Hamilton ‘Loses Three Kilos’ As French GP Water Bottle Runs Dry

MONTREAL, QUEBEC – JUNE 18: Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes rides a scooter in the Paddock after qualifying ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Canada at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on June 18, 2022 in Montreal, Quebec. Clive Rose/Getty Images/AFP (Photo by CLIVE ROSE / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP


An exhausted Lewis Hamilton celebrated his 300th Formula One race on Sunday by lying exhausted on his back on the floor of a cool-down room after finishing second in the French Grand Prix.

The seven-time world champion explained that the drinks bottle in his Mercedes car did not work and he was dehydrated after racing in searing heat at the Paul Ricard Circuit.

“That was a tough race because my drinks bottle didn’t work, but what a great result considering we’ve been so far off these guys all weekend,” said Hamilton.

“I feel fantastic, but I wish I felt more hydrated – I’m looking forward to taking a few drinks now. I don’t usually use the drinks bottle in a race, so it was my first time all year to try it and nothing came out.

“I didn’t check my weight, but I would imagine I have lost around three kilos today so I am looking forward to downing this drink.”

Hamilton recovered after a short rest to join the podium celebrations.

He heaped praise on his Mercedes team and team-mate George Russell and the big sell-out holiday crowd.

“Reliability is one thing my team is amazing at — so huge congratulations to the team back at the factories and the team here,” he said.

“Without them we wouldn’t get this podium. And George did an amazing job as well.”

Russell finished third to confirm Mercedes’ first double podium finish of the season.

Looking ahead to next weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix, Hamilton added: “I love it at Budapest. Super excited to see the crowd there.

“It will be hard to beat Ferrari and Red Bull, they have the pace advantage still, but I’m hoping we bring upgrades to the track and hopefully step forward. Hopefully in that race, even closer.”

Hamilton is only the sixth driver to appear in 300 Grands Prix and is bidding to be the first to win a race after reaching that total.

He is the only driver to have seen the chequered flag at the end of every race this season and Mercedes are the only team to score points in each race.


Hamilton Fuelled To Make History In 2022

(FILES) In this file photo taken on November 15, 2020 Mercedes’ British driver Lewis Hamilton gives an interview after winning the Turkish Formula One Grand Prix at the Intercity Istanbul Park circuit in Istanbul.  (Photo by Clive Mason / POOL / AFP)


After the chaos and confusion of that now infamous last lap in Abu Dhabi on Sunday which saw Max Verstappen claim his first world title, what of the vanquished Lewis Hamilton, the man who led the race for so long and was so agonisingly close to an unprecedented eighth world title?

At 36, the Briton is in the latter part of his career, the opportunities to add to his record 103 race victories likely to become more scarce with every passing season. No one would blame him for packing his bags and leaving the stage.

And yet it looks certain that Hamilton will return next season more determined than ever to claim that eighth title.

Any prospect of the seven-time champion walking away, having already committed himself to another two years with Mercedes, receded on Monday as sources close to him and his family made clear they expect him to extend his career into a 16th season.

His near-flawless display at the Yas Marina Circuit where he held a comfortable 11-seconds lead until a series of events, including decisions by Race Director Michael Masi, left him facing a fateful ‘manipulated’ last lap sprint on worn tyres, proved he remains a supreme racing driver.

His vast sporting and technical experience, his value to Mercedes as both driver and marketing commodity, his global value to Formula One as the burgeoning sport-business expands rapidly in America and other new markets, attracting a diverse new demographic audience, make him virtually irreplaceable.


But all that and the attraction of another year’s salary will be of less importance to the man himself than his ambition and desire to compete again against his nemesis Verstappen by being on the grid in Bahrain in March for the opening race of 2022.

Verstappen said he had “felt” for Hamilton.

“He did everything right throughout the race, but F1 can be very unpredictable… Lewis is a great sportsman -– he will be back again, very strong, because he is an amazing driver,” said the 24-year-old, the first Dutchman to win the title.

That sense of fighting against the odds has been a constant feature not just of Hamilton’s career but of his life, as his brother Nicolas Hamilton expressed in a social media post on Monday.

Taking to Instagram, he declared his brother “the true champion” and said the sport’s ruling body, the FIA, had broken its own rules, which was “a disgrace to our whole sport”.

He added that “proving people wrong is in our DNA, which Lewis does on a daily basis”.

Hamilton’s sense of injustice, seen more openly earlier in his career when he was often a victim of racist abuse, was only revealed briefly on Sunday.

Four corners from the end of the race, after being passed by Verstappen who was running on new soft tyres, he responded on team radio: “This has been manipulated man”.

The message was not broadcast on the worldwide television feed, but it was aired on the F1TV channel.

That he controlled his disappointment and congratulated Verstappen and his family and the Red Bull team was evidence of his sporting integrity, according to 2001 title runner-up David Coulthard.

“He showed why he is a seven-time world champion,” he told BBC Radio.

“He is a phenomenon and he’s an incredible sportsperson.

“He is a fantastic example to sportsmen and women out there on how to handle defeat.”

Hamilton will turn 37 on January 7 but he will not be the oldest driver in the field as two-time champion Fernando Alonso, his former McLaren team-mate, will be 41 next July.

If Hamilton wins the title, however, he will be the oldest champion in 29 years since Alain Prost secured his fourth title at 38 in 1993 a year after Nigel Mansell won his sole title in 1992, aged 39.

Coincidentally, when Alonso won his first title in 2005, he ended the era of Michael Schumacher dominance.

Schumacher, like Hamilton, was 36 and a seven-time champion.

To excel again, to win another title at such an advanced age for a sportsman, especially in a season when the sport ushers in a new set of technical regulations designed to create more competition and much closer racing, will be the motivation that fuels Hamilton again.

That, of course, and another chance to make history.

Verstappen, Hamilton Clash At US Grand Prix Practice

Red Bull’s Dutch driver Max Verstappen (R) leads Mercedes’ British driver Lewis Hamilton during the sprint session of the Formula One British Grand Prix at Silverstone motor racing circuit in Silverstone, central England on July 17, 2021. (Photo by Adrian DENNIS / AFP)


Road rage bubbled as the track temperature rose in the second practice session for United States Grand Prix on Friday as Max Verstappen called title rival Lewis Hamilton a “stupid idiot”.

World champion Hamilton angered Verstappen by pushing past on the inside of the Red Bull when the Dutchman was lining up a flying lap.

Verstappen leads Hamilton by six points in the title race.

After the Mercedes almost pushed Verstappen off the track, the Dutchman gave way, lifting his right hand off the wheel to make a gesture with his middle finger at the rear end of Hamilton’s car.

Verstappen complained on team radio that Hamilton was a “stupid idiot” and never seemed to recover his poise, ending the session eighth fastest.

His team principal Christian Horner was calmer.

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“They were obviously queing up to start the lap and Lewis decided just to jump Max there,” Horner told UK Sky TV from the pit lane.

“They have an unwritten rule in sessions like this that they take their turns and Max was pointing out that he was first in the queue.”

Verstappen never found a gap in traffic to make another attempt.

“Why do we always go in traffic. Jesus,” was part of a later radio message that also contained several swear words.

He was not the only angry driver.

Nikita Mazepin was almost sideswiped by a driver exiting the pits.

“What was that man? Just avoided a crash,” said the Russian. “Man it’s impossible to get a lap on this track.”

After the session, with his helmet off but his mask on, Verstappen was more guarded.

“Just a mess with the traffic,” he said before addressing the Hamilton incident in a bewildered tone.

“We’re all lining up to go for our laps so I don’t really understand what happened there.”

Yet the afternoon was not a total loss for his team, which had been badly outpaced by Mercedes in the morning.

Red Bull’s Mexican driver Sergio Perez was fastest with a time of 1min 34.946sec.

Lando Norris of McLaren was second 0.257sec behind.

Hamilton who had what would have been the fastest time of the session scrubbed out because he crossed the white track limits line on trun 19, was third 0.364, 0.50sec ahead of teammate Valtteri Bottas.

Daniel Ricciardo of McLaren, Lance Stroll in an Aston Martin and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc were the next three fastest, ahead of Verstappen.

“It was a good day,” said Perez. “Obviously it’s going to be very tight trying to put it all together and find those couple of tenths that would put us in the mix for pole tomorrow.”


– ‘Hands sticking to wheel’ –

Perez said the real problem was not the heat, which reached the mid-80s Fahrenheit.

“Very humid as well,” said the Mexican. “My hands are sticking to the wheel a lot.”

Mercedes dominated in the morning and Hamilton said changes the team made between sessions had not worked.

“We lost some ground or they gained some ground,” he said. “It’s been a good day but work to do.”

Bottas faces a grid penalty on Sunday after Mercedes changed his engine for the fifth time this season.

After Hamilton took an ultimately costly 10-place grid penalty for an engine change before the Turkish Grand Prix, Bottas and two other drivers with Mercedes power units, George Russell of Williams and Sebastian Vettel of Aston Martin, are taking penalties in Austin.

Drivers are allowed three engines a season, after that they are hit with decreasing penalties.

Bottas drops five grid places for his sixth engine. Russell and Vettel will drop to the back of the grid after each switched to their fourth power unit of the season.

“Unfortunately since mid-year we have had some reliability issues that keep coming back,” Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff told Sky.

“Penalties are not nice because it’s such a tight battle.”


Lewis Hamilton Wins 100th Formula One Grand Prix

Winner Mercedes’ British driver Lewis Hamilton celebrates on the podium after the Formula One Russian Grand Prix at the Sochi Autodrom circuit in Sochi on September 26, 2021. Alexander NEMENOV / AFP


Lewis Hamilton won the Russian Grand Prix for his 100th Formula One Grand Prix success on Sunday.

In treacherous rain the seven-time world champion reached the unprecedented century in his Mercedes after being stuck on 99 since the British Grand Prix in July.

Hamilton also claimed the championship lead by two points from Max Verstappen, who finished second.

After taking his 100th chequered flag 14 years after his first in Canada Hamilton told his team on the car radio: “Phew. That was hard work man!”

The 36-year-old Briton looked destined to come away for the fifth race stuck on the 99 mark with McLaren’s Lando Norris firmly in command up front.

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Mercedes’ British driver Lewis Hamilton wins the Formula One Russian Grand Prix at the Sochi Autodrom circuit in Sochi on September 26, 2021. Yuri Kochetkov / POOL / AFP


But with five laps to go, the rain that had been threatening the 15th round of the championship for so long arrived, causing mayhem.

With cars fitted with slicks starting to lose grip and coming in for intermediates Hamilton joined them, leaving Norris leading.

But with three laps left and Norris a sitting duck and sliding all over the circuit Hamilton eventually hit the front to finally nail the magic number of victories.

After jumping out of his car he said: “The rain came, it was very opportunistic, the team did a great job, I’m grateful for the points”.


Hamilton Hoping To End Frustrating Pursuit Of 100th Win In Russia

Mercedes’ British driver Lewis Hamilton arrives for the Formula One Austrian Grand Prix at the Red Bull Ring race track in Spielberg, Austria, on July 4, 2021. (Photo by ANDREJ ISAKOVIC / AFP)


Lewis Hamilton will be seeking to exploit every advantage he can find this weekend as he bids for an unprecedented and thus far elusive 100th Formula One win to regain the lead in the world championship at the Russian Grand Prix.

Since grabbing victory in controversial circumstances at the British Grand Prix in July, the seven-time champion has been unable to add to his total of 99 victories and has struggled to reach his century.

But after surviving another spectacular crash with title rival Max Verstappen of Red Bull at Monza, to follow their high-speed first lap tangle at Silverstone, Hamilton has an inviting opportunity to make history for Mercedes at the Sochi Autodrom, on the shores of the Black Sea on Sunday.

Not only is he seeking a record fifth triumph in the former Olympic Park but Mercedes are unbeaten in all seven races held there.

Verstappen, meanwhile, goes into the event with a three-place grid penalty for his part in their collision in Italy where his car ended up on top of Hamilton, who escaped injury or worse thanks to the ‘halo’ cockpit safety device.

That all suggests that the 36-year-old Briton has a sumptuous chance to overhaul the Dutchman’s five-point advantage in the championship.

Verstappen, at best, can only start fourth if he is fastest in qualifying, but insists he was not to blame for their latest crash.

The 23-year-old is also bullish about his bid to take Hamilton’s crown.

“Of course, the penalty is not ideal, but nothing is lost –- that’s how I look at it,” he said.

“In the championship, there are a lot of races ahead and the margin is tiny. We will make the most of it and do our best.

“You can reflect all you want, but it’s more important to look forward and keep pushing. I still believe it was a racing incident.”

Verstappen finished second behind Hamilton’s Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas last year and believes he can be highly competitive in what is likely to be a wet racing weekend.

“It’s completely different to Monza and I’m looking forward to it to see if we can improve on last year.”

– Hamilton ‘laser-focused’ –

Hamilton is expected to have fully recovered from the headaches and neck pain he suffered in Italy and, according to Mercedes team chief Toto Wolff, is in determined mood.

“Lewis is in the tenth championship battle of his F1 career and he is laser-focused on what he needs to deliver in the next eight races,” he said, adding that Bottas, who leaves to join Alfa Romeo next year, is driving “better than ever”.

“There’s a calm determination about the team right now and the business end of a season, fighting for championships, is exactly what we enjoy the most.”

Mercedes lead Red Bull by 18 points in the constructors’ title race with Sochi offering them a chance to extend that advantage while McLaren, who won in Italy thanks to a rousing drive from Daniel Ricciardo, may offer a threat.

“I want to build on my Monza performance and will push to score important points,” said the Australian. “But Sochi can be a tricky circuit to make a move.”

To further complicate matters, it is possible that Verstappen may take a new Honda power unit –- and with it another penalty that would drop him to the back of the grid, from where he could mount a charge to finish in the top five.

Hamilton also faces the same prospect, but may delay it until a later race.

With heavy rain forecast, it will be a weekend filled with jeopardy for teams and drivers as the tension builds again.

Another collision remains likely, though Hamilton will this time hope to be beyond reach of the young Dutchman’s boldest moves.


Hamilton ‘Did Nothing Wrong’ In Verstappen Move, Says Mercedes Tech Chief

Race winner Mercedes’ British driver Lewis Hamilton celebrates on the podium after the Formula One British Grand Prix motor race at Silverstone motor racing circuit in Silverstone, central England on July 18, 2021. (Photo by LARS BARON / POOL / AFP)



Lewis Hamilton’s controversial first-lap move on world championship rival Max Verstappen at the British Grand Prix was “absolutely in line with the overtaking guide”, his Mercedes team insisted Wednesday.

Verstappen accused seven-time world champion Hamilton of being “dangerous, disrespectful and unsportsmanlike” following their collision at Silverstone on Sunday.

Red Bull’s Verstappen had to retire from the race while Hamilton went on to win, slashing the Dutchman’s lead in the championship from 33 points to just eight.


Race winner Mercedes’ British driver Lewis Hamilton celebrates on the podium after the Formula One British Grand Prix motor race at Silverstone motor racing circuit in Silverstone, central England on July 18, 2021. (Photo by LARS BARON / POOL / AFP)


“As far as we are concerned, the manoeuvre that took place, the manoeuvre that Lewis did, was absolutely in line with the FIA’s overtaking guide,” said Mercedes technical chief James Allison.

Hamilton was penalised 10 seconds for the incident.

“Lewis definitely was substantially alongside. He had his front axle well beyond the midpoint of Verstappen’s car,” added Allison.

“It requires you are substantially alongside and it requires that you must be able to make the corner. By make the corner it means go round the corner and not leave the track or lose control of the car. Those are the things you need to satisfy.

“If you can go round the corner, if you are substantially alongside the other car then the corner is yours.”


Mercedes’ British driver Lewis Hamilton (L) and Red Bull’s Dutch driver Max Verstappen shake hands after the sprint qualifying session of the Formula One British Grand Prix at the Silverstone motor racing circuit in Silverstone, central England on July 16, 2021. (Photo by LARS BARON / AFP)


Red Bull’s Dutch driver Max Verstappen (R) leads Mercedes’ British driver Lewis Hamilton during the sprint session of the Formula One British Grand Prix at Silverstone motor racing circuit in Silverstone, central England on July 17, 2021. (Photo by Adrian DENNIS / AFP)


He added: “I did feel that it was harsh to get the penalty.

“This is about what are the rules to do with overtaking and I didn’t see that Lewis did anything wrong with respect to those rules.”

Lewis Hamilton Racially Abused On Social Media Over Controversial British GP Win

Race winner Mercedes' British driver Lewis Hamilton celebrates after the Formula One British Grand Prix motor race at Silverstone motor racing circuit in Silverstone, central England on July 18, 2021. LARS BARON / POOL / AFP
Race winner Mercedes’ British driver Lewis Hamilton celebrates after the Formula One British Grand Prix motor race at Silverstone motor racing circuit in Silverstone, central England on July 18, 2021. LARS BARON / POOL / AFP


Lewis Hamilton was the victim of “multiple instances of racist abuse on social media” during and after his controversial win in the British Grand Prix, according to a joint statement by Formula One, the FIA and his Mercedes team. 

The seven-time world champion was involved early on in an incident that saw championship leader Max Verstappen plough his Red Bull into a wall and out of the race.

Hamilton was hit by a 10 second penalty but went on to win the race and close the gap in the title race to just eight points.

“During, and after, yesterday’s British Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton was subjected to multiple instances of racist abuse on social media following an in-race collision,” they said in a joint statement condemning the behaviour “in the strongest possible terms”.

“These people have no place in our sport and we urge that those responsible should be held accountable for their actions.

“Formula 1, the FIA, the drivers and the teams are working to build a more diverse and inclusive sport, and such unacceptable instances of online abuse must be highlighted and eliminated.”

Verstappen, who was taken to hospital for checks after the race, later accused Hamilton of “disrespectful and unsportsmanlike behaviour”.

A public supporter of the Black Lives Matter movement, Hamilton gave his support a week ago to the England footballers Bukayo Saka, Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho who were also abused after they missed penalties in the Euro 2020 final.

“I hope this opens a conversation around acceptance,” he wrote on Instagram at the time.

“We must work towards a society that doesn’t require Black players to prove their value or place in society only through victory.”



Verstappen Accuses Hamilton Of Disrespect After British Grand Prix Crash

Red Bull's Dutch driver Max Verstappen drives during the sprint session of the Formula One British Grand Prix at Silverstone motor racing circuit in Silverstone, central England on July 17, 2021. Adrian DENNIS / AFP
Red Bull’s Dutch driver Max Verstappen drives during the sprint session of the Formula One British Grand Prix at Silverstone motor racing circuit in Silverstone, central England on July 17, 2021.


Lewis Hamilton was accused of being “dangerous and disrespectful” in reviving his Formula One title defence by winning the British Grand Prix on Sunday after a first lap crash that left championship leader Max Verstappen complaining he had been “taken out”.

Hamilton retorted after the race that he would “not be bullied”.

Roared on by a crowd of more than 140,000, Hamilton attempted to overtake Verstappen on Copse corner on the first lap.

Verstappen refused to yield. The two touched wheels and the Red Bull went careening off the track and into the barrier. Hamilton drove on with just a broken wheel rim.

“Glad I’m ok,” tweeted Verstappen from hospital. “Very disappointed with being taken out like this.”

His boss Cristian Horner, the Red Bull team principal, had already laid into Hamilton who won his home race for the eighth time.

“I hope Lewis is very happy with himself,” said Horner. “That’s a hollow victory.”

“Copse is one of the fastest corners in the world. You don’t stick a wheel up the inside. That’s just dirty driving.”

Hamilton said after the race that he had felt “a lot of anger after the shunt” and blamed Verstappen.

“I don’t feel he needs to be aggressive as he is,” he said. “I would never back down from anyone. I will not be bullied into being less aggressive.

“We needed the points. He left a gap and I went for it.”

Charles Leclerc grabbed the lead before racing was suspended while crews cleared away the Red Bull and Verstappen was taken to hospital for tests.

Verstappen was later discharged from hospital “following a thorough medical examination, without any major injuries,” said the team.

It was “a pretty impressive impact,” said Dr. Ian Roberts, Formula One’s medical rescue co-ordinator.

He said Verstappen was “a little winded to say the least” but added there were “no injuries apparent at the moment”.

Stewards imposed a 10 second-penalty, the second lightest punishment available to them, on Hamilton who was still able to chase down Leclerc.

“The penalty given does not help us and doesn’t do justice to the dangerous move Lewis made on track,” said Verstappen’s tweet. “Watching the celebrations while still in hospital is disrespectful and unsportsmanlike behaviour but we move on.”

Hamilton’s win ended Red Bull’s streak of five straight victories to cut Verstappen’s lead in the championship to eight points.

Monegasque Leclerc was second, 3.81sec back to revive Ferrari’s season.

The second Mercedes, driven by Finn Valtteri Bottas, who had allowed Hamilton to pass after the penalty, was third, ahead of the McLarens of Briton Lando Norris and Australian Daniel Ricciardo.

It was a bad afternoon for Red Bull with Sergio Perez finishing 16th and outside the points to drop from third to fifth in the standings.

‘It looked desperate’

Horner focused his frustration on Hamilton.

“I don’t care what Lewis said. That’s a hollow victory.”

“It shouldn’t be like that. Max has incurred a 51g accident. Lewis is a seven-time world champion. He shouldn’t be making manoeuvres like that, It’s unacceptable,” Horner said.

“It was dangerous, it looked desperate, he’s put a competitor in hospital.”

“The biggest result for us was that he was uninjured. I hope Lewis is very happy with himself.”

A photo combination of Lewis Hamilton (L) and Max Verstappen.
A photo combination of Lewis Hamilton (L) and Max Verstappen.


Horner was also dissatisfied with the punishment.

“It wasn’t much of a penalty,” Horner said.

Hamilton took his penalty during a pit stop when running second and came back on to the track in fifth place.

“Regardless of whether I agree with the penalty I just take it on the chin,” he said.

“I’m not going to let anything get in the way of the crowd’s enjoyment of the weekend and the national anthem and the British flag.”

“It was so physical, chasing down Charles. I was giving absolutely everything, didn’t know if my tyres were going to last.”

Leclerc was disappointed after having victory snatched away, but could still take pride in a strong drive and a first podium finish of the season.

“It’s difficult to enjoy 100 per cent,” he said. “I gave 200 per cent. I gave all of me but it was just not enough in the last two laps.”


Hamilton Wants More Diversity In F1 As Report Makes Recommendations

Mercedes’ British driver Lewis Hamilton arrives for the Formula One Austrian Grand Prix at the Red Bull Ring race track in Spielberg, Austria, on July 4, 2021. (Photo by ANDREJ ISAKOVIC / AFP)


Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton says he wants to be remembered for “helping people and changing the industry and the viewpoints” after the publication of his report into improving diversity in motorsport.

Britain’s seven-time world champion was spurred into action after noticing the lack of diversity in an end-of-season photograph in 2019 and subsequently set up the Hamilton Commission.

Hamilton, 36, has taken the knee before every race since the beginning of last season and has persuaded his Mercedes team to paint its cars black to highlight discrimination.

The commission’s report, Accelerating Change: Improving Representation of Black People in UK Motorsport, asks for a diversity and inclusion charter to be implemented by F1 teams and other motorsport organisations.

Expanding the apprenticeship provision to include higher apprenticeships and degree apprenticeships as an alternate pathway into the sector are among the other suggestions to attempt to draw in under-represented groups to F1.

Paid work placement and work experience schemes, as well as supporting the creation of scholarship programmes to enable black graduates from degrees to progress into specialist motorsport roles have also been proposed.

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Hamilton, the only black driver in Formula One, told the BBC he hoped the findings would be “part of my legacy”.

“I would like to be remembered for much more than winning championships, which is an amazing thing on its own, but for actually helping people and changing the industry and the viewpoints,” he said.

“We are all the same. We all bleed the same. There is no reason why it shouldn’t be as diverse as the world around us.

“All it takes is the shift of the needle and then in the long distance that can be a whole continent’s size. It could be huge.”

Hamilton said the commission, which included experts in motorsport, education and engineering, had found that obstacles for black people ran deeper than issues in gaining access to the sport.

“We realise it’s not just the motorsport industry that needs to change,” said Hamilton. “We found there are still systemic issues facing young black people at all levels of the education system.”

Defending champion Hamilton, preparing for this weekend’s British Grand Prix, trails leader Max Verstappen by 32 points after nine rounds of the 2021 championship.


Hamilton Wins Thrilling Season-Opening Bahrain Grand Prix

Mercedes’ British driver Lewis Hamilton gestures on the podium after winning the Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix at the Bahrain International Circuit in the city of Sakhir on March 28, 2021. (Photo by ANDREJ ISAKOVIC / AFP)


Lewis Hamilton produced another stunning demonstration of his supreme racing talent on Sunday to resist a charging Max Verstappen and win a thrilling ‘cliff-hanger’ season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix.

The defending seven-time champion defended with great skill over the closing laps in his Mercedes to hold off the Red Bull driver and claim a record-increasing 96th Formula One victory.

Hamilton came home seven-tenths of a second ahead of the Dutchman, who was forced to hand back the race lead in the closing laps after passing him with a move that had taken him off the track.

As expected, the champion and his heir apparent delivered an exhilarating exhibition of racing as they raced to the flag – the pair leaving third-placed Valtteri Bottas, in the second Mercedes, to finish adrift by 37 seconds.

It was Hamilton’s first season-opening triumph since 2015 and surprised many observers after Red Bull had dominated pre-season testing and two days of practice and qualifying ahead of the race.

“Firstly, can I just say it’s the first time I’ve seen fans in a long time!” said a delighted Hamilton.

“What a difficult race that was – stopping early we knew it was going to be tough, but we had to cover Max and it was always going to take something pretty special to do it.”

A disappointed Verstappen said: “Of course, it’s s shame, but you also have to see the positives. We’re putting the fight on to them so it’s great to start the year like that.”

Lando Norris was fourth for McLaren ahead of Sergio Perez, who had started from the pit lane in the second Red Bull, Charles Leclerc of Ferrari and Daniel Ricciardo, of McLaren.

Carlos Sainz was eighth for Ferrari ahead of Japanese rookie Yuki Tsunoda of AlphaTauri and Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll.

Starting from his fourth pole position, Verstappen advanced smoothly and held the lead ahead of Hamilton as the lights went out, but the opening lap was soon halted when Russian rookie Nikita Mazepin of Haas speared into the barriers at Turn Three.

– ‘Leave me to it’ –

The crash revived memories of a similar first lap accident at the same corner last season, when his predecessor Frenchman Romain Grosjean escaped from his blazing car after going into the barriers.

Mazepin escaped unhurt, but the race was paused for a Safety Car intervention for two laps.

On the re-start, AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly lost his front wing after a clash with McLaren new boy Daniel Ricciardo while rookie Mick Schumacher spun off in his Haas at Turn Four – and a Virtual Safety Car (VSC) was deployed briefly.

Hamilton stayed within two seconds of Verstappen until lap 14 when he pitted as Mercedes went for an ‘undercut’ to switch him from mediums to a new set of hards.

Verstappen, complaining about differential problems, came in and took mediums as Hamilton swept into the lead for the first time.

By lap 23, Hamilton’s lead was 3.8 seconds on the Red Bull man, but it was soon reduced to one.

Sensing Verstappen closing in, Hamilton pitted again for more hards on lap 29, rejoining 20 seconds adrift of the Dutchman.

Verstappen pitted again on lap 40. He rejoined second, eight seconds behind the champion to set up a chase for a grandstand finish. An immediate fastest lap trimmed the gap to six seconds.

“Make sure you’ve got enough tyres to challenge him at the end,” warned his engineer Gianpiero Lambiase.

By lap 49, the lead was two seconds. “Leave me to it, Bono,” snapped Hamilton when his engineer advised him Verstappen was on his tail. The tension was palpable.

With five laps to go, the champion ran wide at Turn 10, enabling Verstappen to close up. He squeezed by at Turn Four, on lap 53, but having gone off circuit had to hand the position back.

Hamilton continued to resist, Verstappen began sliding for grip and the champion hung on.


Hamilton Signs One-Year Deal With Mercedes F1 Team

(FILES) In this file photo taken on November 15, 2020 Mercedes’ British driver Lewis Hamilton gives an interview after winning the Turkish Formula One Grand Prix at the Intercity Istanbul Park circuit in Istanbul. (Photo by Clive Mason / POOL / AFP)


Lewis Hamilton has ended his long-running contract saga by signing a one-year deal with Mercedes for the 2021 season, the Formula One team announced on Monday.

The British driver will be competing for an unprecedented eighth world title when the new season gets under way in Bahrain next month.

The 36-year-old equalled Michael Schumacher’s championship haul with his seventh title in 2020 and already has more race wins, pole positions and podiums than any other driver in the sport’s history.

Hamilton said the team had “achieved incredible things together”, while team principal Toto Wolff said the partnership had “written itself into the history books”.

Hamilton had been out of contract since his previous deal expired on the final day of December.

But after several weeks of negotiations with Mercedes, his future has finally been settled, albeit with both parties agreeing to only one extra year.

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Despite the delay, both driver and team always insisted it was a matter of when, not if, a new contract would be agreed.

Hamilton said he was “excited” to be heading into a ninth season with the Silver Arrows.

“Our team has achieved incredible things together and we look forward to building on our success even further, while continuously looking to improve, both on and off the track,” he said.

“I’m equally determined to continue the journey we started to make motorsport more diverse for future generations and I am grateful that Mercedes has been extremely supportive of my call to address this issue,” he said.

“I’m proud to say we are taking that effort further this year by launching a foundation dedicated to diversity and inclusion in the sport.”

The Mercedes driver has become an outspoken supporter of equality, diversity and the environment, making several forthright statements on human rights and racism.

Wolff said the team had always been “aligned with Lewis that we would continue” but the unusual circumstances in 2020 meant it had taken longer to finish the process.

– Diversity push –

The Austrian, who also backed Hamilton’s drive for greater diversity in the sport, said the Briton’s competitive record stood alongside the “best the sports world has ever seen”.

“The story of Mercedes and Lewis has written itself into the history books of our sport over the past eight seasons, and we are hungry to compete and to add more chapters to it,” he said.

Hamilton eased to last year’s title, wrapping up the record-equalling triumph with three rounds remaining at November’s Turkish Grand Prix.

But the Briton was forced to miss the penultimate round in Bahrain after he contracted coronavirus.

Hamilton has won six of his seven titles with Mercedes since joining in 2013. He won his first crown in 2008 when he was at McLaren.

Four of them have come in the past four seasons as Hamilton bounced back with aplomb from the disappointment of losing the 2016 title to then team-mate Nico Rosberg.

F1 Legend Lewis Hamilton Knighted In New Year’s Honours List

Winner Mercedes’ British driver Lewis Hamilton celebrates on the podium after the Turkish Formula One Grand Prix at the Intercity Istanbul Park circuit in Istanbul on November 15, 2020.


Lewis Hamilton has been knighted in Britain’s traditional New Year Honours list after equalling Michael Schumacher’s record of seven Formula One world titles.

The list recognises outstanding achievements in various fields including showbusiness, sport and politics, as well as the contributions of a larger number of everyday citizens.

There are many awards this year for those seeking solutions to the problems posed by coronavirus as the pandemic drags on.

Hamilton, 35, surpassed Schumacher’s record number of career race wins during a stellar season in 2020 that was shortened due to the coronavirus pandemic.

A group of British lawmakers last month called on Prime Minister Boris Johnson to recommend the driver for a knighthood.

Hamilton, who lives in Monaco, has faced scrutiny in the past over his tax arrangements but has insisted he pays a substantial amount of tax in Britain.


British F1 driver Lewis Hamilton wants an end to police brutality in Nigeria. Photo: [email protected] Hamilton.

The Mercedes driver has become an outspoken supporter of equality, diversity and the environment this year and made several strong human rights statements related to democracy and racism.

Former Leeds Rhinos rugby league player Rob Burrow has been made an Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE).

Burrow, 38, was diagnosed with motor neurone disease in December last year. His MBE is in recognition of services to his sport but also for raising MND awareness.

Burrow said: “(The year) 2020 has taught us all to appreciate the gifts we have and it is my honour and privilege to accept this award on behalf of all the MND community.

“I hope it gives people hope that we are not ignored and the drive for more research and support to end MND will not stop.”

Also included in the list are former footballers Jimmy Greaves and Ron Flowers, who are the last surviving members of England’s 1966 World Cup-winning squad to be honoured. They have been made MBEs.

Bob Champion, who won the 1981 Grand National on Aldaniti while recovering from cancer, has been made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire for his charitable work at the Bob Champion Cancer Trust.

Exeter director of rugby Rob Baxter, whose team completed a domestic-European double last season, has been made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire, while the team’s captain, Joe Simmonds, is made an MBE.