Hamilton ready for “ultimate fight”
Lewis Hamilton has described his clash this season with Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel as the “ultimate fight” he has faced in Formula One, career.
The two drivers with seven championships between them currently lead the title race with forty-three points each after two races. despite the two of them winning six of the last seven titles, the pair have never fought directly for the title.
This season an eagerly anticipated battle between the two has emerged and Hamilton is relishing a clash he believes is the biggest of his career to date. Hamilton said after winning in China “I’m fighting against a four-time world champion. He is at his best and he is phenomenally quick.”
Hamilton told The Guardian “Ferrari are at their best in years, maybe in a decade. We’re at our best as a team, and I feel like I’m at my best.” he added. Hamilton says he wants to go up against the best and if he comes out on top it would be more satisfying.”
Hamilton says Vettel is an amazing sportsman he acknowledges it when he loses, enjoys it when wins and that is mutual admiration.
Hamilton has predicted the title battle will continue to ebb and flow throughout the season. This weekend in Bahrain a heatwave is forecast meaning it is unknown how the cars will cope in the heat, which may be pivotal in the way the race turns out.
Honda has more confidence
Honda’s head of F1 Yusuke Hasegawa says the Japanese manufacturer has “more confidence” in their engine following the Chinese Grand Prix.
Honda has once again built a power unit which is significantly down on power compared to its rivals. Plus Fernando Alonso retired in Melbourne from a points scoring position but made it into Q2 in Shanghai.
Hasegawa says the opening to races have been key in helping them understand the issues. He told ESPN “After a wet and cold weekend in China, we are now heading off to Bahrain where we expect the conditions to be the complete opposite, dry and hot.”
“The race result in China was a big disappointment; despite the result, however, we took away a number of positives and, up until the retirements, we had an encouraging race in tricky conditions.”
Hasegawa says they have more confidence in the power units reliability and is looking to build on the momentum going to Bahrain.
McLaren expected to struggle in China but the damp start brought the team into play. But, that is unlikely to happen this weekend with Hasegawa braced for another tough weekend.
Manor head to auction
A four-day auction of 4,000 items, belonging to the Manor team will take place next month. Manor’s operating company went into administration in January and withdrew from the sport last month.
The administrators FRP Advisory have released the catalogue, which includes two wind tunnel models, show cars, five steering wheels, the trailers used to form Manor’s F1 paddock base and a hospitality trailer and pit equipment. As well as all the components needed to build a car.
FRP had claimed that around 50 parties had expressed an interesting reviving the team. Autosport said it had learnt that an offer was made for all three Manor companies – Just Racing Services Ltd, Just Racing Ltd and Manor Grand Prix Racing Ltd.
But it failed to go through and according to the administrators, none of the other parties “were able to provide sufficient comfort that they had the cash resources to enable the company to return to solvency”.
News in Brief
Susie Wolff has announced her ‘Wolff cub’ was born on Monday as Her husband returned from the Chinese Grand Prix. Susie is married to the Mercedes boss Toto, working as an ambassador for the team as well as for Chanel 4 as a pundit and is due to return to work next month.
Ocon has the same potential – Force India’s deputy team principal Bob Fernley says that Esteban Ocon has the same potential as Max Verstappen. He told Sky Sports “We were very fortunate to be able to have a look at him early on in his career. (he) showed his promise on track and we were very optimistic that we could get him later.”
Shielded from debris – latest head protection idea
Autosport has revealed how a ‘shield’ cockpit protection device which was presented to drivers last week will work. The sport has committed to introducing some kind of head protection next year
Rather than the shield being an attachment around the edge of the cockpit like the halo and aeroscreen, it is more integral to the nose section of the car and begins much further forward than the two ideas already trialled.
The sloping see-through screen does not extend fully over the cockpit, even though it does end up higher than the driver’s crash helmet.
Drivers were told over the weekend that the screen has been effective in early testing for smaller pieces of debris, it is not as effective when it comes to deflecting larger items such as wheels.
The resistance to the halo from some quarters have suggested that the shield could present the best compromise between safety and aesthetics.
Williams Felipe Massa who was left fighting for his life after being hit by a spring during qualifying for 2009 Hungarian GP, argued a final decision on which cockpit system to use should be made only on safety grounds.
He told Autosport when asked by Autosport for his opinion on the shield “To be honest it looks really nice It’s beautiful compared to the halo.
“but I don’t think we need to go for how beautiful it is, but how better it is for the safety. That’s the only answer we gave to them. If you can make it better, nicer and safer then it’s done.”
“Maybe for my accident this new system could have been OK, but for some other accidents maybe not,” he added
The FIA and teams have agree to introduce a form of cockpit protection for next season, but an agreement has not yet been reached on which. But, an agreement needs to be reached by a majority before the end of the Russian Grand Prix weekend to be brought in for 2018.
Horner calls for clarity on grid positions
Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner has called on the FIA to clarify the rules around the positioning of cars on the grid. On Sunday, Sebastian Vettel lined up outside his box for the start of the Chinese Grand Prix.
Vettel was clearly outside the box which he did to get wheels away from the slippery white painted lines. Although his placing was noted and examined by the FIA stewards, the officials ruled no further action was warranted.
There is a bit of a grey area, as the sporting regulations don’t say that a driver must form up exactly within the white lines of their grid box – only that “they will stop within their respective grid positions” after the formation lap.
Speaking about Vettel’s grid positioning Horner said “It is obvious what he was trying to do – to get towards the drier part of the track, which you can understand.”
“But it would be good to have clarity on does the driver have to start in his grid box or not? Is it just a line or is it is a box?”