Lewis Hamilton to wait for F1 plans before committing to new Mercedes deal

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Lewis Hamilton is keen to see Formula One’s long-awaited blueprint for the future before he signs a new contract with Mercedes, the world champion said on Thursday.

Briefing reporters ahead of this weekend’s Bahrain Grand Prix, the 33-year-old Briton said he wanted to see what the sport would be like in 2020 and beyond before he reached a final decision.

The four-time world champion said he was “relaxed” about his position and was not feeling any stress or concerns.

“We’re still in discussions,” Hamilton said.

“I’m very relaxed about it. There’s not really much to say. I’m not really in a rush. We’re just taking our time, talking about it as and when we want to it.

“It’s not a stressful thing for either of us. It’s quite an interesting time for F1.

“Tomorrow (Friday) there’s some sort of announcement or discussions of what is happening in F1 moving forward. It’s always good to wait to hear some of those and see the future of F1.

“For sure, that could or could not have an impact on decisions you make in terms of length or whatever it is you end up doing in F1.”

He said he was not suggesting that he had any specific concerns in mind.
“I’m not hinting at anything like that. I am an integral part of F1 so it’ll be great to know how it will sit for us all.

“Maybe it will affect the driver market. Maybe not — that’s why I’m interested.

“It’s actually come at a pretty good time because I still haven’t put pen to paper so I think it’s good for the team and good for us.

“I think it’s important we do take our time because you should never rush anything. The team is not saying they are talking to other drivers. I’ve never, since I’ve been with the team, gone and spoken to another team.”

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Lewis Hamilton top of the charts in Australian GP practice

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World champion Lewis Hamilton took up where he left off last season with the fastest lap times in opening practice for the Australian Formula One Grand Prix on Friday.

Hamilton followed up his opening practice best time of one minute 24.026 seconds with 1:23.931 in the second session to hold a 0.127sec gap over Red Bull‘s Max Verstappen (1:24.058).

Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas (1:24.159) was third in Melbourne in the first exchanges of the new Formula One season.

The Ferrari duo of Kimi Raikonnen and Sebastian Vettel were fourth and fifth respectively and between 0.3-0.5secs down on Hamilton’s time ahead of Saturday’s qualifying.

Australia’s big hope Daniel Ricciardo in a Red Bull was seventh fastest in 1:24.721.

Hamilton’s long-run pace looked superior on the ultrasoft tyres, reeling off a steady run of 1:28s, but race pace simulations showed little between the three leading teams.

Red Bull managed to lap in the high 1:28s with Ferrari in the low 1:29s.

Verstappen and Bottas both used soft tyres for the final few minutes of the second practice session, while Raikkonen was on the supersoft for Ferrari.

Hamilton is gunning for his fifth world title this year, an achievement which would match the legendary Juan Manuel Fangio and leave him just two adrift of Michael Schumacher’s all-time record.

Bottas and Raikkonen faced the stewards after the session to explain a coming together, when Bottas had to take to the gravel to avoid running into the Ferrari.

The surprise of the opening day was the performance of the Haas team to challenge for the fourth-fastest team on the back of two strong showings from Romain Grosjean.

The second session was halted briefly after a cable was ripped up from underneath the start/finish line, and resumed after officials cut loose the wire.

A fired-up Fernando Alonso yelled down the McLaren team radio: “Maybe because of the halo the people stop looking into their mirrors!” after a close shave with some of his rivals early in the session.

The halo, a safety bar above the cockpit to protect drivers, is a new innovation this season.

Provided by AFP Sport

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Lewis Hamilton deletes all Instagram posts

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All of Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton‘s Instagram posts have been deleted, just days after he was criticised for a video he uploaded to the social media platform.

Hamilton posted a video which showed him chastising his nephew for wearing a princess dress on Christmas Day.

The 32-year-old’s actions drew criticism on social media from users who felt his nephew should be free to wear whatever he wanted.

Hamilton took down the Instagram post and later tweeted an apology, which has also now been deleted. He was further criticised for liking some of the replies to his Twitter post, one of which said he had no need to apologise to the “PC brigade”.

”Yesterday I was playing around with my nephew and realised that my words were inappropriate so I removed the post,” Hamilton wrote in his Twitter apology.

”I meant no harm and did not mean to offend anyone at all. I love that my nephew feels free to express himself as we all should.

”My deepest apologies for my behaviour as I realise it is really not acceptable for anyone, no matter where you are from, to marginalise or stereotype anyone.

”I have always been in support of anyone living their life exactly how they wish and I hope I can be forgiven for this lapse in judgement.”

In the initial Instagram video, Hamilton told his 5.7 million followers: ”I’m so sad right now. Look at my nephew.”

The camera then moves to a young boy wearing a blue and pink princess dress and waving around a pink heart-shaped furry wand.

Hamilton asks the small child: ”Why are you wearing a princess dress? Is this what you got for Christmas?”

When his nephew says yes, Hamilton replies: ”Why did you ask for a princess dress for Christmas?”

He then shouts at the boy: ”Boys don’t wear princess dresses!”

The youngster covers his ears with his hands and turns away.

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