Hamilton doesn’t think he’s worthy of a knighthood
Lewis Hamilton says he does not consider himself as worthy of a knighthood as other ‘unsung heroes’, despite his record-equalling seventh Formula One championship title.
The English driver equalled Michael Schumacher’s seven titles, becoming the most successful driver in the history of the sport. This has prompted the parliamentary APG for Formula One to write to the prime minister Boris Johnson urging him to be put on the New Years’ Honours List.
Interestingly, the British royal family’s official Twitter account did post a congratulatory message to Hamilton after his success – fuelling suggestions he was being considered for an award. Buckenham Place wrote on Twitter “Congratulations to record-equalling seven-time @F1 World Championship title winner @LewisHamilton – along with a record number of race wins, what an incredible achievement! 🏎🏆”
Hamilton, whose official title is Lewis Hamilton FREng hon MBE, doesn’t feel he is the same category as many other people in society who he feels have contributed much more.
Hamilton told Motorsport.com, “When I think about that honour, I think about people like my granddad who served in the war. I think about Sir Captain Tom who got knighted and waited a hundred years for that incredible honour.
“The people that are running hospitals. The nurses and doctors who are saving lives during the hardest time ever. I think about those unsung heroes and I don’t look at myself as an unsung hero. I’ve not saved anybody. It is an incredible honour that a small group of people have had bestowed upon them.
Hamilton said that his main motivation outside of success in F1 at the moment was in helping make change with his anti-racism push and a desire to see the sport become more sustainable. He says that this year has been an awaking and realising that people are being held accountable.
Lando Norris believes that any knighthood for Hamilton would have a huge influence on encouraging a new generation of British racing stars.
He said “I think what he’s achieved, well, no other British person has achieved. Only one person in the world has achieved what he has done, and that’s Michael Schumacher.
“He’s led the way in many aspects on the track but also off the track. Other athletes who have done such things in other sports have got knighthoods, so I see no reason why he shouldn’t.
Bono gives insight into Hamilton
Lewis Hamilton’s race engineer Peter Bonnington has given a rare interview to Sky Sports giving a fascinating insight into their working relationship and the newly-crowned seven-time world champion’s desire and ability to keep improving.
Bonnington has been the seven-times champions race engineer since 2013, together they have built a relationship which has allowed Hamilton to secure six titles in the last seven years.
‘Bono’, among many other duties, is the voice heard over the radio in discussion Hamilton during race weekends, making famous messages such as ‘HammerTime’ and ‘Get in there, Lewis’ in what has become one of F1’s most famous – and successful – double acts.
Reflecting on Hamilton’s latest win at Istanbul Park, Bonnington said the 35-year-old kept on surprising him. He said, “Back then [in 2013] he wasn’t quite as polished as he is now. Now, today, just wow. Performances like today, the strength that he has just shines through.”
“Nobody could not be surprised by that performance. We know he has it in him but when he delivers you think ‘wow, I didn’t see that coming! I’m optimistic but I didn’t see it happening just like that. By mid-race, once we were on the inters we were settled into a pace, it felt like he had it fully under control.”
Bonnington is the only person apart from F1 motorsport managing director Ross Brawn, to work with both of the sports seven-times champions. Speaking about the two he said, “Michael’s years gave me such a learning ground – wow, it was a very steep learning curve – but moving on with Lewis, even then I still didn’t feel like I was probably worthy of dealing already a world champ.”
Podium ‘very important’ for Vettel
Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto says Sebastian Vettel’s podium in the Turkish Grand Prix was ‘very important’ for the German after a difficult season.
Vettel delivered his best performance of the season, surging from twelfth on the grid to third on the final lap. He took advantage of a last-lap mistake from teammate Charles Leclerc in a battle with Sergio Perez opened the door for him to grab third across the finish line.
Binotto, who was absent from the Turkish Grand Prix, felt that the performance from Vettel proved that he was finally making some progress in unlocking speed from the SF1000.
Binotto told Motorsport.com, “I’m very pleased for Sebastian. I think a podium for him is very important. It has been a difficult season for him. I think he has started being, at least now at the end of the season, [more] comfortable with the car. He’s delivering better.”
“He had a very good start, very consistent, with good pace. He was managing the tyres, managing to keep the positions, and holding the positions. And overall, even on the last lap, he did well because he took the opportunity. And it’s great for him.
Vettel has been open about his struggle to extract as much performance from the car as teammate Leclerc because he does not feel as comfortable in finding the grip limits. His lowly grid positions then compromise his race efforts as he gets trapped battling in the tight midfield pack.
Following the race, he said he hoped Istanbul was a turning point towards him being more competitive in the final three races of the year.
Sainz proved his worth to Ferrari
McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl says that Carlos Sainz’s performances this season have indicated why Ferrari was so keen to sign him for 2021.
Sainz will leave the team for Ferrari next month, but throughout this season both the Spaniard and McLaren have insisted that there was no awkwardness. He currently is seventh in the championship after charging from fifteenth to fifth in Istanbul.
Seidl told Motorsport.com, “A race like [Turkey] just confirmed the quality Carlos has. We know from previous races in the last years that he likes all of these tricky conditions, he likes these wet or mixed conditions.”
“We know that he is performing well in these conditions and that he has this talent to take the right approach in terms of risk, and he manages to keep the car on the track while still making progress on track, and making the moves stick like he did today. And it’s simply a big benefit.”
Seidl says you can see in Sainz’s experience in the way calmly communicates with the pit wall are brief, leading most of the time the right decisions being made. This he says is why he believes that Ferrari have signed him for next year.
Seidl also praised Lando Norris for his recovery in Turkey from last place off the grid to eighth at the end. Speaking about Norris’s race he said, “On Lando’s side, seeing the pace he could show in the race it was obviously disappointing that he was pretty much last after the start.”
“I think he had an anti-stall on the grid, because it was simply so difficult to launch a car from these low grip conditions. He was unfortunately on the bad side of the grid.
Red Bull talks gone quiet – Hulkenberg
Nico Hulkenberg says that things have gone “very, very quiet” over his chances of earning a seat at Red Bull next year. The German is believed to be fighting with Sergio Perez for the second seat alongside Max Verstappen if it chooses not to retain Alex Albon.
Speaking on Red Bull-owned Servus TV, Hulkenberg said that the F1 chatter has slowed down. He said “Of course I hope for a good return in the future, but there is nothing else to report. It is very, very quiet at the moment.
“The reports have calmed down a bit, and I think it will be a while before there is really any final clarity.” In his three outings for Racing Point this year he reminded many teams of his ability to deliver solid points in the two races he managed to start.
He is still in contact with a lot of teams but says things are not moving fast.
Explaining “The stones have already fallen for many teams. The cards are laid. I had my two [race] chances and used them as good as I could. I’m not actively involved now anyway, but of course, I’m in contact with the people that matter. But not every week now, not every day.”
Hulkenberg doesn’t know when his future will be decided, admitting it’s out of his hands. He remains hopeful that there is a chance for a comeback.
Red Bull has indicated that with all the F1 2021 seats now full, albeit Haas has yet to announce its line-up, it will wait until after the season to make a final decision on whether or not to stick with Albon.
Low grip tracks like robbery
Daniel Ricciardo says that more low-grips track surfaces would feel like a ‘robbery’ for teams that are asked to build the world’s fastest racing cars. The Turkish Grand Prix weekend was brought alive when the newly resurfaced asphalt offered little grip.
The newly resurfaced Istanbul Park was made even worst because of wet weather during qualifying which saw several drivers struggling. Despite the frustrations that many leading figures felt, the lack of grip helped produced a great spectacle, with Lance Stroll taking a maiden pole position and Lewis Hamilton pulling off a brilliant win.
While the entertainment value prompted some talk about the benefits that could be had from more lower grip tracks, Ricciardo is very sceptical about that being a route the sport should take.
Asked if F1 could learn anything from what happened in Turkey, Ricciardo said: “Yes. That this is not the answer. Look, don’t get me wrong, and I knew everyone sitting on the couch had a fun and exciting one to watch, but, I think to be honest, I don’t know if we learn anything from this weekend.”
Ricciardo admitted that its unlikely that they would be in that situation again, but says “I think as well when teams are spending so much money developing cars and putting all the knowledge into designing the fastest race cars in the world, not being able to use them….if it was all the time, it would feel like a robbery.”
Schumacher following Mick’s career – Todt
FIA president Jean Todt has provided an update on Michael Schumacher’s health. The joint most successful driver whose title record was equalled by Lewis Hamilton in Turkey at the weekend, sustained severe brain injuries in a skiing crash in the French Alps in 2013 and has not been seen in public since.
Offical medical updates are rare, but Todt is one of few people who know the condition of Schumacher. Todt told RTL “Of course he is following [his son’s career]. Mick is probably going to race in Formula One next year, which will be a great challenge. “
When asked about the seven-time champion’s condition, Todt added: “This is a question on which I am going to be extremely reserved. I see Michael very often – once or twice a month. My answer is the same all the time: He fights.”
Mick could secure the Formula Two drivers’ championship in Bahrain next weekend. Speaking about that he said, “We would be delighted to have a new Schumacher at the highest level of motor racing.”