Brawn reveals more about Hamilton joining Mercedes
F1 motorsport managing director Ross Brawn has spoken about the break through in 2012-13 which convinced Lewis Hamilton to leave McLaren and join Mercedes.
Hamilton wrapped up his seventh world title in Istanbul to equal seven times champion Michael Schumacher, taking his sixth title with Mercedes. The Englishman’s move to Mercedes was a shock having only won one Grand Prix at the time, but it proved to be the right move,
Recently Hamilton revealed that he remained unsure about Mercedes’ future plans following his early chats with Lauda and that it was Brawn, then Mercedes’ team principal, who managed to convince him.
Reflecting on his decision to join Mercedes, Hamilton said, “I’d spoken to Niki back home in Monaco, I was talking to him and he was talking to me about coming. I’m pretty sure he was the first one I had spoken to. He was like, ‘you’ve got to come to the team!”
“I wasn’t convinced necessarily at the beginning. I think the convincing stage which really made me look into it more was when Ross came around my mum’s house and sat with me in the kitchen. We had tea, and he showed me what the plan is for the team.”
The key moments in the decision came at the 2012 Singapore Grand Prix when he met with Lauda to discuss further details about the deal which was announced five days after the race. At that meeting in Singapore, Hamilton says he realised he had a lot in common with Hamilton.
He says that was the beginning of the friendship when he realised that we had more in common than he first thought. Hamilton says that it was beyond his wildest dreams to get seven, admitting it was a leap of faith.
Hamilton added, “I think what it says is that in life, we’ve got to make sure that we take that leap of faith, do what you think is right for you and not what people tell you to do, and do the homework so you have the pros and cons, and then go with it.”
Reports of knighthood for Hamilton
The Times newspaper is reporting Lewis Hamilton will be knighted in the New Years Honours when they are announced at the end of next month. The Englishman equalled Michael Schumacher’s seven world titles and surpassed the German’s ninety-one wins this season.
According to a report in The Times, Hamilton will be named in the Queen’s new year’s honours list, which will make him known formally as Sir Lewis Hamilton HonFREng MBE.
Calls for a knighthood have been made by fans, the UK governing body Motorsport UK and parliaments F1 APG, with the leader of the House of Commons Jacob Rees-Mogg and prime minister Boris Johnson being asked at their respective question times last week.
The Times report says the prime minister has personally recommended Hamilton for his work on track and off track, has frequently spoken out against racism.
Hamilton, the only Black driver in F1 history, has taken the knee ahead of every race this year, as well as wearing t-shirts saying, ‘Black Lives Matter’ and, at the Tuscan Grand Prix, ‘Arrest The Cops Who Killed Breonna Taylor’.
Only one champion Sir Jackie Stewart has been knighted while Sir Stirling Moss was also knighted for a remarkable racing career across various motor racing categories, despite not winning an F1 championship.
Vettel more comfortable with 2020 Ferrari
Mattia Binotto believes that Sebastian Vettel is more comfortable with the 2020 Ferrari which has had a positive impact on his form. The four-time champion scored his first podium in over year in Istanbul but has half the points of teammate Charles Leclerc.
Ferrari has brought several upgrades in recent races, which has allowed Vettel to start to get to grips and feel better with his driving. Circumstances were unusual in Turkey, with a new surface and cold, wet conditions, but nonetheless, it was a striking performance from Vettel, ahead of his move to Aston Martin.
Binotto told F1.com, “I’m very pleased for Sebastian. I think a podium for him is very important, finishing third. It’s been a difficult season for him. I think he has started, at least now at the end of the season, to be comfortable with the car and he’s delivering better.”
“I think on Sunday, he made a good result, at the start, very consistent, good pace, managing the tyres, and defending the positions. On the last lap, he did well, he took the opportunity – it’s great for him, he finished third, very close to [Sergio] Perez. I’m happy for him. Still three races, hopefully, we do well in the next one.”
Vettel’s third place with Leclerc fourth is the teams best result of the season, opening the possibility of it fighting for third in the constructors.
Regulations not designed to stop Mercedes – Verstappen
Max Verstappen doesn’t believe the 2022 regulations are designed to stop Mercedes from dominating and says they “need to make racing more exciting”.
In 2022, F1 moves to all-new technical regulations with cars designed to improve the show through a reduction of downforce. The shift from downforce primarily generated by the surface of the car to a more ground-effect driven concept should reduce turbulent air, which has prevented drivers from racing each other closely for a number of years.
The changes are also coming a year after the introduction of the budget cap and a more equitable prize fund. Earlier in the year, Mercedes F1 CEO and team principal Toto Wolff said that “everything has been done to stop us”, but that the new 2022 challenge “will motivate” the Brackley outfit to stay on top.
Verstappen once again dismissed that claim by Wolff, arguing that the technical changes were necessary to improve the show. Asked by Motorsport.com about Wolff’s comments, the Dutchman said “No, I think those rules are just the result of new owners listening to teams and drivers.”
“They hear that it is really difficult to overtake and that we want more close racing. You could see the current issues at Imola for example. Valtteri drove around with a car that was three to four tenths slower because of the damage, but I couldn’t get past him. Even though I was much faster”
Verstappen says he has enjoyed the unpredictability of Moto GP this season, with him hoping that the new rules will make qualifying less decisive in the future.
Dutchman added, “We need the racing in F1 to be more exciting and drivers to be able to follow other cars more closely and not that qualifying is the deciding factor during a race weekend as it is right now.”
Russell appreciates receiving praise
George Russell says he really appreciates receiving praise from Formula One’s top drivers, but treats the comments as “background noise” as he wants to prove himself on-track.
Since making his debut Williams at the start of 2019, Russell has never been out-qualified by a teammate, with his head-to-head record reading 35-0 after the Turkish Grand Prix. Although he is yet to score points, his performance has led to praise from many of his peers, including world champions Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso.
Russell is refusing to take for granted the positive hype around his first two seasons in F1, saying the greatest amount of pressure to perform comes from himself and not from others’ expectations.
when asked by Motorsport.com what impact the praise had on him, Russell said, “I obviously really appreciate these comments, without a shadow of a doubt. It’s almost background noise, really, because I know I have to continue to perform week in, week out.”
“As fantastic as it is getting a pat on the back and praise from these guys, I’ve got to back that up with the job that I do on-track. “I’ve always tried not letting comments like this get into my head. The biggest amount of pressure I have is from myself, and not from anybody else.”
Russell has been part of Mercedes’ junior programme since 2017 and is widely seen as a future successor to either Lewis Hamilton or Valtteri Bottas at the German team.
Seven-time world champion Hamilton reached out to Russell following his crash behind the safety car at Imola to show his support for the youngster, telling him: “It’s OK to make mistakes and it’s OK to feel the pain.”
Asked by Motorsport.com about the message, Hamilton said he wanted to ensure Russell did not beat himself up over the mistake. Hamilton said, “What he’s been able to do [is] similar to if you look at Alonso, a lot of the drivers coming into one of the teams that are further back, having an opportunity to grow and improve and lead a team and make mistakes.”
Hamilton praised Russell for the way he has handled this season, although the points don’t show the full picture, he has regularly got the Williams through to Q2 and impressed with the way he is growing with his race craft.
Adding “This year, it’s just been great how he’s handled everything and what he’s done with that car to put it into Q2 quite often, and really delivering great results.”
“[I’m] really impressed with his race craft and how he’s growing, and I really think he is the future. There are several drivers that are the future of this sport, but he’s one of them that I’m really excited to see his progression.”