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Verstappen dismisses possibility of Rosberg-style retirement from Formula 1

Thu, 12/16/2021 - 11:35

2021 F1 world champion Max Verstappen has pledged his commitment to Formula 1, affirming that he is hungry for more titles in the pinnacle of motorsport.

Verstappen became the 34th world champion in the history of F1 at the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix last weekend, and reinforced his desire to remain in the sport for as long as he can.

Felt really good to come home to a factory of World Champions

Thank you to everyone for the warm welcome today and more importantly for your hard work over the past year pic.twitter.com/sex1cJGbJK

— Max Verstappen (@Max33Verstappen) December 15, 2021

“Quitting is never an option,” Verstappen said, quashing any possibility of him retiring on one title.

He continued: “I’m happy to be in Formula 1 and overjoyed to be World Champion. I hope to be able to continue driving for many years to come.”

Speaking about his chances of winning more world titles, Verstappen conceded that it takes more than just talent and racing prowess to become a multiple world champion.

As such, he is pleased with what he has already achieved.

“You certainly need a bit of luck to win the title several times in a row. I have now achieved everything that is possible. Everything that follows now is a bonus.”

Verstappen’s sportsmanship has at times been called into question in 2021 following a handful of polemic incidents with title rival Sir Lewis Hamilton. The pair clashed at the British Grand Prix in July, before a further nasty-looking crash at the Italian Grand Prix further raised tensions between Red Bull and Mercedes.

READ: Gasly ‘really happy’ with Abu Dhabi finish after being ‘on the edge’

Verstappen then forced Hamilton off the circuit in both Brazil and Saudi Arabia, with the latter race playing host to a bizarre braking incident as the Dutchman attempted to allow the seven-time world champion by.

Asked about any adaptations to his approach, Verstappen said he has no intention of giving in to public opinion.

“Well, I don’t plan to change,” he said. “I always want to remain myself. The real Max, who is always straightforward and always honest.”

Verstappen won 10 races in 2021, and passed Hamilton on the final lap of the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix to become champion.

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Categories: F1 News

Gasly ‘really happy’ with Abu Dhabi finish after being ‘on the edge’

Thu, 12/16/2021 - 11:15

Frenchman Pierre Gasly was pleased with his fifth-placed finish in the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, after spending much of the race weekend “on the edge.”

A late Safety Car caused plenty of confusion as only five lapped cars were allowed through, allowing Max Verstappen to take the title from Sir Lewis Hamilton.

As a result of the chaos, Gasly was not entirely sure what was happening on the final lap, but enjoyed it all the same.

“I had an Aston Martin and a Haas, but other guys came by. I didn’t really understand it all but I just tried to pass as many cars as I could on the last lap and managed to get another top five, so I was very very happy with that,” Gasly said.

Officially finished 2021 season was awesome from the first day. Thanks to everyone who was involved and who supported us!! i will miss this office. pic.twitter.com/K9TlvFSogY

— PIERRE GASLY (@PierreGASLY) December 15, 2021

Having struggled with balance of his AlphaTauri on Friday and Saturday, the Frenchman spoke of his car’s improvements on Sunday.

“[The car was] a little bit [better], but I must say it was very difficult to drive, it was sliding a lot, I was on the edge all the time and it was clearly not the best car I have had this season,” he said.

Despite the struggles all weekend, the 25-year-old highlighted the importance of making the best out of a difficult situation.

“The balance was far from what I would have liked but that’s how it is sometimes and at the end of the day, once you’re in the race, you just have to do the best you can with what you have and with your tools, with the driving and everything I do, the corners, the trajectories, everything, I try to maximise it and that’s why I think I’m really happy with the position that we finished in.”

READ: Seidl: ‘We thank Daniel and Lando for their hard work’

Reviewing his haul of 10 points in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Gasly is proud of his endeavour and particularly his overtake on Fernando Alonso.

“I can’t be happier than that to have come back in this way, we took every opportunity, we tried different strategies, I managed to overtake Fernando, even if it was difficult today,”

Gasly finished in the top five on five occasions in 2021, and was proud to get a top-five finish in the curtain-closer at the Yas Marina Circuit.

“I struggled a lot, it wasn’t easy, but I gave it my all and to finish such an incredible season with another top five, having increased our points in the Championship – we came close to Alpine, it’s always difficult to see such a margin after 22 races – but overall what we achieved as a team, when you look at all the previous years of AlphaTauri and Toro Rosso, it’s incredible.”

Gasly, who re-joined the team (which was called Scuderia Toro Rosso at the time) after a torrid half-season with Red Bull in 2019, also spoke of his admiration for his AlphaTauri colleagues.

“So I’m really proud of these guys. And I’m also hopeful for next year and what we can achieve because they have proved this year that they can perform at very high levels.”

Gasly will begin his fourth full season in Formula 1 in 2022, and his third with the AlphaTauri team.

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Categories: F1 News

Seidl: ‘We thank Daniel and Lando for their hard work’

Thu, 12/16/2021 - 10:51

McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl has spoken of his pride at the Woking-based team’s efforts during the 2021 season, labelling it “one of the most exciting seasons” in the history of Formula 1.

Lando Norris finished seventh, while his team-mate Daniel Ricciardo struggled to 12th in the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, diminishing McLaren’s already-dim chances of beating Ferrari to third in the Constructors’ Standings.

Seidl, however, was focusing on the positives of 2021.

“We end a positive season with a tricky and dramatic race. Lando did well to bring the car home in the points after plenty of disruption towards the end of the race,” he said.

“Unfortunately, for Daniel, the timing of the Safety Car limited his opportunity to fight with the Alpines. We thank Daniel and Lando for their hard work this year.

“They’ve helped us score the most points since 2012, secured five podiums, and achieved our first win in nine years.”

Seidl was also eager to recognise the efforts of everyone at the team following the 22-race season – the longest in the sport’s history.

“I’d also like to thank several groups of people for their commitment and dedication after this long season.

“Our race team, who spend their weekends away and sacrifice special moments with loved ones in service to the team, chasing performance at every opportunity, and our team back in Woking for their dedication and support around the clock to put us in the best possible position to perform on track.

“We’re also lucky to have two fantastic simulator and development drivers in Oliver Turvey and Will Stevens. With so many new circuits this year, their work has been even more important.

“To our fans, whose support we feel all around the world, and are the reason we do what we do: we thank you for your continued passion and friendship and we hope you’ve enjoyed following our journey this year.

“To our sponsors, without whom we simply wouldn’t be able to go racing: we value our partnerships and look forward to enjoying more success with you in the near future,” Seidl added.

Despite the highly controversial end to the title-deciding 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Seidl appreciated the efforts of the FIA to create an entertaining season of racing.

4️⃣ pic.twitter.com/ItIEsEIsJf

— Lando Norris (@LandoNorris) December 12, 2021

“To F1 and the FIA, who have worked exceptionally hard to deliver this season under tricky circumstances: that work has been rewarded with one of the most exciting seasons in memory.

“At the same time, we thank the outgoing FIA President Jean Todt for his service to our sport and wish his successor well.”

The 45-year-old believes his team did a marvellous job of coping with the switch from Renault to Mercedes power this season – the first time McLaren have used Mercedes engines since 2014.

“Coming into the 2021 season, one of the biggest changes for our team was the change of engine supplier. With the help of Mercedes HPP, we’ve been able to successfully implement this new power unit into our car, helping us deliver our first win since 2012.

READ: Formula 1 to conduct ‘analysis’ on Abu Dhabi Safety Car restart

“We also thank Pirelli for their hard work and collaboration, all while developing brand new 18-inch tyres for the new regulations next year.”

He concluded: “Finally, it’s been an incredibly exciting year of Formula 1, and as a team we’re proud of the progress we’re making and the journey we’re on. We’re ready to take on the new regulations in 2022 as we embark on this new era of Formula 1.”

Norris and Ricciardo managed five podiums between them this year, finish sixth and eighth in the Drivers’ Championship, respectively.

Ricciardo’s victory at the 2021 Italian Grand Prix was the team’s first P1 finish since the Brazilian Grand Prix of 2012.

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Categories: F1 News

Formula 1 to conduct ‘analysis’ on Abu Dhabi Safety Car restart

Thu, 12/16/2021 - 09:41

Formula 1 has announced it will investigate the highly controversial Safety Car restart that ultimately decided the 2021 championship.

With Sir Lewis Hamilton leading Max Verstappen by a comfortable margin in the dying laps of the title-decider last weekend, a Nicholas Latifi crash prompted a late Safety Car.

In the event that the race would not be restarted, Mercedes decided not to pit Hamilton in order to maintain track position – confident there would be insufficient time to allow lapped cars through.

Race director Michael Masi initially ruled that lapped car would not be allowed by, before suddenly decreeing ahead of the final lap that only the five cars between Hamilton and Verstappen would be let past. The others, however, were left in the midst of the pack.

READ: ‘I can be a forgiving person’ – Verstappen on Mercedes appeal

This allowed Verstappen to pass Hamilton on the very last lap of the race, claiming the championship and sparking ire among Mercedes and many fans.

Mercedes protested Verstappen’s Safety Car restart as well as Masi’s decisions leading up to the final lap, but they were rejected.

Mercedes later lodged an intention to appeal, before announcing that they wouldn’t be appealing the results of the 2021 Abu Dhabi GP.

McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo was one of the lapped cars not allowed through, and was thus denied a chance to climb into the points.

He took to the radio after the race to say: “I’m glad I’m not part of that, whatever just happened. Seemed, uh, pretty f***** up.”

The FIA later released a statement that they intend to investigate the chain of events that led to the contentious end to the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

“The circumstances surrounding the use of the Safety Car following the incident of driver Nicholas Latifi, and the related communications between the FIA Race Direction team and the Formula 1 teams, have notably generated significant misunderstanding and reactions from Formula 1 teams, drivers and fans, an argument that is currently tarnishing the image of the Championship and the due celebration of the first Drivers’ World Championship title won by Max Verstappen and the eighth consecutive Constructors’ World Championship title won by Mercedes.

pic.twitter.com/uV83r7a2oZ

— Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team (@MercedesAMGF1) December 12, 2021

“This matter will be discussed and addressed with all the teams and drivers to draw any lessons from this situation and clarity to be provided to the participants, media, and fans about the current regulations to preserve the competitive nature of our sport while ensuring the safety of the drivers and officials.

“It is not only Formula 1 that may benefit from this analysis, but also more generally all the other FIA circuit championships.

“Following that presentation and an extensive discussion, the World Council has decided to unanimously support the President’s proposal.

“The FIA will therefore do its utmost to have this in motion within the Formula 1 governance and will propose to the Formula 1 Commission to give a clear mandate for study and proposal to the Sporting Advisory Committee, with the support of Formula 1 drivers, so that any identified meaningful feedback and conclusions be made before the beginning of the 2022 season.”

Verstappen will be crowned champion at tonight’s FIA Prize-Giving Gala in Paris.

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Categories: F1 News

‘If you look too far back, you’ll get a sore neck’ – Ricciardo

Thu, 12/16/2021 - 09:32

Daniel Ricciardo has maintained that he does not have any regrets about leaving Red Bull at the end of 2018.

Max Verstappen became the first-ever Dutch F1 world champion after winning Sunday’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, having signed with the Milton Keynes-based outfit in 2016 and raced alongside Ricciardo for two-and-a-half years.

The Australian, who won seven races with Red Bull, insisted before the start of the weekend there are no hard feelings between himself and his former employers.

“Looking at Max this year, I 100 percent don’t feel any envy, jealousy or weirdness to him or the team. Weirdly enough, I’d be very, very happy for them!” Ricciardo told ESPN ahead of the season finale.

READ: ‘They don’t want to look like bad losers’: Mercedes to ‘back off’ from appeal

Ricciardo suffered eight retirements in his final year at Red Bull with six of them arriving through mechanical failures.

Red Bull’s switch to Honda power the year following Ricciardo’s departure saw a massive pace improvement for Red Bull, but he has not put any thought into what he could have achieved had he been at the team in 2021.

“I don’t have any [regrets]. People probably thought ‘I wonder what Daniel thought this year, would he also have been fighting for a championship?

“Up until right now I haven’t actually thought about that. I think it’s hard to answer in a way that… the easiest way to say it is, I really did, and not in a negative way, I detached myself from it.”

The 32-year-old spent two years with Renault, scoring two podiums during the 2020 season, before joining McLaren in 2021, winning in Monza and finishing eighth in the Drivers’ Standings.

Once he left Red Bull, his gaze immediately turned to his future, he said.

“Once I closed the book with Red Bull I really tried to put all my energy into the next part. I really didn’t have any over-hanging, like, what could’ve, what should’ve.

“I remember through the decision process I even told myself, ‘can I live with myself if, in 2019, Red Bull win the championship? How is that going to make me feel?'”

Fresh kicks for @DanielRicciardo. pic.twitter.com/wiCxtG3ZwY

— McLaren (@McLarenF1) December 14, 2021

Ricciardo was out-qualified 34 times in 58 races while partnering the Dutchman, and said of his switch to Renault that everything has a purpose.

“So I’d already addressed those things. And now we’re obviously a few years removed from that. I definitely don’t have any… I’m not really that spiritual or whatever you wanna call it, but I do think things happen for a reason.”

As a result, he does not feel that staying at the team would have yielded a more positive outcome.

“From that I don’t really feel like if I stayed maybe things would have been different. I don’t really feel that. I don’t think like oh ‘what could have been, I could have been double world champ by now’, or whatever. I used to think like that when I was younger but I feel like obviously the decision I made, I gave a lot of thought and I had to move on with that.”

He also revealed some advice from his father, telling him to spend no time dwelling on the past.

“This wasn’t even for that specific situation, but my dad told me something when I was young. He said ‘if you look too far back, you’ll get a sore neck’. It’s true, once you make a decision and once you make a decision you thought long and hard about, I think it’s important that you move forward with that”.

Ricciardo will enter his eleventh full season in Formula 1 next year, and is out of contract with McLaren at the end of 2022.

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Categories: F1 News

Mercedes skip FIA Champions’ photoshoot

Thu, 12/16/2021 - 09:00

Neither the Mercedes Formula 1 nor Formula E teams made an appearance at the pre-ceremony photoshoot on Tuesday night, ahead of the FIA Prize-Giving Gala on Thursday.

Mercedes claimed their eighth straight Formula 1 Constructors Championship along with both the Team and Drivers’ Championships in Formula E. 

The Mercedes-EQ Formula E Team is now a double World Champion as Nyck de Vries wins the Drivers' Title and the team taking home the Teams' Championship. This is a win for our ambition towards an all-electric future.#WeDriveTheCity
: @MercedesEQFE, @nyckdevries, @svandoorne pic.twitter.com/gFGJQvUPno

— Mercedes-Benz UK (@MercedesBenzUK) August 17, 2021

However, as of Tuesday, the team were still in the midst of the process to appeal protests lodged after the controversial ending of the 2021 Abu Dhabi GP. The two protests launched by the team were dismissed but the Silver Arrows had until Thursday to file an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). 

Incidentally that happens to be the day of the FIA Prize Giving Gala. 

However, on Thursday morning, Mercedes released a statement saying they would be withdrawing their appeal.

The team said that they “appealed in the interest of sporting fairness, and we have since been in a constructive dialogue with the FIA and Formula 1 to create clarity for the future, so that all competitors know the rules under which they are racing, and how they will be enforced.”

READ: ‘They don’t want to look like bad losers’: Mercedes to ‘back off’ from appeal

Continuing, they said: “Thus, we welcome the decision by the FIA to install a commission to thoroughly analyse what happened in Abu Dhabi and to improve the robustness of rules, governance and decision making in Formula 1.

“We also welcome that they have invited the teams and drivers to take part.
 
“The Mercedes-AMG Petronas team will actively work with this commission to build a better Formula 1 – for every team and every fan who loves this sport as much as we do.

“We will hold the FIA accountable for this process and we hereby withdraw our appeal.”

Verstappen will collect his first World Drivers’ Championship trophy in Paris on Thursday. Red Bull are celebrating their first Driver’s Championship since Sebastian Vettel won the F1 crown in 2013. 

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Mercedes withdraw Abu Dhabi appeal, congratulate Verstappen on championship

Thu, 12/16/2021 - 05:40

Mercedes have decided to withdraw their appeal against the result of the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, confirming Max Verstappen as champion.

Sir Lewis Hamilton and Verstappen entered the final round of the season level on points following a thrilling season of racing, and Verstappen took pole for the final grand prix of 2021.

Hamilton flew past him at the start and, despite Sergio Perez’s best efforts, was comfortably leading out front.

With a handful of laps remaining, however, Williams’ Nicholas Latifi put his car in the wall and brought out the Safety Car, allowing the Dutchman to pit for a fresh set of soft tyres.

Concerned about the possibility of the race not restarting, Mercedes opted not to pit Hamilton in order to maintain track position. They were also confident that lapped cars would have insufficient time to pass the Safety Car.

Race director Michael Masi initially ruled that none of the lapped cars in the field would be permitted to go through, but following pressure from Red Bull, Masi made an unprecedented decision.

READ: ‘I can be a forgiving person’ – Verstappen on Mercedes appeal

He let the five cars between Verstappen and Hamilton go through, but due to time constraints held the rest of the lapped runners – this seemed to be in contradiction of Formula 1’s regulations.

Verstappen then passed Hamilton on the final lap, winning the championship as a result.

Mercedes protested the stewards’ decisions, as well as what they believed was an illegal restart by Verstappen, but saw both of them denied.

Moments later, they lodged an intention to appeal, but they have today withdrawn this.

In a statement, the Mercedes F1 Team said: “We left Abu Dhabi in disbelief of what we had just witnessed. Of course, it’s part of the game to lose a race, but it’s something different when you lose faith in racing.
 
“Together with Lewis, we have deliberated carefully over how to respond to the events at the Formula 1 season finale.

“We have always been guided by our love of this sport and we believe that every competition should be won on merit. In the race on Sunday many felt, us included, that the way things unfolded was not right.
 
“The reason we protested the race result on Sunday was because the Safety Car regulations were applied in a new way that affected the race result, after Lewis had been in a commanding lead and on course to win the World Championship.”

Team Statement – Abu Dhabi Grand Prix pic.twitter.com/tgrBjrNkcz

— Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team (@MercedesAMGF1) December 16, 2021

Continuing, the Silver Arrows stressed that they “appealed in the interest of sporting fairness, and we have since been in a constructive dialogue with the FIA and Formula 1 to create clarity for the future, so that all competitors know the rules under which they are racing, and how they will be enforced.

“Thus, we welcome the decision by the FIA to install a commission to thoroughly analyse what happened in Abu Dhabi and to improve the robustness of rules, governance and decision making in Formula 1.

“We also welcome that they have invited the teams and drivers to take part.
 
“The Mercedes-AMG Petronas team will actively work with this commission to build a better Formula 1 – for every team and every fan who loves this sport as much as we do.

“We will hold the FIA accountable for this process and we hereby withdraw our appeal.”

Congratulations, Max!

Mercedes also took the opportunity to finally congratulate Verstappen and Red Bull on winning the 2021 Drivers’ Championship.

“To Max Verstappen and Red Bull Racing: we would like to express our sincere respect for your achievements this season,” they added in their statement.

“You made this Formula 1 Championship title fight truly epic. Max, we congratulate you and your entire team. We look forward to taking the fight to you on the track next season.
 
“And lastly, even though this Drivers’ Championship did not end the way we hoped, we could not be prouder of our team.
 
“Lewis, you are the greatest racer in the history of Formula 1 and you drove your heart out for every lap of this incredible season. You’re a flawless sportsman on and off the track and you delivered a faultless performance. As a pure competitor and as a role model for millions around the world, we salute you.
 
“Valtteri, you have been such an important part of this team, delivering five Constructors’ Championships in five seasons. Thank you for your remarkable contribution to our motorsport history. Kiitos, Valtteri.
 
“Finally, to every one of the skilled and passionate women and men of the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team in Brackley and High Performance Powertrains in Brixworth: you’ve written an historic chapter in the Silver Arrow story by winning the eighth Constructors’ Championship – in a row.

“This is an unprecedented achievement. In simple words: it’s awesome. You are awesome,” they concluded.

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‘I can be a forgiving person’ – Verstappen on Mercedes appeal

Thu, 12/16/2021 - 05:09

Max Verstappen remains undeterred by threats of a Mercedes appeal against the 2021 world championship, maintaining that it will not stop him feeling like the world champion.

Verstappen became the first Dutch champion in Formula 1 history last weekend, after a late Safety Car led to a controversial and race-altering decision by race director Michael Masi.

Masi allowed five lapped cars to pass Sir Lewis Hamilton, giving Verstappen, who had pitted for fresh tyres, a clear path to dispatch Hamilton on the final lap and earn his first title.

Mercedes protested Masi’s decisions after the race and, upon seeing their protests rejected, lodged their intention to formally appeal the result.

READ: ‘They don’t want to look like bad losers’: Mercedes to ‘back off’ from appeal

Commenting on the appeal and the risk of him being stripped of his F1 crown, Verstappen said: “Well, I’m fine. I don’t even think about it too much, because I do feel like the world champion, and it doesn’t matter what they try to do.”

The 24-year-old said that the threat of an appeal is not on his mind, and that his victory was a fair one.

“We won it on track, we won it when there was a green flag, green light, and we passed them on track.

“They will never be able to take that away from me anyway, but also about the possible appeal or whatever, I’m not busy with that. As a team, it can be disturbing but, for us, we have been really enjoying the last few days.”

Asked about his relationship with Mercedes, Verstappen said he will not hold the appeal over the German manufacturer, and has no interest in sparking further debate.

“I think I can be a forgiving person or whatever but, at the moment, it’s still so new from the season that it’s better not to talk about it too much.”

Verstappen also confirmed that he never lost any respect for anyone at Mercedes, citing a dinner he had sat next to Mercedes boss Toto Wolff.

“But, for example, I saw Toto in Monaco, before Saudi Arabia, I had dinner and he was sitting at the table next to me, and we had a chat.”

How it started how it’s going

Took a few days to let what happened last Sunday sink in. Thank you to everyone for all your support and kind messages pic.twitter.com/i2kplMU4NY

— Max Verstappen (@Max33Verstappen) December 14, 2021

The new world champion empathises with Wolff’s unsavoury reaction to the final moments of the race in Abu Dhabi, but suggested that the Austrian should let it go.

“He’s flat out for his team and I know that my team also does everything they can but, besides that, I do think you should be accepting a loss. It doesn’t matter how much it hurts.”

He also commented that appealing a race result is not an avenue his Red Bull team would go down, saying: “I do think there that there is a bit of a difference between the teams.”

Mercedes have not publicly congratulated Verstappen on his success since they are appealing the result in a bid to get a record eighth title for Hamilton, and Verstappen is unmoved.

“Well, no, it’s not surprising, just because of how the season already panned out up until the last race.

“It’s just another bit. I mean, my view will not change. It’s pretty much the same.”

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Categories: F1 News

‘Strange feeling’ for Russell after first test as a Mercedes driver

Wed, 12/15/2021 - 17:19

Williams driver George Russell has reflected on his maiden test as a Mercedes Formula 1 driver.

Russell will replace Valtteri Bottas as team-mate of seven-time world champion Sir Lewis Hamilton for the 2022 season.

But, before the next season starts, Russell took to the cockpit of the 2019 Mercedes F1 car on the new 18-inch Pirelli tyres that will be used for the 2022 season. 

Russell enjoyed the experience but said it was comparatively “strange” to the other times he has driven for Mercedes. 

“It’s a strange feeling because I’ve tested with the team numerous times after races, end of season, but here we are again but obviously this is my first time as an official driver for the team,” Russell said.

Settling in. pic.twitter.com/DVfd3lzvax

— George Russell (@GeorgeRussell63) December 14, 2021

Of course this is not the first time Russell has been in a Mercedes car. He most notably stepped into the car after Hamilton’s positive COVID-19 test took him out of the 2020 Sakhir Grand Prix. 

Russell also seemed to be positive about the new tyres that drivers will be racing on. 

READ: F1 fans launch petition to make Lewis Hamilton 2021 World Champion

“It was a really great day to be back with the guys and learning about these new tyres,” he said.

“It’s always a pleasant experience driving a World Championship-winning car, the 2019 Mercedes, and with these 18-inch Pirellis, which seem to be reacting pretty positively – so it was a nice day.

“It felt pretty nice to drive, to be honest,” he added. “I mean, it’s going to be very different next year as the cars are going to be drastically changed compared to these current cars.

“So there’s not an awful lot you can take away from it but nevertheless, they do react pretty differently to the 13-inch tyres that we’ve raced on previously. Let’s hope that carries through into next year and see how they react with the new regulations.”

The 2021 season is barely over, but excitement is already building for the new year.

Russell and Mercedes, alongside Hamilton, look to be in a strong position going forward and will be hoping to extend their dominance of Formula 1 into the sport’s new era. 

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‘They don’t want to look like bad losers’: Mercedes to ‘back off’ from appeal

Wed, 12/15/2021 - 14:21

Mercedes may renege on their intended appeal of the results of the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Sky F1 commentator David Croft has opined.

Mercedes were infuriated when race director Michael Masi allowed just five lapped cars to go through past the Safety Car, clearing the path for Max Verstappen to pass Sir Lewis Hamilton and claim his first world title in a dramatic final lap.

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff seethed on the radio to Masi, and the Austrian refused to speak to the media following the season finale.

Having seen an initial protest of Masi’s decision rejected by the stewards, Mercedes instantly lodged an intention to appeal at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), but Croft believes that this would be in bad taste.

“It sounds like Mercedes will probably back off from a further appeal, they don’t want to look like bad losers,” he told Sky F1.

READ: Charles Leclerc hoping for stronger Ferrari next year

Croft also stated that Mercedes should focus on celebrating their Constructors’ Championship success in 2021, and he suggested that appealing the results of the Abu Dhabi GP would damage Formula 1’s reputation.

“They have a championship to celebrate, they are Constructors’ Champions for a record-breaking eighth consecutive time.

“They don’t to drag this on and damage the reputation of the sport, they just want to give the man they think should be champion the best chance of being champion. They felt robbed by what happened.”

Furthermore, the commentator who joined Sky in 2012, sees an appeal as a mountain that Mercedes cannot climb.

“To put it in simple context, if it was to go to the FIA Court of Appeal, Mercedes would have to overturn the result of the stewards, the result of the race and the result of the championship. That is a pretty big ask.”

MAX VERSTAPPEN. WORLD CHAMPION!!!

A stunning season by an extraordinary talent#HistoryMade #F1 @Max33Verstappen pic.twitter.com/FxT9W69xJe

— Formula 1 (@F1) December 12, 2021

As a result, Croft maintains that the appeal is very likely to fail and Mercedes should back down.

“I can’t see it happening and I don’t think there is a precedent for three big events like that to be overturned and I don’t think Mercedes will continue on with this appeal.”

Verstappen is set to be officially crowned 2021 F1 World Champion during Thursday’s FIA Prize Giving Gala.

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‘What An Idiot!’ Verstappen Furious With Perez For ‘Destroying’ His Final Quali Lap

Sat, 11/06/2021 - 17:48

Championship leader Max Verstappen has hit out at his Red Bull team-mate Sergio Perez for compromising his final lap in qualifying.

The Dutchman will start tomorrow’s Mexican Grand Prix third on the grid, ahead of the two Mercedes of Sir Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas, who will line up P2 and P1, respectively.

Perez was sent out ahead of Verstappen on their final Q3 run to give the Dutchman a slipstream, but the Mexican went off the circuit in the middle sector after Yuki Tsunoda ran wide and seemingly distracted him.

This compromised Verstappen, as he was expecting a yellow flag and therefore decided to lift off, preventing him from improving on his previous effort.

Hamilton Calls For Respect Following #Verstappen Calling Him A ‘Stupid Idiot’ https://t.co/SKHdtlV6K9

— Formula1News.co.uk (@Formula1newsUK) November 5, 2021

After the incident, the Dutchman got on the team radio and said: “Honestly, what an idiot.”

He was seemingly referring to Perez, though he could have been referring to Tsunoda for triggering the incident.

Speaking after qualifying, a frustrated Verstappen said the incident ruined his final Q3 run.

“Yeah, it seemed like through qualifying the balance went away a little bit. But then on the last lap, I was on for a good lap but I don’t know what happened in front of me, but there was two guys going off in front of me,” he said.

“So I thought there was going to be a yellow flag, so I backed out and of course the lap was destroyed.”

Continuing, he said that starting third is “not amazing” but better than starting in P2.

The Dutch ace will go into the 2021 Mexican Grand Prix with a 12-point advantage over Sir Lewis Hamilton at the top of the Drivers’ Standings.

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Marko Says Max Verstappen Is ‘Definitely’ Faster Than Lewis Hamilton

Sat, 11/06/2021 - 17:03

Max Verstappen is “definitely” faster than Sir Lewis Hamilton and has better car control than the seven-time World Champion, senior Red Bull advisor Dr Helmut Marko has said.

Hamilton and Verstappen look set to be the two Championship protagonists this year, marking the first time the pair will be able to go toe-to-toe over the course of a season.

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Red Bull seem to have the superior car and they typically outperform their rivals when it comes to in-season development, but Mercedes appear to be close enough to keep the Championship battle interesting and potentially take it right down to the wire in Abu Dhabi.

Speaking after the 2021 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, which Verstappen won to reduce his deficit to Hamilton in the standings to a single point, Dr Marko insisted that the Dutch ace has more raw pace than the Mercedes driver.

YES BOYS, very happy with this win! It was tricky out there! Simply lovely performance #ImolaGP pic.twitter.com/bbgft9hfVL

— Max Verstappen (@Max33Verstappen) April 18, 2021

“The two will decide the title among themselves. They are at eye-level but way ahead of everyone else,” Dr Marko said.

“If we can keep on delivering a car that will keep up with Mercedes, Max can do it. In any case, it will be extremely exciting.”

READ: Russell Suggests A Footballer Would’ve Reacted Differently To Bottas ‘Slap’

Continuing, the Austrian said: “When it comes to car control and speed, Max is definitely ahead.

“But Lewis has more experience. That is still in the balance at the moment.

“Max learns something new with every race. He is still young. Mistakes are more likely to happen, even if they become fewer and fewer.”

READ: ‘All 3 Rookies Are Making Mistakes’: Ex-F1 Driver Slams ‘Ridiculous’ Testing Restrictions

Earlier this year, Red Bull team principal Christian Horner claimed that George Russell’s strong stand-in performance for Hamilton at Mercedes in Bahrain last season “confirmed” that Verstappen is the best driver on the current F1 grid.

“I think he is the best, yes. Russell’s performance at Mercedes confirmed that for me,” Horner said.

“Max and Lewis stand out for me, but while we absolutely should not be blind to all that Hamilton has achieved, he does have access to a good package while Max has to get more and more out of his car.

“You can see that by the fact that a driver from Williams qualified directly on the front row of the grid and almost won the race.

“If someone had to get into Max’s car, if he had coronavirus, they would never reach his level of performance,” the Red Bull team principal added.

Continuing, Horner described Verstappen’s qualifying pace as “extraordinary” and said “his race craft is excellent, along with his tyre management.”

READ: ‘That Was Just Unfortunate For Him’: Nikita Mazepin On Latifi’s Imola Crash

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Horner Fires Back At Wolff: He Should Mind His Own Business

Sat, 11/06/2021 - 16:22

Christian Horner has said Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff should mind his own business after the Austrian suggested that the VW Group may partner Red Bull in the coming years.

Wolff made the remarks after it was recently announced that Red Bull had poached a senior Mercedes engineer for their newly formed powertrains division, which was created in the wake of Honda announcing its exit from Formula 1.

READ: Ex-Mercedes Engine Chief Unlikely To Join Red Bull PU Division

Reacting to Wolff’s comments, which were made after Free Practice One (FP1) at Portimao for this weekend’ Portuguese Grand Prix, Horner said:

“Toto always thinks he knows what’s going on with others. Maybe he should mind his own business.

“We’re building a fantastic facility, and have attracted some great talent. 

“It’s all happening on campus, and the project is fully integrated with chassis development.”

He added that “outside of Ferrari, we are the only team that has that.”

Continuing, Horner admitted that their power unit could be branded in the name of a car-maker in the future, but he denied any such talks having already started.

“The name of the engine is another matter. At the moment there are no talks going on about that and the focus is on the Red Bull engine.

“But in the future it could be anything,” Horner added.

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Just How Bad Is Nikita Mazepin?

Sat, 11/06/2021 - 16:02

It’s fair to say Nikita Mazepin’s first two race weekends in Formula 1 were poor, with him crashing out of his debut in Bahrain after just a matter of seconds and being the only driver to finish last weekend’s Emilia Romagna Grand Prix two laps down on the leaders.

The F1 community has been quick to mock Mazepin for his poor start to life in the pinnacle of motorsport, with his numerous spins resulting in him being dubbed “Mazespin” on social media.

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This is unsurprising, as he became public enemy number one after he groped a model in December, and given the fact that, frankly speaking, he is only in Formula 1 because of his father’s financial backing.

But, how bad really is the controversial Russian and does he deserve his place in Formula 1?

Hundreds more laps in the bank We go away to study and take a few more steps forward in Portimão next week #HaasF1 pic.twitter.com/g0eQFgRoos

— Haas F1 Team (@HaasF1Team) April 19, 2021

His first two races certainly add weight to the argument that he doesn’t belong on the F1 grid, but it’s important to remember that Haas have the worst car this season – and their 2021 challenger seems to be very difficult to stay on top of.

This has been evidenced by Mazepin’s team-mate, Mick Schumacher, also struggling with Haas’ 2021 car and having several spins and incidents of his own, both in Bahrain and Imola.

Nevertheless, it has to be noted that the Russian has made far more mistakes than Schumacher, and things also look bad for Mazepin when you compare their qualifying records in Formula 1.

Schumacher has outqualified his team-mate at both of the opening two grand prix of the season, with the German outqualifying Mazepin by eight-tenths of a second at Bahrain and around half-a-second at Imola.

READ: ‘That Was Just Unfortunate For Him’: Nikita Mazepin On Latifi’s Imola Crash

In equal machinery, such margins are a cause for concern, especially when you consider the fact that Schumacher wasn’t particularly impressive in qualifying in his junior career (he didn’t secure a single pole position in his Championship-winning Formula 2 campaign last year, for example.)

And, even when it comes to race pace, Schumacher isn’t a very strong benchmark for Mazepin, as throughout his junior single-seater career, he hasn’t performed at a very high level in his first season in any given category.

As for Mazepin’s own junior career, he finished fifth in the F2 standings last year, third in the 2019-2020 F3 Asian Championship, and second in the 2018 GP3 Series.

But, the rest of his single-seater campaigns were fairly poor – and he is currently the only driver on the F1 grid who has never won a Championship in his entire racing career, even in go-karts.

So, it’s difficult to argue that Mazepin does deserve his place in Formula 1, but with 21 races of this season to go and Haas unlikely to fire him at the end of 2021 regardless of how badly he performs, he certainly has plenty of time to prove me wrong.

READ: Ex-F1 Driver Claims Lewis Hamilton ‘Often Makes Mistakes’

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Schumacher Slams Valtteri Bottas For Lack Of Pace & Bad Attitude

Sat, 11/06/2021 - 15:55

Ex-F1 racer Ralf Schumacher has criticised Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas for his lack of pace at Imola and his attitude following his high-impact collision with George Russell.

The pair collided at Tamburello as Bottas was defending against the Williams driver for P9 in the 2021 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.

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Following the multi-impact collision, Bottas and Russell exchanged words and were evidently less than pleased with each other.

Russell eventually posted an apology on social media on Monday evening, but Schumacher nevertheless believes Bottas needs to do better if he wants to have any chance of still being a Mercedes driver next season.

“Bottas has to ask himself why he has to defend himself against a Williams,” Schumacher wrote in his latest column for Sky Germany.

“George’s speculation that Valtteri acted like this because of the special scenario – Russell is a Mercedes junior and has ambitions for the Bottas cockpit – Toto Wolff dismissed as ‘bullsh*t’.

READ: Kravitz Criticises Russell & Bottas For Disrespectful Behaviour At Tamburello

“At over 300 km/h Bottas certainly doesn’t want to play games, but he certainly didn’t want to let Russell just pass by either. And I didn’t like his attitude in the interviews that followed.

“In general, he has to ask himself why he had to defend himself against a Williams while lying deep in midfield.

“He’s been on a similar level to Hamilton so many times, but he’s a long way off at the moment.

“At Mercedes, they try to explain it with a lack of grip on Botta’s rear axle – for me, the entire Valtteri Bottas package currently lacks grip.

“There has to be more to come, otherwise he will quickly be sidelined,” he warned.

READ: WADA Still Investigating Haas’ 2021 Russian Livery

Not my day today

Half decent shunt. No points so disappointed. Taking any positives I can from the weekend and move on!#VB77 #F1 #Imola @MercedesAMGF1
@KymIllman pic.twitter.com/TNln8YypKU

— Valtteri Bottas (@ValtteriBottas) April 18, 2021

Discussing the crash between Bottas and Russell, Schumacher said he believes “neither is blameless.”

“The question of guilt has and will certainly be discussed a lot. Neither of them is blameless.

“That is how the FIA ​​race stewards, who did not issue a penalty, saw it. Of course it was very ambitious for George to overtake a Mercedes in his Williams at this point.

“Big risk, but Valtteri just had to expect someone to come. Russell was behind him – he knew that – even with the DRS open – he can’t twitch over like that, because then the track is simply too narrow for two cars.

“Bottas was startled, withdrew again, by then it was already too late. Russell had reacted to his twitching, had swerved to the right, came onto the wet grass, turned to the left and cleared Bottas with him.”

READ: Former F1 Team Boss Warns Stroll-Wolff Combo Is ‘Very Dangerous’ For Vettel

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Red Bull Explain Why Verstappen Didn’t Set Fastest Lap

Sat, 11/06/2021 - 15:49

Senior Red Bull advisor Dr Helmut Marko has explained why Max Verstappen didn’t push harder to score an extra point by setting the fastest lap of the 2021 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.

The Dutch ace’s Championship rival, Sir Lewis Hamilton, managed to claim the extra point, giving him a one-point lead over Verstappen in the Drivers’ Standings after round two of the season.

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Explaining why Verstappen didn’t try harder to set the fastest lap at Imola, Dr Marko said they were wary of pushing too hard, especially as Hamilton had DRS at his disposal towards the end of the race which helped him set the fastest lap of the grand prix.

“Hamilton had a DRS advantage of around four tenths on his [fastest] lap,” Dr Marko said.

“We didn’t want to risk anything and would rather celebrate a victory.”

Verstappen ultimately crossed the finish line in P1 with a comfortable margin over Hamilton, who was satisfied to recover to second after falling to P9 following a mistake while trying to lap the Williams of George Russell at the Tosa hairpin.

The seven-time World Champion benefitted from the race being red-flagged shortly after his adventure into the gravel trap, but he nevertheless had to pull off plenty of overtakes to finish just behind Verstappen and maintain the Championship lead by the narrowest of margins.

Today was incredibly tough. Glad that both George and Valterri were able to walk away ok. Huge congrats to Max, he did an awesome job and to Lando, great to see you and the team up on the podium. pic.twitter.com/uQUEKz2XKc

— Lewis Hamilton (@LewisHamilton) April 18, 2021

Speaking after the race, Hamilton owned up to his mistake and said he wasn’t sure if he would be able to make overtakes stick following the restart, as the track was still drying.

“I guess I was in a bit too much of a hurry to get by everyone,” Hamilton said.

READ: EXCLUSIVE: Ex-F1 CTO Casts Doubt On Mercedes & Aston Martin’s Low-Rake Performance Claim

“I was a bit unfortunate. There was only one dry line. I came into the inside and I could see it was wet.

“I was trying to stop but the thing wouldn’t stop and it sent me off.

“I’m really, really grateful that we got to get going again, and to get some points for the team is really important today.

“I didn’t know whether or not we’ll be able to overtake, because again offline was going to be wet.

“You don’t have time to dwell on it, so that’s what I did – got back into racing spirit. We still had some really good fun battles with all the guys.”

READ: Norris: Leclerc Should’ve Overtaken Verstappen When He Was ‘Out Of Control’

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Categories: F1 News

Mercedes Will Force Valtteri Bottas To Be Lewis Hamilton’s Wingman

Sat, 11/06/2021 - 15:15

The Mercedes F1 Team is likely to throw its weight behind Sir Lewis Hamilton to improve their chances of beating Max Verstappen in this year’s Championship battle, 1996 World Champion Damon Hill has said.

As such, Hill believes Valtteri Bottas is likely to play second fiddle to Hamilton at Mercedes this campaign, as the Silver Arrows no longer have the luxury of being significantly ahead of their rivals and allowing their drivers to battle it out for the Championship.

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“Any kind of external threat unites a team. So for years now, we’ve had Mercedes fighting amongst themselves between drivers for the title and occasional incursions from people like Red Bull or Ferrari, but now they have an external threat,” Hill said.

“So I think that you’ll see that teamwork solidifying behind Lewis, their main campaigner. They know that Lewis is their strongest card in their pack.

“I think he demonstrated that magnificently in Bahrain. I know for a fact that Red Bull were scratching their heads after Bahrain, because they knew that Lewis had done something slightly magical by staying ahead of their car, which they felt was slightly better.”

READ: Charles Leclerc Refuses To Share Opinion On F1 Driver Salary Cap

Hill added that he believes Red Bull will also “put their best man forward”, with Sergio Perez playing a supporting role to Verstappen.

“But what it means is that these two teams are going to put their best man forward. And it’s going to be, you know, an arrowhead-type attack between those two teams.

“I think if you’ve got two guys within a team, and you’ve got an external threat, which is what happened with me in the Williams team, I had David Coulthard [as my team-mate] who could also win races.

“So I had David to fight as well as Goliath – Michael Schumacher. It can go wrong if you’re not careful.”

READ: F1 Sprint Race Trial To Go Ahead After Teams Agree Financial Package

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Categories: F1 News

Ricciardo Insists He’s ‘Not Defeated’ By Norris Podium

Sat, 11/06/2021 - 14:27

McLaren driver Daniel Ricciardo has said he is “certainly not defeated” by team-mate Lando Norris’ podium in the 2021 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.

Ricciardo was ahead of Norris towards the start of the race, but the team ordered him to let the young Brit through so they could see his pace in clean air.

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The Aussie followed the team orders and Norris quickly pulled away from him and went on to finish the race in P3 to score his second-ever podium in Formula 1.

ooooooooOOOOOOOHHH-AYYYY#McLarenUnboxed https://t.co/AyMISHtt7C pic.twitter.com/v8j0swWf4D

— Lando Norris (@LandoNorris) April 21, 2021

Reflecting on his performance at Imola, Ricciardo said he needs a few more races to get settled at his new team.

“In the end, sixth from a points point of view is alright – but certainly my race pace wasn’t anything to do cartwheels over,” Ricciardo said.

“[My race pace] was certainly not particularly fast. I’ve just got to keep working on it. It’s one of those ones where obviously I’m hard on myself and obviously I’m not skipping around… But I think by race six or race seven, I’ll look back at race two and think, ‘What was I worried about?’” he added.

READ: Russell Suggests A Footballer Would’ve Reacted Differently To Bottas ‘Slap’

Continuing, he said he took encouragement from Norris’ podium at Imola as it demonstrated the underlying pace of McLaren’s 2021 car.

“I think it’s just up to me to… it sounds kind of simple, but just to keep turning laps, and obviously the pace is there,” Ricciardo said.

“Lando had really strong pace all weekend and obviously put it on the podium today, so I take encouragement from that. I’m certainly not defeated by that, and I’m certainly going to accept where I’m at at the moment and just work on it.

“I’m not going to let pride or ego get in the way. It is race two of 23, the road is long and I’ll just keep my chin up and work on it.

“Hopefully I’ll be more competitive in races to come. It’s race two so I don’t want to be like, ‘I was expecting to be on the podium already.’ Maybe by the next race I’m on it.

“But let’s say at least today my pace wasn’t that spectacular, so I’ll just look at it, work on it. Obviously the reference to Lando is a strong one so I’ll just chip away and do better,” he added.

Ricciardo currently sits seventh in the 2021 Drivers’ Standings, level on 14 points with Carlos Sainz, who he replaced at McLaren following the Spaniard’s move to Ferrari. 

READ: Carlos Sainz Praises Lando Norris’ Strong Weekend At Imola

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Marko: Wolff Should Remember ‘Silver Lining’ Of Russell-Bottas Incident

Sat, 11/06/2021 - 13:48

Senior Red Bull advisor Dr Helmut Marko has said Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff should consider the silver lining of the high-speed crash between Valtteri Bottas and George Russell during the 2021 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.

The pair collided near Tamburello, triggering a multi-impact crash which ended both of their races and led to an altercation amid the wreckage.

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The incident that brought out red flags in Imola #ImolaGP #F1 pic.twitter.com/Z18dCPXwOZ

— Formula 1 (@F1) April 18, 2021

Sir Lewis Hamilton had gone a lap down just seconds earlier after he went off the track at the Tosa hairpin, and he benefitted from the red flag to unlap himself.

He eventually recovered to P2 and managed to retain his lead in the Drivers’ Standings by a single point over Max Verstappen, who won the race.

Dr Marko believes Wolff should remember that Russell’s and Bottas’ misfortune ultimately benefitted Hamilton.

“Toto has to look at the bigger picture,” Dr Marko said in an interview with Austrian broadcaster Servus TV.

“Because of Russell’s move Hamilton was able to return to the race. Without that crash from Russell he would have lost a lap.”

Speaking after the race, Wolff said the “whole situation should have never happened” and warned that the crash could affect the team’s ability to bring upgrades this season.

READ: Russell Suggests A Footballer Would’ve Reacted Differently To Bottas ‘Slap’

“The whole situation is absolutely not amusing for us, to be honest,” the Austrian said.

“It’s quite a big shunt. Our car is almost a write-off in a cost-cap environment, that is certainly not what we needed, and probably it’s going to limit upgrades that we’re able to do.

“Simply the fact that we ended there by losing it in the wet, because there was no contact, losing it on the wet, and making both cars crash out is not what I expect to see.

“The whole situation should have never happened, Valtteri had a bad first 30 laps, and shouldn’t have been there. But George should have never launched into this manoeuvre, considering that the track was drying up.

“It meant taking risks, and the other car is a Mercedes in front of him. In any driver’s development, for a young driver, you must never lose this global perspective.

“Now I don’t want him to try to prove anything to us, because one thing I can say since knowing Valtteri for five years, he’s not trying to prove anything. So yeah, lots to learn for him I guess,” Wolff added.

READ: Ricciardo: I’m ‘Certainly Not Defeated’ By Norris’ Imola Podium

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Rosberg Insists Sebastian Vettel Will Be ‘Fine’

Sat, 11/06/2021 - 13:11

Sebastian Vettel can still have a strong debut season with Aston Martin if he can break free from his “negative spiral”, 2016 F1 World Champion Nico Rosberg has said.

Vettel’s debut with the newly rebranded Aston Martin F1 Team at Bahrain last month was a poor showing for the four-time World Champion, with him qualifying towards the back of the grid and getting a grid drop for a yellow flag infringement.

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He made up some ground in the race but wrecked his chances of scoring points by crashing into the back of Esteban Ocon’s Alpine, which resulted in him getting a time penalty and yet more penalty points.

Rosberg has said he believes Vettel can bounce back from his difficult final season with Ferrari and the events that unfolded at the 2021 season-opener in Bahrain.

“I really wish it to Sebastian, that he comes out of this low, what he brought with Ferrari and now a little bit to the first race,” Rosberg said.

READ: Sebastian Vettel Needs To Have ‘Evil Spirit Removed From Him’

“Funnily enough, it surprised me that he also says that he still doesn’t feel comfortable in the car. But okay, it’s a new team and he needs a little time.

“But Sebastian has huge talent, this is a four-time World Champion, so he’ll be fine and I’m sure we’ll see some great races from him this year.

“But he has to find a way out of this negative spiral, that’s very, very important. We’ve seen another mistake just now, which is atypical for a four-time World Champion.

“That’s where he has to find his way out, that’s very important,” Rosberg concluded.

READ: Ferrari Team Boss Fires Thinly Veiled Jibe At Vettel After Bahrain GP

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