Incoming McLaren driver Lando Norris still not spoken to Lewis Hamilton

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Lando Norris

Lando Norris has not spoken to Lewis Hamilton since his promotion to McLaren’s race team was announced.

Norris, who turns 19 next month, will become Britain’s youngest ever Formula One driver at next season’s curtain raiser in Melbourne, Australia.

The English teenager has followed a similar path to Hamilton, winning the prestigious Formula Three championship last year, while also being hired by McLaren.

He will become the first British rookie to race for the Woking team since Hamilton burst on to the scene nearly a dozen years ago.

“I don’t have Lewis’s number,” Norris said. “I don’t think I have ever spoken to Lewis, maybe once.

“It would be nice to because he is a cool guy.”

Hamilton is on the brink of becoming a five-time world champion after moving 67 points clear of Sebastian
Vettel with just 100 remaining. Indeed, his title coronation could take place in America a week on Sunday.

Norris will join Hamilton as the second British driver on the grid in 2019.

0914 Hamilton Clothing Launch

George Russell, the 20-year-old Mercedes junior who is on course to win the Formula Two championship, the feeder series to F1, is hopeful of making it a British trio by joining Williams.

Norris’ promotion was announced after last month’s Italian Grand Prix. He will team up with Carlos Sainz, who is joining the struggling British outfit from Renault.

Norris added: “Life has not changed for me that much. In terms of everything I do here at the track, and everything I do back at the McLaren factory, it is all pretty similar.

“The main thing, is you have more people asking for photographs and autographs.

“I feel more relaxed and that is a big thing, too. For instance, it was nice knowing that when I went out in Japan for practice, it wasn’t like I had to nail this, and nail that, and try and do a really good lap compared to
Stoffel (Vandoorne) or Fernando (Alonso).
“It was a bit more just get out there and do what I do and be more natural.”

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New female-only motorsport series launched to find future Formula 1 stars

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A new motorsport series is set to be launched in an attempt to find female Formula 1 stars.

W Series will start in 2019 and has been backed by major names in F1, including 13-time grand prix winner David Coulthard and Red Bull design engineer Adrian Newey.

It will offer a prize fund of US $1.5million and free entry for 18-20 competitors, who will be selected purely on merit following tests and appraisals. The overall winner will collect $500,000, with prize money down to 18th place.

Organisers aim to stage six 30-minute races at top circuits in Europe and future plans could see the series expand to America, Asia and Australia.

“At the heart of W Series’ DNA is the firm belief that women can compete equally with men in motorsport. However, an all-female series is essential in order to force greater female participation,” organisers said in a statement.

The last woman to start an F1 grand prix was Italy’s Lella Lombardi in 1976, but Coulthard says female drivers can compete with their male counterparts.

“In order to be a successful racing driver, you have to be skilled, determined, competitive, brave and physically fit, but you don’t have to possess the kind of super-powerful strength levels that some sports require. You also don’t have to be a man,” Coulthard told the Daily Mail.

“That’s why we at W Series firmly believe that female and male racing drivers can compete with one another on equal terms given the same opportunity.

“At the moment, however, women racing drivers tend to reach a ‘glass ceiling’ at around the GP3/Formula 3 level on their learning curve, often as a result of a lack of funding rather than a lack of talent.

“That’s why an all-new all-female single-seater motor racing series is required – W Series – to establish a competitive and constructive motorsport habitat in which our drivers will be able to equip themselves with the necessary skill-set eventually to move on up to existing high-level mainstream racing series and compete with the best male drivers on equal terms.”

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Lewis Hamilton calls on media to show more respect to title rival Sebastian Vettel

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Rivals: Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel.

Lewis Hamilton has said Sebastian Vettel deserves more respect after moving to defend his championship rival.

Vettel attracted criticism for his collision with Max Verstappen at Sunday’s Japanese Grand Prix which leaves Hamilton on the brink of winning his fifth world title.

The Ferrari driver’s coming together with Verstappen was his seventh significant error of the campaign, and his 10th in two seasons fighting Hamilton for the championship.

But Hamilton, who will secure the title if he wins in Austin, Texas next Sunday and Vettel fails to finish second, insists the German is owed greater credit.

“I feel the media need to show a little more respect for Sebastian,” he wrote in a message posted to his Instagram story on Tuesday.

“You simply cannot imagine how hard it is to do what we do at our level, for any athlete at the top of their game that is.

“It is to be expected that being humans we will make mistakes but it is how we get through them that counts.”

While a dominant Hamilton, who will visit the Mercedes factory in Brackley, Northamptonshire on Wednesday, has secured six victories in seven rounds of remarkable racing, Vettel and Ferrari’s championship challenge has fallen dramatically off the rails.

Ferrari were at fault for putting Vettel on the wrong tyres in Saturday’s dry-wet qualifying session in Suzuka before the German’s clash with Verstappen in the race dropped him to last. He recovered to finish sixth.

Vettel protested his innocence afterwards, and said Verstappen was to blame. Toto Wolff, the Mercedes team principal, didn’t believe Vettel was at fault.

“I’m not sure it was his mistake,” he said. “Sebastian recovered well from his starting position and at that stage was a solid fourth.

“As a racing driver you either have to go for it or not and the door looked open. He gave it a go but a racing incident caused him to drop all the way back.”

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