Hamilton excepting stronger Vettel
Lewis Hamilton says he is expecting his Formula One title rival Sebastian Vettel to come back stronger following his retirement from the Singapore Grand Prix.
Vettel retired on the opening lap following a collision with his team-mate Kimi Raikkonen and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, which has allowed the Mercedes to open a twenty-eight point lead in the championship. Hamilton’s lead is the biggest of the season, putting him in a stronger position with six Grand Prix’s remaining.
However, the Mercedes driver does not think his rival will be put off his stride by the incident. He told ESPN “”He’s a four-time world champion, so it’s difficult to really know how he’s going to react. Firstly, I don’t know how he’s taken it, the mistake at the last race.”
“I don’t know how he has reflected on it, but greats generally bounce back so I have to anticipate that this weekend he will bounce back strong. I don’t remember the last time he faltered under pressure, so I don’t know how he will react and if he feels pressure. Time will tell.”
Asked if Singapore was the turning point in the championship, he says he does not know and it was an unusual race. Hamilton added that he thought he would come away from the race he thought he would have lost a good chunk of points to Vettel.
However, says he has not thought about the race and his state of mind remains exactly the same.
Adding “Of course it is part of a turning point in the season when you all of a suddenly go from being behind all season long to being in the lead of the championship. But there are lots of turning points within a year.”
No change in approach from Vettel
Sebastian Vettel will not change to a more conservative approach to race starts following his first corner crash in the Singapore Grand Prix.
The Ferrari drivers hope of retaking the lead of the championship, ended in a collision with Max Verstappen and Kimi Raikkonen, forcing his retirement. Hamilton took the win from fifth after all three retired, which allowed him to open a twenty-eight point over Vettel in the championship.
Speaking at today’s press conference ahead of the Malaysian Grand Prix, he said “I don’t think it’s necessary to discuss. With things like this happening, what can you do?
“I mean obviously if we have a major problem with the car or I’d done a major mistake then it’s a different story. If there is something that you need to change to react quickly and make sure, it does not happen again. But looking at it now there has been one race where we didn’t finish.”
All three drivers escaped without punishment as the stewards said it was a racing accident. Though some have questioned why Vettel moved so aggressively to defend his lead when neither driver involved is a title rival, the German says the clash will not change his mindset.
“Every start is different. First of all, it’s done and second I think it was unfortunate for all three of us. Having said that, I’m pretty sure I can’t say to you now what will be in my mind when I leave the grid”
asked if Ferrari now had to rely on Hamilton encountering car trouble to have a chance of winning the drivers’ title, he replied: “I don’t think we do because we have a lot of races left, I think we have a strong car.”
News in Brief
Danish GP – Autosport says it has learnt that the Danish Capital Copenhagen is in advanced talks with Formula One Bosses about holding a Grand Prix in 2020.
The former science minister Helge Sander is behind the plan for the circuit which would run through Copenhagen’s city centre, passing landmarks such as the parliament building and crossing two major bridges.
Williams’s profits – Williams’s profits for the first six months of the year have been boosted after a payment from Mercedes for releasing Valtteri Bottas.
Autosport says it learnt Williams received a payment in the region of £10million for allowing Bottas to leave. Total profits for the F1 side of the business were £10.4m.
FIA technical boss resigns
The FIA has placed the head of their Formula One technical department Marcin Budkowski on gardening leave for three months following his resignation earlier this week.
The sport’s governing body has not reviled the reason behind the resignation of the who has previously worked for Ferrari and McLaren, had resigned or where he was going next.
A spokesperson said at the Malaysian Grand Prix on Thursday that his duties would be assumed by race director Charlie Whiting.
Williams wants me to stay – Massa
Felipe Massa says that people within his Williams team who “understand racing” want him to remain in Formula One for another season. The Brazilian who retired at the end of 2016 came out of retirement to replace Valtteri Bottas, who moved to Mercedes.
Massa says he wants a decision on his future in by his home race in November but implied Williams’s dilemma over its second driver for 2018 may not be based solely on who can do the best job in the cockpit.
Previously, he has said he doesn’t want a drawn-out process if the team wants to retain him. Massa believes that the engineering staff of the team supports him, but hints that they may be overruled by other considerations. He told Motorsport.com “To be honest, we are discussing with the team, and the team knows 100 percent my points to stay another year.”
“I was always a professional driver, and I stay and I will finish as a professional driver like I started my career. And that’s the most important thing for me. The team knows what I can give to the team.
“I would say definitely I have all the people that understand about motor racing on my side inside the team – engineers and everything.” Asked if he meant that elements in the team management did not want to keep him, he said: “I’m just saying what I know, what I believe, and definitely it’s not the engineers who decide.”
Massa says it was up to management if he was to continue, but is adamant he would be able to do a good job if he continued and remained very motivated.
However, says he is not prepared to wait until December and wants to go into his home race knowing if it will be his last.
Alonso hopes for decision after Japan
Fernando Alonso says he is hoping to make a final decision on his future following the Japanese Grand Prix, while hinting once again he is likely to stay with McLaren.
The Spaniard is out of contract at the end of the season and it was expected that McLaren’s switch from Honda to Renault power, which is likely to see him recommit for 2018. However, Alonso revealed since the divorce was confirmed, that there had been little progress and was optimistic a solution would be found by Austin.
Alonso told his press briefing today, “In the next break will be good to make the final decision. Between Malaysia and Japan, we will be busy at the track.”
“But definitely after Japan will probably be my wish or deadline to make the decision happen. I will choose wherever I feel is the best. I want to be competitive next year. I want to be back on the podium, I want to be back having victories and fight for the world championship.”
Alonso says he still wants more information to make a decision, but was optimistic about McLaren. He also insisted the potential openings at Mercedes, Ferrari, Red Bull, and Renault in 2019 would not have much impact on his final decision.
Gasly has sympathy for Kvyat
Pierre Gasly who will make his Formula One debut in this weekend’s Malaysian Grand Prix, says he feels sympathy for Daniil Kvyat who has made way for him to make his debut.
Earlier this week Red Bull announced that the current GP2 champion would make his debut to give him a chance to prove whether he has the potential for a race seat next season. Speaking at today’s press conference ahead of the race, Gasly said “Unfortunately that is how it works in this sport.”
“He has been in my position before he came to F1, he was waiting for his chance, and then he had to take the seat of someone else. Of course, I feel sorry for him, he is a really good driver and talented.”
“Unfortunately it is happening that I am going to take his seat. I am pretty sure we will see him back on the grid at some point, maybe.” Asked how he found out he said it was a text message.
The team has not said how long the Frenchman will be in the seat, but this will be seen as a trial as his teammate Carlos Sainz is moving to Renault next season.
Speaking about the Frenchman, his team-mate Sainz said “He has done everything right to be here and I am also sure Red Bull would not put anyone in the car who is not capable of being on the pace straight away and scoring points and helping the team.”
Asked if he felt sympathy for Kvyat, Sainz replied: “In the middle of the season, when you are so focused on your driving in 2017, you cannot be affected by what goes on in the other side of the garage.”
A moment of happiness for Mexico
Sergio Perez says that next month’s Mexican Grand Prix can give the country a “moment of happiness” as it struggles to recover from its deadliest earthquake in three decades.
Last week the country as hit by a 7.1 magnitude quake killing 337 people. Speaking ahead of this weekend’s Malaysian Grand Prix the Mexican said the race would help lift the gloom a little. “It will give a lot of energy, having the grand prix in Mexico. I think it’s good for the people to have a distraction, to have a moment of happiness.”
Organisers of the race have already confirmed that the Autodromo Hermanos Rodrigues has not had any damage and race preparations were continuing as normal.
Pérez has returned home to his hometown of Guadalajara after the last race in Singapore, has started a fundraising campaign for relief efforts. Already his campaign to raise money for the victims has raised £368,165.
For every peso donated another five will be added by Perez’s sponsors. Speaking about this weekends race, Perez says he wants to deliver a strong result on Sunday.
That’s all from F1 Today this week and we will be bringing you full coverage of the Malaysian Grand Prix this weekend. F1 Today returns next week. Preview here