Hamilton set fastest lap as wing damage went ‘up and up’

Lewis Hamilton gained the extra point for the fastest lap of the race in Jeddah despite wing damage costing him up to 0.4sec per lap.

That point could be crucial in the context of the World Championship fight as Hamilton drew level on points with title rival Max Verstappen after winning the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

Parts of the wing were seen flying off Hamilton’s car as the final laps progressed, and Mercedes trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin said the loss of time each lap was only increasing as the car became less stable.

“It was going up and up,” Shovlin said about the wing damage, quoted by The Race. “So we started off with probably only a tenth or two after he got sandwiched and Esteban [Ocon] rode over it.

“We were quite lucky it just seemed to hit the road, lost a few bits but bounced back, no more damage.

“After [the contact with] Max we then lost the whole side of it, getting up to nearer four tenths of performance.”

Hamilton let out a sigh of relief when asked by Sky Sports F1 about setting the fastest lap, smiling as he said he “took a lot of risks to get that” extra point.

Shovlin said setting the fastest lap with a damaged car was simply down to Hamilton’s sheer will on the track, but added he may have thought differently about pushing so hard if he had been able to see the damage that had been done.

However, Shovlin added it had been a tough call by Mercedes to keep him out with the damaged wing as they felt it was “not guaranteed” to stay on his car – but they took the risk and it paid off for them.

“He’s very determined,” Shovlin said of Hamilton’s quickest lap.

 

“At the time, we were very much in two minds, we were seeing other people struggling with the tyres, we could see the wing was most definitely not guaranteed to stay on the car after the evening it had.

“It’s a difficult decision between doing something that might put Lewis level or do you play it safe? Ultimately Lewis took the decision, and his decision was probably aided by the fact he couldn’t see his front wing.

“If he was watching the TV like we were, he may have thought better of it.”

 

 

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Mercedes rubbishes 'unfounded and irresponsible' F1 exit reports

Mercedes has moved to dismiss reports that emerged in the German media on Thursday claiming that an exit of the German manufacturer from F1 was well underway.

Reports from AutoBild and F1Inside.com alleged that Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff was on the verge of resigning from the Brackley squad but would retain his 30 percent ownership in the team while Daimler’s 70 percent holding would be traded for shares in Aston Martin in which the German manufacturer already owns a 5 percent stake.

The operation would thus leave Wolff and Aston Martin – the latter headed by executive chairman and Racing Point owner Lawrence Stroll – as the new owners of the Silver Arrows outfit.

The reports also described Aston Martin Lagonda’s recent appointment as CEO of ex-Mercedes-AMG boss Tobias Moers as a precursor move to Daimler’s increased involvement in the legendary sportscar manufacturer.

While the story theoretically has legs, it was quickly dismissed by Mercedes as “unfounded and irresponsible”, with the three-point star brand confirming its commitment to F1 as a works outfit, especially in light of the sport’s most recent regulation changes.

“Speculation regarding a potential withdrawal from Formula One continues to be unfounded and irresponsible,” said Mercedes in a statement to the media.

“The sport has taken the right measures to address the consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic and its future financial sustainability, and we welcome these steps.

“It is our clear intention to continue competing in Formula One as a Mercedes-Benz works team in the years to come, and to do so with our managing partner Toto Wolff.”

However, Wolff has yet to confirm his involvement in F1 with Mercedes beyond this year, with Lewis Hamilton’s future also undetermined at this point.

Also, Wolff’s personal investment in Aston Martin, albeit small at 0.95 percent, represents a de facto link between the Austrian and the company.

So speculation regarding a possible partnership between Wolff and Stroll in the future will likely continue until Mercedes F1’s top man clarifies his future.

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Bottas finishes ninth in Arctic Lapland Rally

Mercedes F1 driver Valtteri Bottas finished ninth in this year’s edition of the Arctic Lapland Rally with experienced co-driver Timo Rautiainen.

It was the Finn’s second appearance at the event also known as Tunturiralli. Last year he finished fifth in his debut but, this year at the wheel of a Citroen DS3 World Rally Car, he had some issues on the first day that dropped him down the order.

Bottas reported, “After a messy day one and 22nd overall we managed to get back into top ten with Timo, although completely new and challenging conditions for me, the visibility was really bad and there was a lot of fresh snow on the track, and I learned a lot. And had fun.”

In December, the 30-year-old took part in the Rallycircuit Côte d’Azur where he took overall victory with five stage wins at the wheel of the Citroën DS3 WRC.

Bottas will be back at his ‘real job’ when Formula 1 testing begins


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Hamilton: I’m going to be a machine this year

Lewis Hamilton has warned rivals that he plans to be better than ever as he chases a record-equalling seventh Formula 1 World Championship title this season.

The 35-year-old Mercedes driver posted a picture on Instagram of himself at home, hugging a wooden pillar and smiling.

He wrote: “I never could have even dreamed to own a home like the one I do now. I thank God every day for giving me a family that worked so hard to give me the chance to make something of myself.

“And to own a home that I love so much, get to create so many wonderful memories brings me more happiness than I ever thought I could deserve. I am at peace when I’m here, can focus and build my mind and body so that I can come back year on year.

“I’m going to be a machine this year, on another level than ever before! Spread love and positivity everywhere we go.”

The Briton won 11 races last year and has averaged 10 victories a season since the start of the V6 turbo hybrid era in 2014.

The opening race is in Australia on March 15 and Hamilton starts the campaign with 84 career wins, seven short of F1 legend Michael Schumacher’s all-time record of 91.

Mercedes started last season by winning the first eight races, ending the championship, as a contest, long before the season ended.

Schumacher also holds the record of seven titles, five with Ferrari and two with Benetton, while Hamilton has won five of his six with Mercedes and one with McLaren.

Hamilton is out of contract at the end of the 2020 season and has had talks with Ferrari, although the champion looks more likely to stay with Mercedes now that the Italian team have committed long-term to Monegasque youngster Charles Leclerc.

Red Bull have also signed a deal which means that Max Verstappen will be in Blue until the end of 2023.

With stable rules and similar tyres to last year, hopes are high of an epic battle between Hamilton at the peak of his powers and the young guns vying to topple him.


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Valentine’s Day reveal for 2020 Mercedes W11

The Mercedes W11 will break cover on Valentine’s Day ahead of a shakedown and of Formula 1 testing which will begin on 19 February at Circuit de Catalunya-Barcelona.

The car will be the last to be built to the current F1 hybrid-turbo regulations and will mark the end of an era in which Mercedes have never lost a championship. Time will tell if they can bag 14 F1 titles in seven years, they already have a dozen in the bag.

Will the W11 join the ranks of its legendary predecessors?

Press Release:

We are delighted to announce that our 2020 Formula 1 car will run for the very first time on Friday, 14 February for its initial shakedown run at the Silverstone International Circuit – 75 days after the last Grand Prix of 2019 in Abu Dhabi and 30 days before the new season kicks off in Australia.

We will supply a wide range of assets on the day of the inaugural run, including a video news release, technical information and imagery of the car. A detailed plan of what assets will be made available at what time will be shared with the media before the event.

We will also provide insights about the new car and the upcoming season on our social media channels in the days leading up to the shakedown day.

The shakedown is an internal event for the purpose of completing initial systems checks and creating rights-free, on-track footage of our 2020 car.

Therefore, the event will unfortunately not be open to the media or the public. However, we will provide as much information and as many assets to you as possible from the event. Thank you for your understanding!


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Mercedes schedules shakedown date for 2020 car

The Mercedes AMG F1 team will launch its 2020 W11 Silver Arrow at a shakedown test at Silverstone scheduled for February 14.

Mercedes’ Valentine’s Day inaugural run will take place behind closed doors at the British track, but as usual the Brackley squad will supply a wide range of media assets and technical information detailing its new car.

It’s likely that both Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas will be on hand for the shakedown and take to the track on-board the new machine as has been the tradition in the past.

While reigning world champion Hamilton will be targeting a seventh world title, a feat that would equal the achievement of F1 legend Michael Schumacher, Mercedes will also be in the running for a seventh consecutive Constructors’ crown.

Mercedes will shakedown its 2020 on the same day that AlphaTauri presents its new charger at Red Bull’s Hanger 7 at Salzburg airport.

You can find the full updated schedule of February’s launch events fro the teams here.

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It’s a date! Mercedes to launch on Valentine’s Day

Mercedes are the fifth Formula 1 team to announce their 2020 launch with the rather romantic date of February 14.

The Silver Arrows, bidding for a seventh consecutive World Championship double in 2020, posted a quick teaser video on their social media channels and confirmed February 14 has been chosen as their launch date at the Silverstone circuit.

Mercedes’ launch will consist of a private shakedown which will be closed to both the fans and media. However, the Silver Arrows will release images and footage of the new W11 in action via their website and social media platforms.

The W11 will be restricted to 100km of running, as per the regulations state, but gives Lewis Hamilton, Valtteri Bottas and the Mercedes to complete some initial checks before pre-season testing in Barcelona.

Mercedes are due to launch on the same day as AlphaTauri, who are set to launch their 2020 challenger in Salzburg, Austria.

Confirmed launch dates so far:

11th Feb: Ferrari
12th Feb: Renault
13th Feb: McLaren
14th Feb: Mercedes, AlphaTauri

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Hamilton to sign two-year Mercedes extension – report

Lewis Hamilton is reportedly in the ‘advanced stages’ of signing a two-year contract extension with Mercedes, according to Gazzetta dello Sport.

Hamilton, who is currently out of contract at the end of the 2020 season, had been strongly linked with a move to Ferrari after the Italian newspaper also first broke the news that the two parties had engaged in talks during the 2019 season.

However, with Charles Leclerc committing his long-term future to Ferrari and Max Verstappen doing likewise at Red Bull, Hamilton looks set to follow suit by extending his stay with the Silver Arrows.

In Friday’s edition of Gazzetta dello Sport, journalist Luigi Perna concluded an article on Hamilton, which opened with the six-time World Champion’s vow to become “a machine” this year, with the following lines:

“In the meantime, Lewis Hamilton is in discussion with Mercedes over the renewal of his contract,” wrote Perna.

“The negotiation, which will see Hamilton extend his stay until the end of 2022, is at an advanced stage and is worth in the region of 45m Euros a year with bonuses.”

With Leclerc and Verstappen technically off the market for Mercedes, it left them with one main priority to tie Hamilton down as he goes in search of a seventh World Championship title.

Hamilton had spoken about the dilemma he was facing as he weighed up his loyalty to Mercedes with the temptation of a new challenge with Ferrari.

“I know I look good in red,” Hamilton told Channel 4 last October.

“But it’s a very, very difficult scenario.

“I’ve been with Mercedes since I was 13. Change is always cool but loyalty is everything, that is why I have this tattoo [on his left arm].

“I’m not going to be racing forever… what am I going to do in the future?

“Do I want to remain part of Mercedes doing something quite epic beyond racing?

“If I was, for example, going to shift [teams] then I don’t know what that is going to look like.”

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Hamilton: ‘I’m going to be a machine this year’

Lewis Hamilton has vowed to “be a machine” in 2020 as he attempts to win a record-equalling seventh World Championship title.

Hamilton has the opportunity to match Michael Schumacher’s incredible, and so far untouched, record of seven drivers’ titles after clinching a sixth piece of silverware in commanding style in 2019.

The British driver has always spoken about his wish to fight more contenders for the Formula 1 crown and the likes of Valtteri Bottas, Charles Leclerc, Max Verstappen and Sebastian Vettel will all have renewed hope of doing so this upcoming season.

But Hamilton has fired a warning to them all by saying he wants to turn himself into “a machine”, as part of an Instagram post showing how grateful he is for his home retreat during the winter break.

“I never could have even dreamed to own a home like the one I do now,” Hamilton said.

“I thank God everyday for giving me a family that worked so hard to give me the chance to make something of myself.

“And to own a home that I love so much, get to create so many wonderful memories brings me more happiness than I ever thought I could deserve.

“I am at peace when I’m here, can focus and build my mind and body so that I can come back year on year.

“I’m going to be a machine this year, on another level than ever before!

“Spread love and positivity everywhere we go.”

Hamilton is into the final year of his Mercedes contract, but the expectation is he, along with Mercedes boss, Toto Wolff, will extend their stay with the team.

Ferrari and Red Bull have both made early moves in the driver market by tying down Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen respectively to new long-term deals, possibly restricting Hamilton’s own options for the future.

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Hamilton and Mercedes nominated for Laureus Awards

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes and MotoGP’s reigning champion Marc Marquez are all among the nominees at this years’ Laureus Awards.

Hamilton and Marquez will go head-to-head in the World Sportsman of the Year category.

Marquez secured his sixth MotoGP World Championship in 2019, winning an incredible 12 of the 19 rounds to take the title by 151 points over Andrea Dovizioso.

Back in the world of Formula 1 Hamilton also secured his sixth Drivers’ Championship with a dominating season, winning 11 races as he wrapped the title up with two races to spare.

Hamilton is now second on the all-time winners list in F1 with 84 career victories, just seven behind Michael Schumacher. He will look to challenge both of those records in 2020.

Neither Hamilton or Marquez have won the award before and they will face stiff competition this year from long-distance runner Eliud Kipchoge, footballer Lionel Messi, tennis player Rafael Nadal, and golfer Tiger Woods.

Mercedes meanwhile are nominated in the Team of the Year category.

The Silver Arrows collected the award back in 2018 for their title-double in 2017 – they were also victorious in 2010 for the same achievement under their former identity as Brawn in 2009.

After securing the Drivers’ and Constructors’ Championships for the sixth season in a row Mercedes could easily scoop the award again, but Liverpool Football Club, South Africa’s rugby team, Spain’s men’s basketball team, basketball’s Toronto Raptors and the United States Women’s Football Team are all out to stop them.

Speaking to Sky Sports, two-time Formula One World Champion and Laureus Academy Member Mika Hakkinen said: “Lewis continues to dominate Formula One with the excellent Mercedes car he is driving. They both deserve their nominations. Whatever changes the sport makes, Lewis and Mercedes always seem to adapt.

“Congratulations to both of them. The big question everyone wants to know now is whether Lewis can pull level with Michael Schumacher on seven world titles next year. At the moment you would have to say it seems likely. It will make it an interesting year.”

This year’s ceremony will take place on February 17 in Berlin.

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