russian fertlisier company Ural Kali, that team is the most natural fit.
“This will be my first test with Haas and I’m really looking forward to getting to know a new team, environment and also to learn as much as possible from them,” Shwartzman said “Having the chance to drive for another F1 team is just incredible and I can’t wait to work with everyone.”
Dan Austin25 November 2021 10:55
Saudi Arabia track struggling to be ready on time
The Saudi Arabia Formula 1 circuit is struggling to be completed on time, an F1 official admitted.
The Red Sea town of Jeddah is due to host the country’s inaugural F1 event in less than a fortnight’s time at a temporary street circuit, but preparations have been hampered by delays and organisers now face a race against to run the Grand Prix on schedule.
“They’re up against it, they are, but they’re literally working 24/7 as they have been for quite a long time now. I saw some more photos this morning, and they’ve made huge progress. But still, a lot to do.
Dan Austin25 November 2021 10:42
Hamilton back in the simulator to find title advantage
Lewis Hamilton has revealed he has been back in the simulator at Mercedes’ F1 HQ in Brackley as he looks to find an advantage over Max Verstappen in the title fight.
The 36-year-old has famously never been a fan of simulators, insisting it did not reflect a real racing environment and that he preferred to avoid it when possible. But on Wednesday, the seven-time world champion shared a photo from the simulator to his Instagram story as he studied the intricacies of the Jeddah Circuit which will make its debut on the Formula calendar in ten days’ time.
Dan Austin25 November 2021 10:27
Verstappen wants one title to ‘complete’ career
Max Verstappen has revealed winning the Formula One world title is his “final goal” in the sport and admitted it would not “matter” if he didn’t add another championship in his career.
Lewis Hamilton is a seven-time world champion and is determined to win a record-breaking eighth, Verstappen has admitted he will have “completed” F1 is he wins a maiden title this year.
“It then doesn’t really matter anymore how many you win because you’ve already won one,” Verstappen told the Chequered Flag podcast.
“Of course, I would always try to win more, but that’s done, that’s the final goal, and will, of course, work very hard to try and achieve that, and after that, there’s a lot less pressure.”
Dan Austin25 November 2021 10:19
Wolff and Horner feud is ‘terrible’, ‘tacky’, and ‘childish’
Van der Grint also made his feelings clear about the increasing feud between Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff and his Red Bull counterpart Christian Horner.
The pair clashed in a press conference in Qatar and exchanged a series of snippy remarks about each other, with Horner saying they had “no relationship” and that he doesn’t “need to kiss Toto’s a***.”
Van der Grint, though, believes both men need to grow up. “I think that’s terrible,” he told Motorsport.com. “I think it’s tacky. “And then marshals are insulted. It is childish. We have two great drivers who actually downgrade the rest of the field. Fantastic, that’s motorsport.
“When I hear terms that I don’t want to repeat, that annoys me too. I am sorry to hear that.”
Dan Austin25 November 2021 10:10
Talk of Mercedes’ car being ‘illegal’ must stop, says Van Deer Grint
Former Formula 1 engineer Kees van der Grint says any talk of Mercedes’ car being illegal “must stop.”
Van der Grint worked with Ferrari at the height of Michael Schumacher’s early 00s success, and says the Mercedes is simply faster than the Red Bull right now. Rumours about the Silver Arrows’ car falling foul of the rules have spread since Brazil, when Lewis Hamilton was significantly faster than any other car on track, and the rear wing as found by the FUA to have fallen foul of measurement restrictions.
“The speed differences between the teams was not that great in Qatar,” Van de Grint told RTL GP. “Mercedes just got it right. Since the FIA has said that [the Mercedes] is not illegal, then the chatter about it must stop.”
Dan Austin25 November 2021 10:01
Verstappen’s Qatar penalty was ‘harsh’, says Brundle
Sky Sports F1 commentator Martin Brundle believes Max Verstappen’s five-place grid penalty for ignoring double yellow flags in Qatar was ‘harsh.’
The 24-year-old failed to slow once marshals were waving flags in the final part of qualifying, but there was confusion afterwards because DRS was still activated and no warning message appeared on drivers’ dashboards, indicating the track was clear and safe to continue driving at top speed.
IN his Sky Sports column, Brundle wrote: “I’m a fully paid up advocate that yellow flags must be respected as an absolute priority,. “But from the cockpit on Sunday the drivers would have been on their final qualifying effort exiting the last corner with no visible flags, no incident warning lights on their steering wheel or messages from the pit wall, a blaze of red lights in the night time sky at the finish line indicating the qualifying session is over (one red light and the chequered flag would be sufficient), spotting the DRS activation line which had been re-enabled, pulling up through the gears whilst then working out what that car [Pierre Gasly’s three-wheeling Alpha Tauri] on the right hand side was actually doing.”
Dan Austin25 November 2021 09:53