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Hamilton eyes more home success at British GP

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SILVERSTONE, England — This weekend’s British Grand Prix offers Lewis Hamilton a chance to make a statement on and off the track after a buildup dominated by how Formula 1 deals with racism.

The Mercedes team in Hamilton has suffered badly this season but has reason to hope for a better performance this weekend at Silverstone, where the British driver is an eight-time winner. Unlike recent street circuit races, the UK track has a smooth surface that could reduce the Mercedes car’s tendency to bounce at high speeds, causing Hamilton back pain.

Hamilton said the team had done a “phenomenal” job of upgrading the car for this week’s race, where he will seek a second consecutive podium after finishing third at the Canadian GP.

The seven-time F1 champion also spoke out this week on improving F1’s record on diversity and inclusionespecially as F1 drivers condemned former champion Nelson Piquet for his comments in an interview describing Hamilton, the sport’s only black driver, with a racial term that drivers and teams widely condemned as offensive.

Ranking leader Max Verstappen, who is in a relationship with Piquet’s daughter Kelly, said on Thursday that the man he calls his “stepfather” used a “very, very offensive” word but that he did not consider Piquet. be racist. He added that the lifetime access to the Piquet paddock granted to former F1 champions should not be revoked.

Valtteri Bottas was the surprise leader in a rain-stricken first practice session. The Alfa Romeo driver set a time of 1 minute, 42.249 seconds as the track dried to take the lead, 0.532 quicker than Hamilton and 0.718 ahead of Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz.

The red flag interrupted the session about a minute before the scheduled finish after Lance Stroll stepped over his Aston Martin in the gravel.

Hamilton has indicated that a solution has been reached in his clash with the sport’s governing body, the FIA, over his piercings.

The FIA ​​has a long-standing rule banning piercings and jewelry for safety reasons, but it hadn’t been enforced for years. With a new FIA president, Mohammed Ben Sulayem, and new race directors this season, the FIA ​​said it would enforce the rule.

Hamilton initially said he would continue to wear piercings – in particular a nose stud which would be difficult to remove – but indicated on Thursday that he had found a solution.

“We have so many big fish to fry,” Hamilton said. “So I will work with Mohammed and with his team so that we can progress.”

What would a British summer be without rain? Weather is expected to be a factor throughout the British Grand Prix weekend, absorbing the expected 400,000 spectators and potentially rattling the grid.

Sergio Pérez in particular will be looking to improve after a difficult period in the rain at the last race in Canada. Pérez hit the wall in qualifying and had little impact from 13th on the grid before his gearbox broke in the race, while teammate Verstappen took the win. Fernando Alonso qualified a surprise second in the difficult conditions for Alpine and Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz challenged Verstappen for victory in Canada, but he was still awaiting his first career F1 win.

VETTEL REFRESH F1 HISTORY

Sebastian Vettel delves into F1’s past to present a glimpse of its possible future.

The four-time champion will drive a classic British race ahead of Sunday’s race, demonstrating the Williams car driven by British driver Nigel Mansell when he won the title in 1992.

Vettel bought the car in 2018 as a nod to his memories of watching F1 as a child in the early 1990s – he and Mansell won the title with the No5 – and set it up to run with environmentally friendly fuel.

“I’m using carbon neutral fuels on Sunday to demonstrate that we can still retain our history, heritage, culture and motorsport, but do it more responsibly,” Vettel said on Thursday, pledging the new fuel mix. won. does not change the Renault V10 engine sound.

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