Hamilton determined to create years of misery for Ferrari
Mercedes Lewis Hamilton says he is determined to inflict years of misery on title rivals, Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari. The Englishman is on the brink of sealing his fourth world title this weekend if he finishes in the top five in the Mexican Grand Prix.
Hamilton took his fifth win Austin which allowed Mercedes to seal a fourth consecutive constructors title for Mercedes. While Hamilton has admitted he is a big fan of Ferrari, he is expected to sign a new deal with Mercedes beyond 2018. He says that he is only interested in racing for a team which makes him feel wanted.
He told The Sun newspaper “I do see the red car, and I am a fan of the company and the brand. It would be an honour for any driver to race those cars, but it has not been an option.”
“If Ferrari wanted me, they would have approached me. I want to work with people who want me. If they don’t want me, it is no problem. I am happy to make their life a misery for the next few years.”
“Sebastian just re-signed, so for me and Mercedes, our goal is to make him and Ferrari unhappy for the next three years!” Asked if the collision in Baku had any bearing on that decision, he says it didn’t and they both know where each other stands.
While Hamilton only needs nine more points to seal this year’s championship, he insists that he is not letting himself get carried away thinking that he will seal the title this weekend. “I don’t really let my mind get there. At the moment, I’m just focused on winning, clearly, and I’m enjoying driving more than ever.” Added Hamilton.
“Idiotic” to blame Arrivabene or Binotto – Marchionne
Ferrari president Sergio Marchionne says it would be “idiotic” to blame either team principal Maurizio Arrivabene or technical director Mattia Binotto for the team’s recent failures.
Ferrari has lost this year’s constructors championship and is set to lose the drivers’ championship to Lewis Hamilton, following three difficult weekends in Singapore, Malaysia and Japan, leading to speculation over whether Arrivabene will remain with the team beyond this season.
There has been speculation that Binotto or Marchionne himself could take over direct control of the team next season. Marchionne, head of Ferrari’s parent company Fiat Chrysler, says the team “needs to win” but doesn’t “think we need to overhaul the team.”
Asked by Sky Sports, if Arrivabene could be replaced by Binotto, Marchionne replied: “No, both Mattia and Maurizio have been involved in this process. Picking one or the other is a bit idiotic.”
“They were both at the table when the operation was going on and technically I’m involved too, I was the chairman. But that’s not going to solve the issue.”
“We need to win, that’s the more important thing. I don’t think it’s attributable to a single guy. Processes may not have helped and those things are being addressed.”
Following the engine problems in Japan and Malaysia Ferrari appointed the former head of quality control in the Fiat car division, Maria Mendoza, but Marchionne says that addition will not prove the first of wholesale changes.
However, he admits Ferrari must “manage” their processes better to avoid similar slip-ups.
Exceeding his expectations – Sainz
Carlos Sainz says that his debut race for Renault “exceeded all expectations” after a near-perfect weekend which saw him finish seventh in the United States Grand Prix.
Despite him never driving the Renault before this weekends switch from Toro Rosso, Sainz managed to match his teammate Nico Hulkenberg on pace in practice and made it into Q3. His seventh place in the race made him the first driver since Giancarlo Fisichella in 2005, to score points for the team on his debut.
Although the Spaniard appeared to have the pace advantage over Esteban Ocon during the closing stages, he was instructed to release the Force India to make sure he had enough fuel to get to the end of the race.
Speaking to ESPN, Sainz said “It was very close to perfect. I think everything exceeded my expectations. The first lap I wanted to take it easy to make sure I did the full race distance. I didn’t want to do any crazy stuff.”
“From there, we just picked up pace and started attacking the Force Indias. I passed one of them and then started attacking Esteban the team told me to stop and bring it home because we were really tight on the fuel. It has been a great weekend.” Sainz also thanked the team for making him feel at home.
Speaking about the weekend Renault’s Formula One managing director, said his performance was “Remarkable”
Abiteboul added “Carlos made a fantastic debut with an error-free weekend. He arrived extremely motivated and well prepared in a team that was equally ready. We’ve done a remarkable job together since the announcement of his arrival at the Japanese Grand Prix.”
“He drove an aggressive but intelligent race. Despite losing a few positions at the start, he was able to bounce back with brilliant driving skills.”
Hartley retains Toro Rosso seat
Brendon Hartley will retain his seat for this weekends Mexican Grand Prix alongside Pierre Gasly. The twenty seven-year-old made his debut in last weekends United States Grand Prix, that was replacing the Frenchman who was meant to race in Super Formula.
However, Gasly’s hopes of fighting for the title were over after both of the Suzuka Grand Prix’s where cancelled after qualifying was abandoned after Q1 because of Typhoon Lan.
It remains unclear whether Hartley will replace Daniil Kyvat for the Brazilian and Abu Dhabi Grand Prix’s. But the Russian’s Red Bull career appears over.
The Russian was promoted to Red Bull in 2015, before being demoted back to Toro Rosso after his home race last season. He was then dropped from the junior team after the Singapore Grand Prix in September following a difficult season and has now been let go again.
Red Bull are evaluating their driver options for Toro Rosso for 2018.
A senior source told BBC News in Austin, that Toro Rosso existed solely to try out drivers in preparation for a possible drive at the senior team.
The source added that given there was no conceivable scenario in which Kvyat was ever going to be put back into Red Bull, there was little point in him driving for Toro Rosso.
Hartley made a solid debut in Austin eight tenths off Kvyat in qualifying and finished thirteenth. The New Zealander got stuck behind slower cars who he was unable to overtake because they had more powerful engines.
Force India relaxes driver restrictions
Force India are set to relax the ban on Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon racing each other following another strong performance during the United States Grand Prix.
The restrictions were introduced earlier this year following a number of on-track collisions this season. In both Austin and Suzuka, the team ordered them both to hold position which they did.
In Austin, Ocon finished sixth with Perez eighth at the Circuit of the Americas to help the team move ninety points clear of Williams in the constructors’ championship. But with only one hundred and twenty-nine points still available, it’s likely the team has sealed the constructors.
Asked by Autosport when the team will lift the ban, chief operating officer Otmar Szafnauer said: “Probably [after] one more race.
“We have just got to get through one more race and hopefully by then we’ll have clinched fourth place. That’s what it is all about. Once we get through that then maybe we can relax and do things a bit differently in the last two.”