Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel message fired to Ferrari chief over ‘delicate topic’

Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel must be spoken to by Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto to ensure there’s no repeat of last season’s tension between the duo. That’s the verdict of former Ferrari chairman Luca Cordero di Montezemolo, who’s recalled a similar situation from his time at the Prancing Horse.

Leclerc burst on to the scene at Ferrari in 2019 after being brought in from Sauber to replace the departing 2007 F1 champion Kimi Raikkonen.

The 22-year-old’s performances in his first season in red wowed fans and he edged out Vettel to finish the campaign fourth in the drivers’ standings.

Leclerc and Vettel clashed throughout their first 12 months together and the feud spilled over on to the track at November’s Brazilian Grand Prix when their cars collided, ending both of their races prematurely.

Montezemolo is a big fan of Leclerc but thinks the youngster needs to keep his feet on the ground.

INSIGHT: What Charles Leclerc thinks of Sebastian Vettel

The 72-year-old believes Binotto needs to take charge of the situation to ensure there are no further problems with Vettel.

Montezemolo says he had to do the same with Rubens Barrichello and remind the Brazilian of the needs of the broader team during the his spell with Ferrari.

“[Leclerc is] very strong, he has a lot of pressure and hopefully his head won’t go too high,” Montezemolo told Sky Sport in Italy.

“He made a few mistakes with [Sauber], but can he and Vettel live together? It will be a delicate topic for Binotto. We need to explain to them that we are racing for Ferrari, as I did with Barrichello.”

Ferrari are in the midst of a title drought which stretches back to the World Constructors’ Championship that Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa helped them win in 2008.

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Leclerc and Vettel, though, represent one of the strongest driver pairings on the grid and Montezemolo is optimistic about Ferrari’s prospects going forward.

“Ferrari has almost everything to go back to winning,” Montezemolo said. “Almost everything means that we are close to everything.

“It is too long that you do not win or you do not reach the end of the World Championship with the possibility of being able to win.”

Leclerc and Vettel were supposed to begin the 2020 F1 campaign last month at the Australian Grand Prix.

However, the coronavirus pandemic has seen the first eight races of the year called off and the season is now scheduled to start in Canada in June.

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F1 Esports Virtual Grand Prix: What time does it start, driver line-up and how to watch

The second Formula One Virtual Grand Prix takes place on Sunday night with the likes of Lando Norris and George Russell set to be joined by Cricket World Cup hero Ben Stokes.

The inaugural Vietnamese Grand Prix was due to be held this Sunday as the streets of Hanoi transform into a brand new race track, but the outbreak of coronavirus forced F1 to postpone the event. 

The first eight races of the season have all been called off, with doubts over the remainder of the calendar given the global pandemic that has stopped almost all sport from taking place. However, in an effort to fill the void left at the weekends, F1 has vowed to host a series of virtual grands prix that will simulate the actual races on the calendar.

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The problem is that in using the official F1 2019 game, the Hanoi circuit is not available to use, so instead Melbourne’s Albert Park circuit will be used instead in a recreation of the Australian Grand Prix that was due to host the opening race of the season last month.

After the teething problems with the inaugural Virtual Grand Prix two weeks ago, organisers will hope for a much smoother event to avoid the technical issues that saw the Bahrain Grand Prix cut in half due to lengthy delays. But the event still attracted tens of thousands of viewers, with the same expected this time around.


F1 driver line-up 2020





1/21 F1 2020

2/21 Mercedes – Lewis Hamilton (No 44)

3/21 Mercedes – Valtteri Bottas (77)

4/21 Ferrari – Charles Leclerc (16)

5/21 Ferrari – Sebastian Vettel (5)

6/21 Red Bull – Max Verstappen (33)

7/21 Red Bull – Alexander Albon (23)

8/21 McLaren – Carlos Sainz (55)

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1/21 F1 2020

2/21 Mercedes – Lewis Hamilton (No 44)

3/21 Mercedes – Valtteri Bottas (77)

4/21 Ferrari – Charles Leclerc (16)

5/21 Ferrari – Sebastian Vettel (5)

6/21 Red Bull – Max Verstappen (33)

7/21 Red Bull – Alexander Albon (23)

8/21 McLaren – Carlos Sainz (55)

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Here’s everything you need to know about the event.

When is it?

The Virtual Grand Prix takes place on Sunday 5 April.

What time does it start?

The event begins at 8pm BST (9pm CET) and is expected to last around 90 minutes, with a qualifying session followed by a 28-lap race.

Where can I watch it?

The race will be broadcast live on the Formula One YouTube, Twitch and Facebook channels, and will also be shown live on Sky Sports F1 from 8pm. Live coverage will also be available on The Independent’s live blog of the race.

Who’s racing?

Alfa Romeo: Antonio Giovinazzi, Johnny Herbert

Alpha Tauri: Luca Salvadori, Nunzio Todisco

Ferrari Driver Academy Hublot Esports Team: Charles Leclerc, Arthur Leclerc

Haas: Pietro Fittipaldi, Louis Delatraz

McLaren: Lando Norris, Jenson Button

Mercedes: Stoffel Vandoorne, Esteban Gutierrez

Racing Point: Anthony Davidson, Jimmy Broadbent

Red Bull: Alex Albon, Ben Stokes

Renault: Christian Lundgaard, Andrei Heimgartner

Williams: Nicholas Latifi, George Russell

Source: Read Full Article

F1 Virtual GP: Charles Leclerc, Ben Stokes, Jenson Button on the grid

An all-star cast of current and former F1 drivers, up-and-coming youngsters, and a World Cup-winning cricketer will compete in Formula 1’s second Virtual Grand Prix on Sunday night.

Three-time race winner Charles Leclerc, McLaren sensation Lando Norris, 2009 world champion Jenson Button, and England all-rounder Ben Stokes take to the grid in the Esports race live from 8pm on Sky Sports F1, Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports Mix.

It is also being simulcast in the UK and Ireland on Sky F1’s YouTube channel. Plus, follow updates and video clips in the live blog on the website and app – plus on Twitter.

  • What’s it like to race in a Virtual Grand Prix?
  • At Home with Sky F1: Watch All episodes so far

After a successful first outing for the virtual replacement for real grands prix with Bahrain, the second event takes place around Melbourne’s Albert Park – the circuit that would have opened the season on March 15.

This Sunday should have seen the inaugural Vietnam GP take place in Hanoi and, although the F1 2019 PC game used for the virtual events does not include the all-new street circuit, Sunday’s Esports race is officially known as the Virtual Vietnam GP.

Six current F1 drivers – Ferrari’s Leclerc, Red Bull’s Alex Albon, McLaren’s Norris, Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi, and Williams team-mates George Russell and Nicholas Latifi – mean nearly a third of the 2020 grid are represented.

Meanwhile, the Sky F1 contingent of Johnny Herbert and Anthony Davidson from the opening Bahrain event are joined by Button, who has been practicing in various sim events this week.

Button will join Norris in racing for McLaren, the team he drove for in real life between 2010 and 2017.

Who’s driving for who in the Virtual GP?

Stoffel Vandoorne, Mercedes
Esteban Gutierrez, Mercedes
Charles Leclerc, Ferrari
Arthur Leclerc, Ferrari
Alex Albon, Red Bull
Ben Stokes, Red Bull
Lando Norris, McLaren
Jenson Button, McLaren
Christian Lundgaard, Renault
Andre Heimgartner, Renault
Luca Salvadori, AlphaTauri
Nunzio Todisco, AlphaTauri
Anthony Davidson, Racing Point
Jimmy Broadbent, Racing Point
Antonio Giovinazzi, Alfa Romeo
Johnny Herbert, Alfa Romeo
Pietro Fittipaldi, Haas
Louis Deletraz, Haas
George Russell, Williams
Nicholas Latifi, Williams

So I’ve been roped in to taking part in the next Virtual Grand Prix this Sunday Live on @SkySportsF1 . Should be a good laugh, take it easy on this newbie @GeorgeRussell63 @landonorris @Charles_Leclerc @NicholasLatifi @alex_albon 🙏🏽#f1 #everyracelive #skysportsf1 #melbourne pic.twitter.com/0O0FiWwEUV

Virtual GPs: The Sky F1 pundits explain…

Three-time F1 race winner, but Esports novice, Johnny Herbert on adapting to a new racing challenge…

You’ve driven plenty of F1 cars, and on plenty of F1 tracks. How does this compare?
JH:
“It’s never going to be the same to driving an F1 car as it’s a visual feel. It’s a different skill. You have to reprogramme your brain to how the sim is visually giving you the information, because you don’t get any sensations in a physical way. Because of these sensations disappearing, the feeling – for me – was a million miles away at first.

“But as you get used to how the game and the simulator itself works, and your technique gets better, it weirdly shifts round and starts coming back towards the real thing.

“The tracks look great, but do drive a little differently to what I’m used to. There are kerbs for example which you can use when you drive in a car, and in the game you’re thrown straight into the wall! That means you’re doing a line your brain never did.

“I raced an F1 car in Australia so I remember where you could and couldn’t clip kerbs, but in the game there are places that you can clip which are not like it was when I did it for real. So you’ve got to learn where you can clip and then take advantage of the track. A couple of gamers told me if I go through 11 and 12 – which is the very quick left and right flick – you can use a lot of kerb. When I was racing, you could never, ever do that – you’d be straight into the wall.

“It’s all about learning how the game reacts.”

How do you feel about Sunday’s race?
JH:
“I’ve been practicing Grands Prix, so I hope by Sunday I’ve put myself in a better position and better equipped to deal with the sim world that is out there! But it’s challenging. To adapt to it, it takes a lot of time.”

And how different will be Sunday’s event race compared to the first in Bahrain? Mercedes simulator driver Anthony Davidson gives his take…

Will this be a more serious virtual race this weekend?
AD: I think it is (going to be more serious). I participated at the beginning of it two weeks ago, the Virtual Grand Prix Bahrain, there were lots of technical issues, teething problems. But this time around it will be stable and settled.

Source: Read Full Article

Toto Wolff Mercedes future in fresh doubt as Christijan Albers told of ‘hairline cracks’

Toto Wolff and Mercedes chiefs are drifting apart, according to the sources of former F1 driver Christijan Albers. Wolff’s future has been the subject of plenty of speculation with the Mercedes team principal tipped to jump ship to head up Aston Martin’s road car division.

The Austrian this week denied the speculation over a potential link up with Lawrence Stroll at the British car manufacturer was true.

Albers isn’t so sure everything is as rosy as Wolff and Mercedes have made out, however, with the former F1 driver revealing what he’s been told.

“I have heard from my network that hairline cracks are developing at Mercedes,” wrote Albers, in his column for Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf.

“Despite the great performance of the Mercedes team, there are rumours of tension between Wolff and the leadership of Mercedes and the parent company Daimler.”

Albers competed with Mercedes in DTM in the early 2000s, so it’s possible he still has contacts at the German manufacturers.

His comments come after former F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone tipped Wolff to quit Mercedes to work with Stroll following the Canadian’s investment in Aston Martin.

“As far as I know, Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff has long decided to leave Mercedes and join forces with Lawrence Stroll to buy Aston Martin,” Ecclestone told F1-Insider.com. “The two have been traveling inseparably for two years like twins around the world.

“And you have to know about Toto: He was also one of the princes I mentioned, who only thought for themselves and not their employers. Sure, he was successful, but would he have been so without the hybrid engines?”

Wolff has hit back at speculation over his future, however, insisting he is planning to stick with Mercedes going forward.

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“Rumours that I would lead Aston Martin had no basis,” Wolff told Austrian broadcaster ORF. “Collaborating with Daimler in our team is my priority.

“A consortium of investors led by Lawrence Stroll acquired a stake in Aston Martin, which is a financial issue. But any role for me in Aston Martin was out of the question.

“Our team in Formula 1 works perfectly for the Mercedes brand, and everything indicates that we will cooperate for several more years.

“I am with Mercedes for the eighth year and I really like working with this group of people.

“At the same time, I am discussing the future with Ola Kallenius regarding how we will continue to work together.”

Source: Read Full Article

Max Verstappen eyes F1 return as Red Bull ace shines on esports stage after official snub

Max Verstappen can’t wait to get back behind the wheel of his Red Bull RB16 after tiding himself over in the world of esports. Verstappen has swapped his cramped cockpit for a racing rig over the past few weeks after the start of the 2020 F1 season was pushed back due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Dutchman this week underlined his status as one of the world’s top racers by winning the first season of Team Redline’s Real Racers Never Quit series.

Verstappen sealed victory at the Suzuka Circuit, which is set to stage this year’s edition of the Japanese Grand Prix on October 11.

The 22-year-old is a big fan of the track and cannot wait to get back there later this year with his Red Bull team-mates.

“Suzuka is also a cool track,” said Verstappen, after sealing his title win on Friday. “It’s not the easiest track when it comes to following another car, but when it comes to driving it is one of the best tracks in the world.”

Asked about returning to Suzuka for the Japanese Grand Prix, Verstappen said: “We will have to face Ferrari and Mercedes and they are not the easiest to beat. But we have performed well in the past at Suzuka.

EXPERT VIEW: Why esports are key to the future of F1

“First of all, I hope to get to racing this year and then hope to return to Japan as a result of our partnership with [Red Bull engine suppliers] Honda, which makes such a race just a bit more special. You want to achieve a good result for all Honda fans in their home race.”

Verstappen has taken part in Real Racers Never Quit after deciding against driving in the official F1 Esports Virtual Grand Prix series.

The series – the second race of which is on Sunday – utilises the F1 2019 game developed by Codemasters, which Verstappen has admitted he’s not too familiar with.

Asked last month if he’ll compete in the series, Verstappen said: “No, I won’t. Especially since I never play that game.

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“It will take days to understand the game just a little bit better. And I don’t want to get into it right now.

“Also because I’m very busy with the other racing games. So switching between all those games just doesn’t work for me.

“And on top of that I always race to win. I’m not going to drive around somewhere at the back. Then I’d rather not participate at all.”

Verstappen and his F1 rivals face waiting until at least June to get the 2020 season underway, with the first eight races of the campain all called off due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Source: Read Full Article

The Race Legends Trophy: Start time, live stream, driver line-up for Esports event

Dario Franchitti won The Race’s inaugural Legends Trophy race last weekend. The Esports event returns today in a new-look format.

The Legends Trophy pits F1 and motorsport heroes over the age of 40 against one another.

Using the rFactor 2 racing platform, drivers have identical cars specifications and undergo a qualifying period to determine the starting grid.

This weekend, though, the Esports event has been expanded as a double-header with a reverse-grid race.

The Race said on their website: “Another stellar line-up of some of the most highly decorated racing greats from a variety of global motorsport series will again come together to battle it out for the second and third Legends Trophy races on Saturday.

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“In a fresh look to the format, the field will race twice with the second race of the day being conducted with a grid reversed from the first race result.”

What time does the Legends Trophy start?

Qualifying for the first race begins at 5.15pm BST, with the race getting underway at 5.20pm.

The reverse-grid race is scheduled to start at 6.55pm.

How to watch the Legends Trophy

Fans can watch the action live on The Race’s YouTube channel.

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Legends Trophy driver line-up

Emerson Fittipaldi – 2 x Formula 1 World Champion, 2 x Indy 500 wins

Dario Franchitti – 4 x IndyCar Champion, 3 x Indy 500 wins

Juan Pablo Montoya – Monaco Grand Prix winner, 2 x Indy 500 wins, 3 x Rolex 24 wins

Hélio Castroneves – 3 x Indy 500 wins

Emanuele Pirro – 5 x 24 Hours of Le Mans wins

Rubens Barrichello – Ferrari Formula 1 legend, 11 x Formula 1 wins

David Brabham – 24 Hour of Le Mans winner, 2 x IMSA Champion

Gil de Ferran – Indy 500 winner, 2 x IndyCar Champion

Jan Magnussen – 4 x Le Mans 24 Hour winner, 4 x IMSA Champion

https://www.youtube.com/embed/FAezgyNiDII

Max Papis – Formula 1 racer, 3 x IndyCar wins

Adrián Fernández – 11 x IndyCar wins

Olivier Panis – Monaco Formula 1 race winner

Tony Kanaan – Indy 500 winner, IndyCar Champion, 17 IndyCar wins

Tiago Monteiro – Formula 1 racer, 12 x World Touring Car race winner

Andy Priaulx – 3 x World Touring Car Champion

Darren Turner – 3 x 24 Hours of Le Mans winner

Mika Salo – 109 x Formula 1 race starts

Vitantonio Liuzzi – 80 x Formula 1 race starts

Source: Read Full Article

‘Shame on him’: Ricciardo’s isolation sledge

Sporting worlds have collided as F1 superstar Daniel Ricciardo jumped on a chat with AFL gun Nic Naitanui to talk about isolation.

Naitanui has been interviewing people through Instagram Live and mad West Coast Eagles fan Ricciardo was only too happy to jump on.

While many have been struggling with isolation, Ricciardo said he’s in “complete serenity” on his farm in Western Australia and “surrounded by a few animals” with the F1 season up in the air.

Far from the madness of the F1 season, Ricciardo has been continuing to train with his trainer Michael sharing isolation with the driver and keeping in a routine for when he’s called back into action.

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Nic Nat and Danny Ricc have a chat on Instagram.Source:Instagram

While he’s relaxing at home Ricciardo said he was enjoying the routine and wasn’t treating it like a holiday.

“We don’t actually know when we’re going to go and compete again and I think when we do get going, our calendar will be looking pretty hectic and I think they’re going try to condense and squeeze as much as they can until the new year. When I do get that call, I want to be ready.

“I would love June to happen but at the moment, they’ve push or cancelled or postponed everything until mid-June but that’s the perfect world but I think it will be later than that. But you know what it’s like, if you get into holiday mode, you create more work for yourself.”

Naitanui agreed and said it was hard to come back as the players can’t train as a team or have any physical contact.

Daniel Ricciardo loves a laugh.Source:News Corp Australia

And with gyms down, it’s been tough.

But the pair agreed that while the conventional wisdom is that the world would let themselves go Naitanui said “ripped and jacked”, while Ricciardo added the good habits might be a positive after the crisis ends.

But Ricciardo has been making headlines alongside his sporting mates cricketer Marcus Stoinis and snowboarding world champion and Olympian Scottie James with the trio doing physical challenges in their Instagram stories.

Ricciardo and Stoinis have known each other for a long time while the F1 star said he’s known James for a few years but the trio only all met up around Ricciardo’s 30th birthday midway through last year.

“We kind of talk for a while ‘we’ve got to do something at some point’,” Ricciardo said. “So we were like this is probably the perfect time to have a bit of fun and we said lets just do some challenges and some things around the house, get creative, a. it might be funny or interesting and b. it might get some mates or friends or family ideas on how to pass the time a bit more creatively or just for a bit of a laugh.”

In his classic catch video, Ricciardo kicked it off saying “this one’s directed at you Stoin, you big Greek freak, show us what you got”.

Ricciardo brought it as well, taking a one handed speccie with a tennis ball hit with a golf club, while James caught an ice cube in his glass from across the kitchen.

WATCH IN THE VIDEO PLAYER ABOVE

“Stoin is the worst but the best at the same time,” Ricciardo said I feel like some of Stoin’s stuff is so bad it’s good but today’s one is a classic catch, so Scottie and myself have put one up but we’re waiting on Stoin. Him being a cricketer, if his isn’t astronomically good, then shame on him.”

Take that Stoin!Source:News Corp Australia

Stoinis didn’t disappoint, delivering on the production value with series of skits as well as his entry.

While Ricciardo seemed to try to rope Naitanui in as well, he was worried it might escalate.

Ricciardo said it is a worry for the trio.

“Lucky I’ve got Michael to pull my head in,” he said. “I’ve been coming up with ideas and he just keeps shaking his head and is like ‘mate, you’ve still got your contract’.”

As for doing silly things, Naitanui said his contract has restrictions on activities such as bungee jumping while Ricciardo said his contract says he can’t do dangerous activities but that it comes down to what he deems to be dangerous.

He said there are some things he wants to do but he is cautious while under contract.

The pair had a 20-odd minute chat, with Ricciardo trying to convince Naitanui to buy a farm, Joe Exotic and training in isolation.

Any previous answer I gave to ‘who in the world would you like to have dinner with’ can now officially be changed to Joe Exotic aka Tiger King. That is my final answer. Thanks.

Source: Read Full Article

‘Mind blowing’ claim in Hamilton sacrifice

F1 drivers are set to take pay cuts in the near future with the top paid drivers — Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton and Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel — to lead the way.

McLaren have already announced both its drivers Carlos Sainz and Lando Norris had volunteered to slash their wages, earning a reported $A4m and $A1.2m a year.

While it’s a fair chunk of change for the pair, it’s nowhere near the reported $A81.7 and $A71.5 million Hamilton and Vettel take home.

Hamilton is a six-time champion and Vettel a four-time championship winner but The Daily Mail has reported the talks are already under way to save cash for the teams as the substantial financial burden of the coronavirus crisis pinches even the biggest money sports.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – MARCH 12: Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes GP and Sebastian Vettel of Germany and Ferrari react during a press conference during previews ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Australia at Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit on March 12, 2020 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)Source:Getty Images

Millions are on the line as the teams attempt to retain as many jobs as possible with three races already cancelled and another five postponed.

It hasn’t stopped the F1 speculation however with Hamilton’s future at Mercedes again on the line with speculation Mercedes boss Toto Wolff may head to Aston Martin.

Wolff has a great relationship with Racing Point boss Lawrence Stroll, the Canadian billionaire who invested millions of dollars into Aston Martin, with Racing Point to rebrand for the 2021 season.

While Wolff and Mercedes have denied the move, it would leave Hamilton in limbo with the champion admitting his future was tied to Wolff’s.

Hamilton has been strongly linked with Ferrari all through the off-season.

But amid the coronavirus crisis, Hamilton has been more focused on putting out good vibes into the world, promoting healthy hand washing and calling for people to stay inside and pay attention to social distancing measures.

There still seems like there’s a bit up in the air for Hamilton.Source:AAP

He’s also noted a shock benefit to the social distancing in a series of messages on Instagram stories.

“It’s crazy that the world has come to a halt and we’re seeing skies clear up,” he wrote.

“Who know why this is all happening right now but so much to think about for all of us. In 1900 there were less than 2 billion people and now we’re at 7.7 billion and increasing 140 million a year.

“All these stats are mind blowing for me. We’ve just got out of control as a race.

“What’s even more crazy is, in this sad time where we are seeing deaths of over 40,000 from this virus, around 57 million people die every year according to statistics. That would mean more than 150,000 people die everyday worldwide.

“We have so much changing to do, to our habits, decisions we take, how we consume, all sorts. How can we truly change as a human race when we’re so stuck in our ways? Hopefully this global pandemic can help us all change for the better.”

He also posted pictures of clearer air, as well as a CNN story looking at the reported 40-50 per cent reduction in nitrogen dioxide levels in Indian cities Mumbai, Pune and Ahmedabad due to less transport and a slow down in usually high emitting industries.

Lewis Hamilton said it was "mind blowing"Source:Instagram

Lewis Hamilton said it was "mind blowing"Source:Instagram

Hamilton also pointed to a story that said the world will need to produce substantially more food, have greater access to freshwater and more energy.

He said: “My mind is blown. Been a good read today, something new learnt and acknowledged. Super humbling stuff.”

Hamilton follows a vegan, plant-based diet and sold his private jet and some of his luxury cars last year.

Source: Read Full Article

How Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel will cope with Max Verstappen, Charles Leclerc threat

Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel still have what it takes to be the top men in F1 despite the danger posed by young guns Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc. That is the opinion of German racing icon Hans-Joachim Stuck, who thinks his countryman Vettel will be fine if Ferrari’s new SF1000 car is up to scratch.

Hamilton underlined his status as the top driver in F1 last year as he romped to the sixth title of his career.

The 35-year-old won 11 of the 21 Grands Prix in 2019 and will be desperate to match Michael Schumacher’s haul of seven World Drivers’ Championships this year.

Vettel experienced a drop off last time around as he finished fifth in the standings, but showed that on his day he’s still a force to be reckoned with.

Verstappen and Leclerc lead a new generation of drivers hoping to leave multiple-time world champions Hamilton and Vettel in their rear view mirrors.

Former F1 driver Stuck, though, believes the two veterans will cope just fine with what Verstappen, Leclerc and co. can throw at them.

Stuck has, in particular, thrown his backing behind his compatriot Vettel, who ended last season below Ferrari team-mate Leclerc in the drivers’ standings.

“Yes, definitely,” Stuck told German newspaper Express, when asked if Hamilton and Vettel can still hold their own. “All the established racing drivers have experienced what happened to Vettel with Leclerc last year.

“He drove circles around him, but Sebastian picked himself up in the second half of the season. Because the worst thing that can happen to you as a racing driver is that you start to think about why the other one is faster. That costs time. If the new Ferrari is a good fit, I believe he can do anything.”

Vettel’s title drought stretches back to 2014 when he won the last of his four on the spin with Red Bull.

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The 32-year-old’s charge for fresh honours has been put on hold, with the coronavirus pandemic seeing the first eight races of the 2020 campaign called off.

Grands Prix in Australia, China and Monaco have all been cancelled, with the trips to Bahrain, Vietnam, Holland, Spain and Azerbaijan postponed.

F1 chief executive Chase Carey is projecting a maximum 18-race season, set to start in Canada in June, is on the cards.

Some of the races which have been postponed may be rescheduled over the summer after the annual shutdown was brought forward, while the campaign may be extended into December.

Source: Read Full Article

Valtteri Bottas issue identified by Damon Hill as F1 ace plots end to Lewis Hamilton reign

Valtteri Bottas might not be ruthless enough to capitalise on Lewis Hamilton’s one vulnerability. That is the verdict of former Williams driver Damon Hill, who has raised fears the Finn is just too nice to knock Hamilton off his throne.

Bottas will head into the delayed 2020 campaign off the back of going fastest at pre-season testing at the Circuit de Catalunya in February.

The 30-year-old quickly got to grips with the new Mercedes W11 in Spain and will be desperate to show off his quality wherever the coronavirus-hit season begins.

Bottas has been open about his desire to end Hamilton’s reign as the king of F1 and snatch away his team-mate’s crown.

Hill believes Hamilton’s one vulnerability centres on him being made to feel uncomfortable, just as Nico Rosberg managed to do to the Brit in 2016.

However, the 1996 F1 champion cannot see Bottas replicating Rosberg’s craftiness to his advantage as he targets glory at the pinnacle of motorsport.

“I don’t think it’s in Valtteri’s nature,” said Hill, in the March 2020 edition of the official Formula 1 magazine. “I don’t think he has a bad bone in his body.

“If he comes out saying ‘no more Mr Nice Guy’, I still don’t see it. He is a nice guy.

“He is quick, dependable, he has integrity and I don’t think he would want to win by befuddling his opponent.”

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Lewis Hamilton has Mercedes contract dilemma

Valtteri Bottas advised on how to end Lewis Hamilton reign

Lewis Hamilton’s secret to success uncovered

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  • Valtteri Bottas explains why being Lewis Hamilton team-mate is ‘pain’

Bottas and Hamilton were meant to start the 2020 season at the Australian Grand Prix, where they secured a one-two for Mercedes last year.

However, March’s meet in Melbourne was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, which has gone on to claim more than 38,000 lives worldwide.

The Chinese and Monaco Grands Prix have also been axed, while the races in Bahrain, Vietnam, Holland, Spain and Azerbaijan have been postponed.

F1 chief executive Chase Carey revealed last week that he is optimistic about the chances of staging between 15 and 18 Grands Prix this year.

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  • Valtteri Bottas puts pressure on Mercedes ahead of Lewis Hamilton call

The Canadian Grand Prix is now set to be the starting point for the campaign but the trip to Montreal in June may be called off if the coronavirus pandemic is not brought under control.

Amid the chaos caused by the spread of Covid-19, Bottas has stayed focused on his aim of winning the F1 title.

“Goal for the season is to be world champion. Nothing else,” Bottas said.

“In the field, I don’t admire any other driver. If I would, I should stay home, because I’m there to compete against them and to beat them.”

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