Tagged in: grand prix

Extra pit stop felt like a gamble I didn’t want to take at Miami Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton stated the late pit stop Mercedes offered him and he declined to take felt like an unnecessary risk as he once again bemoaned the timing of a safety car at the Miami Grand Prix.

Hamilton was relegated behind Mercedes teammate George Russell late on, with Russell able to make a stop for fresh tyres under the safety car after a long stint on the hard tyre propelled him up the order.

With the safety car still out Hamilton was asked by Mercedes if he wanted to make another stop, to which he replied: “You tell me, man! I don’t want to lose a place to George.”

Hamilton has had a string of bad luck thanks to poorly timed safety cars recently, most famously at last year’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix when it cost him the championship, but also at races this year in Saudi Arabia and Australia.

On this occasion, Hamilton opted against pitting and Russell later passed him for fifth position thanks to the performance advantage from his fresher tires. “When you’re out there you don’t have all the information,” Hamilton told media on Sunday evening.

“You don’t know where everyone is, where you’ll come out, you don’t have the picture they have on the screen.

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“When you’re given the responsibility to make the decision it feels like your gambling and I don’t like that. I was like, ‘you guys make the decision’. Either way, we’ve just been unfortunate with the timing of the safety car today.”

Russell first passed Hamilton through the final sector, but ran wide and gave the position back.

Russell’s tire advantage was clear to see and he eased past the seven-time world champion on the following lap.

After Russell got past, Hamilton stated “strategy has not been kind to me” in another radio message.

Hamilton was complimentary of Russell’s move and said the race was proof he should have started on the hard tire, not the medium.

“George obviously did a great job in that stint. He was on the better tyre to start with, the hard tire was the better tyre, so in hindsight maybe we could have started on the hard tire.

“He did a great job to recover from that position and get the points, fifth and sixth is good points today for the team.”

When questioned if he just needed a change in luck, Hamilton said: “Yeah, I’m waiting for it! “Until then I’ll keep working as hard as I can, working with the team. We got good points as a team today.”

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Australian Grand Prix organizers unveil track changes

Australian Grand Prix organizers will hope the days of single-lane racing at Albert Park are over as they unveil long-awaited alterations to Melbourne’s lakeside circuit this week.

Albert Park has hosted Formula One’s Australian stop since the state government snatched it from Adelaide some 25 years ago, turning public roads and car parks into a race track for a few weeks every year.

Until this year, the circuit had stuck resolutely to the layout of the first race in 1996 despite the vast evolution of the cars.

Though one of the more visually pleasing tracks on the calendar, it drew criticism for lacking passing opportunities, gripes that only grew in volume as the cars sped up.

Alfa Romeo’s Valtteri Bottas won in 2019 for Mercedes — the last edition of the race before it was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic — having led from the first turn, a fairly typical outcome in Melbourne.

The upgrade may reduce the chances of similar processions.

It has seen the bumpy street circuit resurfaced and shortened by 28 metres, with seven corners modified and two turns taken out altogether, bringing the total down to 14.

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One of the more significant variations is the widening of turn one — the scene of some memorable crashes as cars jostled for position in a narrow funnel after taking off from the grid. The corner is now 2.5m wider, giving drivers more racing lines in the crucial opening moments.

Turn six, once a tight right hander, has been widened by more than 7.5m, which is expected to hike speeds by 70km per hour; and the old chicane between turns nine and 10 has been removed, effectively transforming the section into a 1.3km straight where drivers will put the foot down.

After breakneck speeds from turn six through to turn 10, turn 11, widened by three metres, will be a key attacking zone, with the camber also altered to force harder braking to negotiate the corner.

The changes have paved the way for four DRS zones, where drivers can adjust flaps on their rear wings to reduce drag and improve their chances of overtaking. The pitlane has also been widened by two metres with the intention that its speed limit will be raised from 60kph to 80kph. This could lead to more strategic options for teams due to the reduced time spent pitting.

Organizers hope the circuit’s upgrade will prove a hit with the drivers and a thrill for returning motorsport fans.

McLaren’s Australian driver Daniel Ricciardo said fans should expect a different kind of race.

“Not taking credit, but I was a little bit involved in the talks about revamping the circuit a few years ago when they had the first idea of what to do to try to make the racing a bit better,” he told reporters in Melbourne on Wednesday.

“I think it is going to be a different spectacle this time around. We obviously have to go there now and let our actions to do the talking, but on paper I think there is promise with that.”

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Bahrain Grand Prix signs new deal to remain in F1 until 2036

The Bahrain Grand Prix has signed a new deal to stay on the Formula One calendar until 2036.

The kingdom of Bahrain was the first country in the Middle East to host an F1 race in 2004 and the new contract will take the event beyond its 30th anniversary on the calendar

Bahrain will host the opening round of this year’s F1 season on March 20.

Bahrain has held a race every year since 2004 with the exception of 2011 when the event was cancelled due to civil unrest in the country.

Since 2014 the race has been held after sundown under floodlights, but as of 2022 the circuit has pledged to ensure all energy used at the race comes from sustainable sources.

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“I am delighted we will be racing at the Bahrain International Circuit until 2036 where more incredible racing and excitement will be on show to thrill our fans,” F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali stated.

“Since 2004 we have had some fantastic races in Sakhir and we cannot wait to be back there for the start of the 2022 championship as we begin a new era for the sport.

“Bahrain was the first country in the Middle East to welcome Formula One and it has a very special place in our sport, and I personally want to thank HRH Prince Salman and his team for their dedication and hard work throughout our partnership and look forward to the many years of racing ahead of us.”

The new deal is the longest for any venue in F1 and means F1’s four races in the Middle East — counting Abu Dhabi, Saudi Arabia and Qatar — will all run into the 2030s.

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Hamilton set to race in Abu Dhabi after negative COVID-19 test

Lewis Hamilton is set to return to action with Mercedes at this weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix after testing negative for COVID-19.

The seven-time world champion missed last weekend’s Sakhir Grand Prix after testing positive for COVID on the Monday before the race and was substituted by Williams driver George Russell.

Before the completion of 10 days in isolation in Bahrain, Hamilton tested negative for COVID on Wednesday, letting him to travel on Thursday to Abu Dhabi, where he tested negative for a second time on arrival in the United Arab Emirates.

“The FIA, Formula One and Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team can today confirm that Lewis Hamilton has returned a number of negative COVID-19 tests,” an FIA statement said.

“He has completed his ten-day quarantine in Bahrain and was free to leave the country according to the Bahraini health authority regulations.

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“Lewis has now arrived in Abu Dhabi following confirmation from the authorities that he could do so and after quarantining has now received a further negative test result.

“The FIA COVID-19 protocols remain clear and have not changed. A negative pre-test result is necessary to be given access to the Formula One Paddock as set out in Appendix S to the International Sporting Code and another negative test result no more than 24 hours following arrival is required.

“Lewis, having now tested negative in Bahrain and Abu Dhabi will be granted access to the paddock.”

Hamilton’s return to the paddock means he will be able to take part in the first practice session for this weekend’s season finale.

Russell will return to Williams, meaning his replacement for the Sakhir Grand Prix, Jack Aitken, will not drive this weekend.

The news was confirmed by the FIA on Thursday evening when the governing body announced the official entry list for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix with Hamilton at Mercedes and Russell at Williams.

Speaking in a video posted on Instagram on Tuesday, Hamilton stated his week in isolation with the virus had been “one of the hardest weeks that I’ve had for some time”.

Russell concluded ninth in Hamilton’s car at the Sakhir Grand Prix. He was on target to win the race before a mistake at one of Mercedes’ pit stops resulted in the wrong tyres being fitted to his car, forcing him to make an additional pit stop before a puncture ruled him out of the running for victory.

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