RSS Feed

Dominant Lewis Hamilton storms to pole position for Styrian Grand Prix in rain-soaked qualifying

Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton dominated the wet conditions and stormed to pole position for Sunday’s first ever Styrian Grand Prix.

It was great weather for ducks in Austria, and therefore perfect conditions for the British great.

Even before Saturday’s rain-hit delayed qualifying, the six-time world champion had long staked his claim as one of the sport’s finest to ever race in the wet – and here he delivered an absolute masterclass.


Lewis Hamilton – in an all-back suit for Black Lives Matter – secured his first pole of the season

getty

Hamilton finished a staggering 1.2 seconds faster than Red Bull rival Max Verstappen, with McLaren’s Carlos Sainz third.

Valtteri Bottas, in the same machine as Hamilton and on the same track as his season-opening Austria GP victory last week, was 1.5 sec behind his teammate in fourth.

Hamilton, who earlier urged his race engineer Pete Bonnington to ‘leave him to it’ over the team radio, topped all three sessions before claiming the 89th pole of his career – and first in his pursuit this year to match Michael Schumacher’s record of seven world titles.

As his rivals faltered, Hamilton banged in fastest lap after fastest lap on his way to completing one of the most impressive qualifying performances in recent memory.

“I love these days,” said Hamilton. “The weather is incredibly difficult for all of us. A lot of the time you cannot see where you are going.

“I had a big moment where I aquaplaned and had my heart in my mouth but I was able to improve. I didn’t make any mistakes so that is always a positive.”

Verstappen, who spun at the final corner on his last lap, said: “Second is still good. It was just tricky out there. The last lap was better but it wouldn’t have been enough to beat Lewis.”

Lando Norris became the youngest British driver to stand on top of a Formula One podium with a fine drive to third in Austria last weekend.

And the McLaren star carried over his impressive form to finish in sixth, one spot behind Renault’s Esteban Ocon.

However, he will be bumped back three places following a grid penalty for a yellow-flag infringement in practice yesterday.

George Russell was among the standout performers in the tricky conditions. The 22-year-old, now in his second season, made it out of Q1 for the first time in his career, and then put his Williams in 12th.

“Yes, boys, f***, yes,” he shouted over the team radio.


It was crazy conditions for the drivers in Spielberg, but perfect for Hamilton who thrives in the rain

getty


Hamilton celebrates after securing pole for Sunday’s Styrian Grand Prix

getty

These are difficult times for Williams – indeed, this marked the first time one of their cars had progressed to the second phase of qualifying since the Brazilian Grand Prix in 2018 – and Russell is proving a shining light.

The Englishman is under contract with Williams until the end of next year, but his performance on Saturday might make Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff sit up and take notice.

Russell is on the books as a junior driver with the world champions and he will be in the frame for a seat with the Silver Arrows if they change their driver line-up for 2021. Russell finished 1.4 sec and six positions ahead of his rookie team-mate Nicholas Latifi.

Charles Leclerc took advantage of a late safety car to take an unlikely second in the season-opening race, but the man from Monaco failed to progress to the top-10 shootout, finishing 11th.

The struggling Ferrari team are braced for a difficult year and despite sneaking through to Q3, Sebastian Vettel will line up just one place ahead of his team-mate in 10th.


Source: TalkSport.com Motorsport

More Formula One drivers expected to stand rather than take a knee during anti-racism protest at Styrian Grand Prix

More Formula One drivers are expected to stand rather than take a knee at this weekend’s Styrian Grand Prix.

Ahead of the season-opening Austrian GP last Sunday, all 20 drivers lined up on the grid in a powerful message against racism, with 14 of them taking a knee.


Six drivers opted to stand during the protest on Sunday

Getty Images – Getty

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc, were among six who elected to stand in the moments before Sunday’s race at the Red Bull Ring, although both posted messages saying they were committed to the fight for equality.

Nineteen of the drivers donned t-shirts emblazoned with the message ‘End Racism’, while Lewis Hamilton wore a ‘Black Lives Matter’ t-shirt.

Now it is believed that some of the drivers who knelt last weekend could now decide to stand on Sunday, when they return to the same track for the new Styrian GP.


Hamilton was the only driver to wear a Black Lives Matter t-shirt

AFP or licensors

Formula One bosses will not stop Lewis Hamilton from continuing to take a knee at races this season.

Hamilton knelt before the first round in Austria, and subsequently revealed he would carry on performing the gesture if he was provided with a platform to do so by the sport.

It is understood that both Formula One’s American owners Liberty Media and governing body the FIA will inform Britain’s six-time world champion that he is free to kneel at the next instalment of the championship in Austria this weekend and for the remainder of the year.

The final decision is set to rest with the drivers, who are likely to discuss the divisive subject again in Spielberg on Friday.

Darren Bent has praised Hamilton for battling his critics and pioneering equality and the Black Lives Matter message in Formula One.

“Lewis Hamilton has been doing so much for that sport to try and open people’s eyes.

“It was a bit strange to not to see everyone kneeling, it shows there’s still a little bit of a divide there.

View this post on Instagram

Today was an important moment for me and all the people out there who are working for and hoping for change. For a more equal and just society. I may get criticism in the media and elsewhere, but this fight is about equality, not politics or promotion. To me it was an emotional and poignant chapter in the progress of making F1 a more diverse and inclusive sport. I want a better future for our generation and the ones after us. There is so much that needs to be done. No one is perfect but if we all chip in and do our part, we can see change. I truly believe that. Thank you to my team for their incredible support and hard work this weekend and thank you to all who supported. Let’s keep pushing, guys. See you next week. Love. #EndRacism #BlackLivesMatter

A post shared by Lewis Hamilton (@lewishamilton) on Jul 5, 2020 at 12:59pm PDT

“I know some of them will say kneeling means something different in their countries… but it’s a step in the right direction for that sport.

“Hamilton has come under fire, by the way, the criticism and stick he’s taken especially during this whole Black Lives Matter movement…

“If you look at some of the comments he gets on a daily basis on Twitter, for someone who is an absolute pioneer in his sport, winning six world titles, and for him to get the kind of stick he does, it’s totally uncalled for, it’s totally unjustified.

“And even so, he’s still doing all he can to try and take this forward.”


Source: TalkSport.com Motorsport

Fernando Alonso: Two-time world champion to return to Formula 1 next season to replace Daniel Ricciardo at Renault

Fernando Alonso is set to return to Formula 1 as a driver for Renault next year.

Alonso, the two-time world champion, left F1 in 2018 after four unsuccessful years with McLaren – the team Daniel Ricciardo is joining from Renault to free up space for the Spaniard’s return.


Alonso won Renault their only two world championships in 2005 and 2006

AFP via Getty Images

The announcement that Sebastian Vettel will leave Ferrari at the end of the season after the two parties were unable to agree terms on a new contract began a domino effect which resulted in Carlos Sainz being hired by the Italians for 2021, with Ricciardo swiftly hired to replace Sainz.

And Alonso will now return to F1 as the Australian’s replacement at Renault, BBC Sport claim.

Renault will partner Alonso with Esteban Ocon, the 23-year-old Frenchman who began his two-year deal with the Oxfordshire-based team at the start of this season.

Alonso has tried his hand at endurance racing since leaving F1 – winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2018 and 2019 – and also raced in the IndyCar Series. His other venues away from F1 include twice competing at the Indianapolis 500 – finishing 24th in 2017 and DNQing last year; he is due to enter this year’s race with Arrow McLaren SP and will hope for success at the third attempt.


Alonso appeared to race for the final time in F1 at the 2018 Abu Dhabi GP – but he will drive again next season

Getty Images

Lewis Hamilton praised for ‘opening F1’s eyes’ and ‘being a pioneer’ for equality after Black Lives Matter protests at Austrian Grand Prix

Darren Bent has praised Lewis Hamilton for battling his critics and pioneering equality and the Black Lives Matter message in Formula One.

The six-time F1 world champion may not have won on his return to the track over the weekend, but there was a victory for the Brit as the predominantly white sport proclaimed its support of racial equality.

Hamilton, who has been vocal in his support of the Black Lives Matter movement, was among 14 drivers to take a knee before Sunday’s Austrian Grand Prix – the delayed first race of the 2020 season which was won by Hamilton’s Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas.


Six drivers opted not to kneel

AFP or licensors

Although six drivers decided not to take the knee, all wore ‘End Racism’ or ‘Black Lives Matter’ T-shirts, while Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc – two of the six to stay standing – insisted they are committed to the fight with statements on social media.

Hamilton – who raced in a blacked out Mercedes – did not criticise his follow competitors who didn’t join in the gesture, explaining that ‘nobody should be forced’ and that he ‘never requested or demanded’ anyone should take a knee.

But, having been outspoken following the death of George Floyd in police custody in the United States, Hamilton insisted he is committed to continue leading from the front to ensure the fight against racism does not ‘die a silent death’.

And former Premier League striker Bent says the Brit deserves praise for continuing to push the message despite the incredible abuse he faces online.

View this post on Instagram

Today was an important moment for me and all the people out there who are working for and hoping for change. For a more equal and just society. I may get criticism in the media and elsewhere, but this fight is about equality, not politics or promotion. To me it was an emotional and poignant chapter in the progress of making F1 a more diverse and inclusive sport. I want a better future for our generation and the ones after us. There is so much that needs to be done. No one is perfect but if we all chip in and do our part, we can see change. I truly believe that. Thank you to my team for their incredible support and hard work this weekend and thank you to all who supported. Let’s keep pushing, guys. See you next week. Love. #EndRacism #BlackLivesMatter

A post shared by Lewis Hamilton (@lewishamilton) on Jul 5, 2020 at 12:59pm PDT

Speaking on Monday’s talkSPORT Breakfast, Bent said said: “Lewis Hamilton has been doing so much for that sport to try and open people’s eyes.

“It was a bit strange to not to see everyone kneeling, it shows there’s still a little bit of a divide there.

“I know some of them will say kneeling means something different in their countries… but it’s a step in the right direction for that sport.

“Hamilton has come under fire, by the way, the criticism and stick he’s taken especially during this whole Black Lives Matter movement…

“If you look at some of the comments he gets on a daily basis on Twitter, for someone who is an absolute pioneer in his sport, winning six world titles, and for him to get the kind of stick he does, it’s totally uncalled for, it’s totally unjustified.

“And even so, he’s still doing all he can to try and take this forward.”

Hamilton has also revealed he was ‘silenced and told to back down’ after planning to make a gesture in support of former NFL player Colin Kaepernick before the 2017 US Grand Prix.

Kaepernick made the headlines in the States when he sat down and later knelt during the national anthem ahead of a San Francisco 49ers game, in a protest against racial inequality.

The quarterback’s actions polarised opinion in the US, and he was released by the 49ers at the end of the 2016 season and has not played in the sport since.


Colin Kaepernick (No.7) takes a knee ahead of the 49ers’ game against the New Orleans Saints in 2016

Hamilton has said he had planned a similar gesture in support of Kaepernick and the equality message, complete with having a custom helmet made featuring the quarterback’s team colours and number, and regrets not following through with it after warnings from F1 chiefs.

But Bent can understand why, saying it could have ‘been the end of him’ in the sport.

“It’s a lot easier now to do these protests, to do these things that are hopefully going to make a difference,” added the former footballer.

“Back then when it first happened to Kaepernick and the way people were outraged by it, it was on every sports network in America , it was all over the place.

“Lewis Hamilton has said he wishes he had done it back then, but I can fully understand why he wouldn’t have done it.

“The criticism he gets now is bad, but if he had been done for taking a knee back then too, that might have been the end of him.”

Listen to a clip of Darren Bent on the talkSPORT Breakfast above


Source: TalkSport.com Motorsport

Formula 1: Valtteri Bottas wins chaotic Austrian Grand Prix as Lewis Hamilton misses out on podium due to time penalty

Valtteri Bottas won an incident-packed first race of the new Formula 1 season in Austria, as Lewis Hamilton was demoted to fourth due to a five-second time penalty.

Bottas, who led every lap in a peerless performance, crossed the line just 0.6 seconds clear of his Mercedes team-mate, but the world champion was penalised after he was involved in a crash with Red Bull driver Alex Albon in the closing stages.


Bottas held off all competition

AFP or licensors

Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc moved up to second, with British driver Lando Norris taking the first podium of his career to finish third.

Red Bull appeared to have pulled off a tactical masterstroke by pitting Albon for fresh tyres during a second of three safety car periods.

On the restart and with just 10 laps of racing left, Albon moved round the outside of Hamilton at the fourth corner, but on the exit Hamilton refused to concede the position – front-left tyre hitting Albon’s right rear.


Charles Leclerc and Lando Norris earned places on the podium

AFP or licensors

Albon was launched into the gravel, ending his chances of a dramatic win. The stewards laid the blame at Hamilton’s door.

It marked the second time in three races the pair have collided.

Hamilton was also penalised for hitting Albon at last year’s Brazilian Grand Prix.

The penalty capped a dramatic afternoon for Hamilton, who was earlier sent back to fifth on the grid for a yellow flag infringement in qualifying.


Source: TalkSport.com Motorsport

Six drivers choose not to take the knee before Formula 1 Austrian Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton kneels after speaking out

Six Formula 1 drivers decided not to take the knee prior to the season-opening Austrian Grand Prix on Sunday.

Max Verstappen, Charles Leclerc, Carlos Sainz, Danil Kvyat, Antonio Giovinazzi and Kimi Raikkonen remained standing while the majority kneeled at the front of the grid.

However, all wore ‘End Racism’ or ‘Black Lives Matter’ shirts and two of those who chose to stand insisted they are committed to the fight against prejudice with statements on social media.


Six drivers opted not to kneel

AFP or licensors

Leclerc explained: “All 20 drivers stand united with their teams against racism and prejudice, at the same time embracing the principles of diversity, equality and inclusion, supporting Formula 1’s and FIA’s commitment.

“I believe that what matters are facts and behaviours in our daily life rather than formal gestures that could be seen as controversial in some countries.

“I will not take the knee but this does not mean at all that I am less committed than others in the fight against racism. #EndRacism #WeRaceAsOne #RacingUnited #PurposeDriven.”

Verstappen said: “I am very committed to equality and the fight against racism.

“But I believe everyone has the right to express themself at a time and in a way that suits them.

“I will not take the knee today but respect and support the personal choices every driver makes. #WeRaceAsOne #EndRacism.”


The majority took the knee

Getty Images – Getty

Lewis Hamilton took the knee after speaking out about racism at the conclusion of qualifying on Saturday.

“We know there is an issue,” the Mercedes driver said regarding the split between drivers over taking a knee.

“We don’t need an experience like tomorrow to prove that. We spoke a bit in the drivers’ briefing, yep, interesting.

“I don’t know what we will see tomorrow. Potentially, people will pay their respects in their own way.

“I just described that silence is complicit and there is still silence in some cases.

“So, I thanked those that have said something on their social media platforms – because they have a great voice – and encouraged the others that have not, to say something.

“It is about helping people understand because there are people who don’t fully understand what is happening, and the reasons behind these protests. I try to continue to guide and influence as many people as I can with it.”


Source: TalkSport.com Motorsport

Nick Kyrgios castigates ‘boneheaded’ Novak Djokovic who tested positive for COVID-19 test after Adria Tour fiasco

Nick Kyrgios vented his frustrations at world number one Novak Djokovic on Twitter after his positive test for coronavirus.

Djokovic has tested positive for the lethal virus in the wake of the Adria Tour events he helped organise in Serbia and Croatia this month.

The world number one is the fourth player who played in tournaments to test positive, joining Grigor Dimitrov, Borna Coric and Viktor Troicki.


Novak Djokovic has apologised after the results of his COVID-19 test were confirmed

Getty Images – Getty

In a statement on his website, Djokovic said he and his wife Jelena, who also tested positive, are currently asymptomatic and will self-isolate.

Djokovic said: “I am extremely sorry for each individual case of infection. I hope that it will not complicate anyone’s health situation and that everyone will be fine.

Kyrgios called the decision to stage the event ‘boneheaded’ while British number one Dan Evans described it as ‘a poor example to set’.

Reacting to the news of Djokovic’s positive test, the controversial Australian posted an apparent clip of a party held during the tournament and tweeted: “Don’t @ me for anything I’ve done that has been ‘irresponsible’ or classified as ‘stupidity’ – this takes the cake.”


The Australian has somehow become the voice of reason during these confusing times

Djokovic travelled home from the tournament in Zadar, Croatia to his home in Serbia before being tested for the virus.

In the statement he said: “The moment we arrived in Belgrade we went to be tested. My result is positive, just as Jelena’s, while the results of our children are negative.

“Everything we did in the past month, we did with a pure heart and sincere intentions. Our tournament meant to unite and share a message of solidarity and compassion throughout the region.”

Djokovic added: “The tour has been designed to help both established and up and coming tennis players from south eastern Europe to gain access to some competitive tennis while the various tours are on hold due to the COVID-19 situation.


Djokvoic poses with his Ardia Tour members, including Grigor Dimitrov

AFP or licensors

“It was all born with a philanthropic idea, to direct all raised funds towards people in need and it warmed my heart to see how everybody strongly responded to this.

“We organised the tournament at the moment when the virus has weakened, believing that the conditions for hosting the tour had been met.

“Unfortunately, this virus is still present, and it is a new reality that we are still learning to cope and live with.

“I am hoping things will ease with time so we can all resume lives the way they were.”


Source: TalkSport.com Tennis

British Superbike rider Ben Godfrey dies in crash at Donington Park, aged 25

British Superbike rider Ben Godfrey has died in a racing accident at the age of 25.

Godfrey fell off his bike during a No Limits Trackdays event at Donington Park in Leicestershire on Sunday.


Godfrey was dubbed a ‘fantastic young man’ by No Limits Trackways director Mark Neate

@BenGodfreyRacing

A statement read: “During the second advanced group session of our No Limits Track day today at Donington Park, Ben Godfrey, 25, collided with another bike on the approach to Redgate and fell from his machine.

“Tragically, he suffered serious injuries and despite immediate medical assistance trackside, he succumbed to his injuries shortly after.”

No Limits Trackdays director Mark Neate paid tribute to Godfrey.

He said: “Ben really was a fantastic young man and friends with so many people in the paddock, he was always smiling and had time for everyone.

“He was very excited for the start of the season and had taken part in many track days in the last month.


Godfrey tragically leaves behind his partner, Jordan

@BenGodfreyRacing

“Our thoughts are with his family, his partner Jordan and his teammates and friends.”

Leicester Police confirmed the news of the tragic incident.

A spokesperson said: “We were called at 11.20am today to a report of a collision at Donington Park. It happened at around 10.30am and involved two motorcycles.

“Officers attended the location where a 25-year-old man was sadly pronounced dead at the scene.

“A second man, 31, sustained serious injuries and was taken to Nottingham’s Queen’s Medical Centre for treatment.

“Enquiries into the circumstances surrounding the collision are ongoing.”


Source: TalkSport.com Motorsport

Noose found in garage of NASCAR’s only full-time black driver Bubba Wallace as ‘heinous’ act in Alabama condemned

An African-American NASCAR driver who found a noose in his garage insists he will ‘not back down’ in his battle to eradicate racism from the sport.

Bubba Wallace, who recently campaigned successfully to have the Confederate flag banned from NASCAR events, is the only full-time black driver in the Cup Series.


Bubba Wallace, pictured wearing a Black Lives Matter T-shirt ahead of a race earlier this month

Getty Images

The sport’s governing body revealed the noose had been discovered in Wallace’s garage stall at the Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama.

“Late this afternoon, NASCAR was made aware that a noose was found in the garage stall of the 43 team,” read a statement.

“We are angry and outraged, and cannot state strongly enough how seriously we take this heinous act. We have launched an immediate investigation, and will do everything we can to identify the person(s) responsible and eliminate them from the sport.

“As we have stated unequivocally, there is no place for racism in NASCAR, and this act only strengthens our resolve to make the sport open and welcoming to all.”


Bubba Wallace led a successful campaign to ban the Confederate flag from NASCAR events

Getty Images

Responding to the incident, Wallace released his own statement on Twitter, praising the largely-positive response to his recent campaigns while condemning the ‘reprehensible action’ of placing a noose in his garage.

“Today’s despicable act of racism and hatred leaves me incredibly saddened and serves as a painful reminder of how much further we have to go as a society and how persistent we must be in the fight against racism,” he wrote.

“Over the last several weeks, I have been overwhelmed by the support from people across the NASCAR industry including other drivers and team members in the garage.

“Together, our sport has made a commitment to driving real change and championing a community that is accepting and welcoming of everyone.

“Nothing is more important and we will not be deterred by the reprehensible actions of those who seek to spread hate.

“As my mother told me today, ‘They are just trying to scare you.’ This will not break me, I will not give in nor will I back down. I will continue to proudly stand for what I believe in.”

The lack of diversity in motorsport saw Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton launch his own commission to bring more black people to the fore.

Hamilton also revealed on Twitter that he had joined Sunday’s Black Lives Matter protests in Hyde Park, seemingly incognito.

He wrote: “Went down to Hyde Park today for the peaceful protest and I was so proud to see in person so many people of all races and backgrounds supporting this movement. It was really moving. I’m feeling extremely positive that change will come, but we cannot stop now. #blacklivesmatter.”


Source: TalkSport.com Motorsport

Lewis Hamilton: Six-time Formula One champion to set up commission to increase diversity in motorsport

Lewis Hamilton will set up a commission to increase black representation in motorsport.

The six-time world champion has previously expressed “so much anger, sadness and disbelief” following the death of George Floyd, and has spoken widely on race in light of protests following the killing in Minneapolis.


Hamilton says the aim of the commission is to make the sport “become as diverse as the complex and multicultural world we live in”

AFP or licensors

He wrote in The Sunday Times that racism was ‘only too familiar to me’ and said while people were quick to condemn racist gestures like monkey noises being shouted at black footballers, they were less quick to address structural issues.

“I’ve been fighting the stigma of racism throughout my racing career – from kids throwing things at me while karting, to being taunted by fans in black face at a 2007 Grand Prix, one of my first Formula One races,” he said.

“I’m used to being one of very few people of colour on my teams and, more than that, I’m used to the idea that no one will speak up for me when I face racism, because no one personally feels or understands my experience.”

The Mercedes driver said the aim of his commission would be to make the sport “become as diverse as the complex and multicultural world we live in”.


Hamilton is one of F1’s greatest ever drivers but wants to make a bigger impact on the sport as a whole

AFP or licensors

He said it would be a “research partnership dedicated to exploring how motorsport can be used as a vehicle to engage more young people from black backgrounds with Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subjects and, ultimately, employ them on our teams or in other engineering sectors”.

Hamilton, 35, posted #BlackLivesMatter to his 5.7million Twitter followers following the death of Mr Floyd, with his post featuring a video of a young black American girl in tears about inherent racism in society.

He then went on to post an apparent criticism of F1 colleagues on his Instagram story, saying: “I see those of you who are staying silent, some of you the biggest of stars yet you stay silent in the midst of injustice.


Hamilton has called on his fellow F1 employees to do more

Instagram – @lewishamilton

“I would have thought by now you would see why this happens and say something about it but you can’t stand alongside us.

“The way minorities are treated has to change, how you educate those in your country of equality, racism, classism and that we are all the same!”

He wrote in the paper that the “institutional barriers that have kept F1 highly exclusive persist” adding that the thousands of people employed in motorsport need to be more representative of society.

“Winning championships is great, but I want to be remembered for my work creating a more equal society through education”, he added.


Source: TalkSport.com Motorsport