F1: Verstappen and Hamilton verbally spar
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Formula One mechanics have been left to ‘work without sleep’ ahead of this week’s Brazilian Grand Prix in Sao Paulo, as teams are scrambling to get their cars ready in time.
Sunday’s race in South America is set to be an important one, after Red Bull driver Max Verstappen pulled 19 points clear of Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton in the drivers’ standings following his win in Mexico last week.
However, the quick turnaround from the Mexican capital to this week in Brazil, has left team mechanics working tirelessly around the clock to ensure their cars are fit and ready to race.
Ahead of the race in Sao Paulo Haas driver Nikita Mazepin gave an insight into just how hard the teams are working.
He said: “The mechanics will have to work without sleep, and tomorrow they will work all day again. That’s a huge workload for them when the weekends are all in a row like this.”
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Following Sunday’s race in Brazil there will again be no rest for the drivers and their teams, as they head straight to the Middle East for the Qatar Grand Prix just seven days later, which will cap off a hectic run of three straight weeks of racing.
As well as a lack of time it seems the constructors were also left with a lack of equipment, as cargo troubles from the voyage between Mexico and Brazil had left mechanics empty handed days before the race.
Shipments from last week’s location were delayed due weather problems in North America, and the issue then stretched deeper when equipment was unable to be flown over due to a pilot shortage.
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According to Grand PX News, a Formula One source said: “It’s not only the limited cargo capacity all around the world, but a shortage of pilots. You can’t just hire new ones.”
Seven-time world champion Hamilton now has it all to do if he is to secure his fifth successive title, and there is no doubt a big performance this week is needed if he is to bridge the ever-expanding gap at the top.
However reports on Thursday suggested the Englishman’s title hopes had taken yet another blow, as he is expected to be handed a grid penalty due to a fifth engine change of the campaign.
Drivers are entitled to three Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) changes per season, however the 2020 world champion is set to make his fifth this week, which will incur him a five-place penalty on the grid.
When questioned on the penalty Hamilton kept his cards close to his chest, and revealed he was unable to comment due to the ongoing cargo problem.
He said: “The engine isn’t even here. That’s why I can’t comment on it.”
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