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F1 news LIVE: Lewis Hamilton rejects weakness over tactics to defeat Max Verstappen

F1 news LIVE: Lewis Hamilton rejects weakness over tactics to defeat Max Verstappen


Lewis Hamilton Aims To Be ‘Purest’ F1 Driver

Lewis Hamilton is now within touching distance of the top of the Formula 1 standings after a second successive victory helped cut Max Verstappen’s lead to just eight points.

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:


Leclerc has no concerns with new Ferrari chassis

Charles Leclerc says he no concerns about using his new Ferrari chassis at the final two races of the season in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

The chassis was found to have taken damage after Saturday’s qualifying session at Losail, with the circuit having proved punishing for cars throughout all three practice sessions due to its harsh kerbs.

Leclerc, though, says that switching from one chassis to another is not something which makes too much difference for a driver.

“I do not have any concerns once I knew the chassis was changed,” he told reporters in Qatar after last weekend’s race. “It is normally not a thing where you have much difference if you are going to another chassis.”

Team principal Mattia Binotto confirmed the original chassis “will be repaired will very likely be the spare for the rest of the season.”

Dan Austin25 November 2021 14:14


Other intriguing championship battles to be resolved

All the attention is on the top of standings in both the drivers’ championship and constructors’ championship, of course, but there remain plenty of interesting battles taking place lower down the grid as drivers and teams try to pull themselves up the rankings.

In the constructors’ championship, the closest battle is between Alpine and Alpha Tauri over P5. The combination of Fernando Alonso’s first podium in 104 races and Esteban Ocon’s impressive fifth-place at Qatar, where both Pierra Gasly and Yuki Tsunoda failed to score points, allowed the French squad to overhaul their Italian rivals and pull out a 25-point lead.

Meanwhile, the battle for the ‘best of the rest’ title in the drivers’ championship is heating up. Lando Norris is currently fifth, behind both Mercedes and Red Bull drivers, but the Ferrari pair of Charles Leclcerc and Carlos Sainz are hot on his heels, with just 7.5 points separating all three.

With the Ferrari looking the faster car heading into the final two races, don’t be surprised if Norris drops to seventh come the chequered flag in Abu Dhabi.

Dan Austin25 November 2021 14:03


Piastri says criticism of Zhou’s Alfa Romeo move is ‘pretty unfair’

Formula 2 championship leader Oscar Piastri says criticism of incoming Alfa Romeo driver Guanyu Zhou is “pretty unfair”

Zhou will become the first full-time Chinese driver in F1 when he partners Valtteri Bottas for the Swiss outfit in 2022, after being chosen to take a seat plenty of others, Piastri included, were also under consideration for.

Plenty believed that 20-year-old Piastri’s assault on the F2 title in his rookie campaign in the series meant he deserved the drive over 22-year-old Zhou, who has failed to win the F2 championship in three seasons but brings significant financial backing.

Piastri, though, says those criticising Zhou are wrong. “Obviously he’s copped quite a bit of negativity on social media and stuff, and I think most of it is pretty unfair to be honest,” the Australian said. “OK, we all know he’s bringing some financial backing behind him, but he’s not doing poorly.

“He’s second in the championship, he’s got the same amount of wins as me, he led the championship for the first part of the year. I’m excited to see how he goes and I think he’ll do a pretty good job.”

Dan Austin25 November 2021 13:54


Russell admits disappointment with Williams form

George Russell has admitted he is disappointed with the downturn in form Williams have been experiencing in recent races.

The 23-year-old finished in the point in four out of five races between Hungary and Russia across August and September, including a second-place finish at the rained-off Belgian Grand Prix.

Since then, though, Russell’s best result has been 13th-place at the Brazilian Grand Prix, with the team now 12 points ahead of Alfa Romeo in the standings with two races remaining.

“I think everybody within the team is a little bit frustrated at the moment,” he told Autosport. “I think we need to go away and understand what’s changed.

“[Earlier in the season] we normally had difficult Sundays but we had really great Saturdays to compensate, and it’s easier to hang onto a position than attack for a position given our car pace.

“But for whatever reason, the pace hasn’t been there on a Saturday either, so we need to make the most of it in these last two and make sure we seal that P8, because that’s the main thing for us at the moment.”

Dan Austin25 November 2021 13:44


Prost says uncertainty gives Verstappen extra motivation to win championship

Four-time Formula 1 world champion Alain Prost says Max Verstappen has extra motiviation win this year’s title as the Red Bull driver “does not know” if he will have another opportunity again.

The Dutchman leads the standings by eight points with two races remaining, but the final two tarcks at Jeddah and Yas Marina are thought to favour the Mercedes car thanks to their long straights and high speeds.

“You want to win the first championship because you do not know if you’re going to have a second chance.” Prost told the In The Fast Lane podcast. “I think it will be really great if Max could get the title, because he’s a young guy, and he really deserves it for what he has done since the beginning.”

Dan Austin25 November 2021 13:35


McLaren admit pitiful triple-header points haul is ‘painful’

Team principal Andreas Seidl has admitted that McLaren’s poor total of four points from the past three Formula 1 races is “painful”, with Ferrari pushing ahead and taking control of third-place in the constructors’ championship.

Daniel Ricciardo failed to score in any of the events in Mexico, Brazil, and Qatar, while Lando Norris could only manage two ninth-place finishes. Ferrari are now 39.5 points ahead with only two rounds remaining.

“I think to a certain degree we have to accept that it has been tough for the entire team, scoring four points in three races is obviously painful,” explained Seidl. “But if we also look at what happened and how we lost a lot of points, things have been out of our hands or bad luck. And that is part of the sport we are in.

“I think the good thing is that we have seen the gap [in Qatar] and we had a competitive car, two drivers who were competitive on track and the team did a good job with pitstops. So we just have to come back to Saudi and strike back.”

Dan Austin25 November 2021 13:26


Alonso believes career achievements are fair reflection of talent

Fernando Alonso believes the titles he has won in his career are a fair reflection of his driving talent.

The Spaniard won the Formula 1 championship in 2005 and 2006 with Renault while competing with Michael Schumacher in the Ferrari, but has failed to add another despite being widely considered one of the most talented drivers the sport has ever seen.

The 40-year-old has often switched to the wrong team at the wrong time, attempting and almost succeeding in dragging a mediocre Ferrari to championship glory in 2012, before s dreadful second spell with McLaren between 2015 and 2018 in a car which was extremely unreliable.

“I think you get what you deserve,” Alonso told F1’s Beyond the Grid podcast. “When I think of my career, I had the luck to win two championships. I [won] Le Mans, Daytona, the World Endurance Championship, World Karting Championship – I see myself with more than what I dream of when I started my career. So I will never consider unfair or unlucky, my results.”

Dan Austin25 November 2021 13:17


Marko says Red Bull aren’t afraid of Hamilton’s ‘spicy’ engine

The head of Red Bull’s young driver programme says the team aren’t afraid of the engine Lewis Hamilton used to take victory in Brazil, which will be back in his car for Saudi Arabia and was labelled “spicy” by Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff.

Mercedes switched out the engine which helped Hamilton to a barnstorming win at Interlagos in favour of a previous model in Qatar, in order to ensure it is as reliable as possible for the final to events at Jeddah and Yas Marina.

Marko, though, says it’s return is no concern. “We saw in Qatar that Hamilton’s speed advantage on the straights in Qatar was no longer that great and was more or less within the normal range. This is due to the fact that after more stringent tests by the FIA, Mercedes no longer used its extremely flexible rear wing.”

“Mercedes will be using the rocket motor from Brazil in Saudi Arabia again, [but] because you can no longer lower the spoiler, it will no longer bring an advantage of 0.4 seconds.”

Dan Austin25 November 2021 13:08


Vettel and Schumacher to represent Germany in Race of Champions

Sebastian Vettel and Mick Schumacher are set to represent Germany in the 2022 Race of Champions, which will be held in Sweden on a snow and ice track.

The Race of Champions is an annual event which sees the world’s leading racing and rally drivers face-off against one another in a one-off event, and has previously been held at venues including Wembley Stadium and the Stade de France in Paris. The Nations Cup sees drivers of the same nationality compete together to try and take the crown for their home country.

Past winners include David Coulthard, Juan Pablo Montoya, and Heikki Kovalainen, with Vettel himself taking victory at the 2015 event.

“I’m really looking forward to being back competing in the Race of Champions again and to represent Germany together with Mick,” Vettel said.

Dan Austin25 November 2021 12:59


Masi rejects Hamilton comments on lack of racing clarity

FIA Race Director Michael Masi has rejected claims made by Lewis Hamilton that the rules around what constitutes fair and unfair racing in Formula 1 are unclear.

The incident at Interlagos a fortnight ago, when Hamilton was run off the road by Max Verstappen after the Dutchman missed the entry to Turn 4, has led drivers including George Russell and Carlos Sainz to say that drivers are uncertain about what is within the rules and what will see them punished.

And ahead of last weekend’s race in Qatar, Hamilton told a press conference: “It’s still not clear what the limits of the track are. It’s clearly not the white line anymore on overtaking, so we just go for it. We just ask for consistency, so if it’s the same as the last race and that’s the same for all of us in those scenarios, then it’s fine.”

Masi vehemently disagrees, though, and told reporters: “I think it’s been made clear to them what is expected. I think some of them agree, some of them disagree. That’s always with each and every one of them, they have agreed and disagreed all the way through. We’ve given them some overall guidance, but also been very clear on the fact that each and every case will be judged on its merits.”

Dan Austin25 November 2021 12:50


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