Lewis Hamilton receives knighthood after F1 title anguish
Lewis Hamilton’s future continues to dominant the world of Formula 1 ahead of the upcoming 2022 season.
Hamilton’s 2021 campaign ended in drama and contention as Max Verstappen snatched away the world championship on the final lap of the final race in Abu Dhabi, leading to speculation over whether Hamilton may decide to call time on his storied career rather than continue to chase a record eighth world title. However, a cryptic tweet by Mercedes on the weekend, featuring a picture of Hamilton alongside the message “Adversity causes some to break; others to break records” hinted he would be back for more.
The new season gets under way on 20 March at the Bahrain Grand Prix. This time Hamilton will be joined by a new teammate. Valtteri Bottas is moving on to Alfa Romeo and young talent George Russell is taking up his empty Mercedes seat. Red Bull’s lineup of Verstappen and Sergio Perez is set to stay the same, while Ferrari and McLaren will stick with Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz respectively.
Follow all the latest F1 news below.
Mercedes have to be “ready” for any unexpected problems in their path, says team boss Toto Wolff – and that includes Lewis Hamilton stepping away from the sport.
The seven-time world champion has a contract which runs through to 2023 but speculation has been rife that the Brit was ready to walk away and retire after the disappointment of how last season ended, losing the title to Max Verstappen on the final lap of the final race.
Wolff isn’t concerned by the prospect though and says the emphasis is instead on preparation and communication.
“It doesn’t worry me at all, because I will always respect Lewis’s decisions,” he said, reports the Express.
‘Whether this is staying with us for a long time, or whether that means leaving the sport and pursuing different interests.
“I think we need to be ready for all kinds of curveballs being thrown at us.
“But at the same time, we talk a lot, and we are very transparent with each other. I think there is more to achieve together.”
Karl Matchett6 January 2022 18:00
Officials at the iconic Nurburgring say they are open to discussions with Formula One CEO Stefano Domenicali that could see the German Grand Prix return to its race calendar.
The German Grand Prix has not been held since 2019 and despite a record 23 races scheduled in the 2022 season, F1 will not be heading to the country next year.
That is despite Germany’s long history with the sport, as well as the connections with the Nurburgring – which last held a race in 2020 when the Eifel Grand Prix replaced one of the cancelled events in the Covid-hit season.
In a recent interview with Sport1, Domenicali said there “should be an open discussion to sound out how Formula One can return to Germany” within the coming weeks.
But the F1 CEO also added: “Unfortunately, I don’t see any real interest from Germany in becoming part of the Formula One calendar again. That’s a shame and actually hard to believe. I hope this will change again in the future.”
Karl Matchett6 January 2022 17:40
When does the 2022 Formula 1 season start and who are the drivers?
Here’s everything you need to know ahead of 2022 in Formula One.
Who are the new faces and who has switched teams? Where are the new races being held? What’s the calendar as it stands and what about new rules?
There’s a lot to take in before the season starts so make sure you’re as fully up to speed as the drivers themselves.
Karl Matchett6 January 2022 17:20
Fernando Alonso says a single campaign of unhappiness has led to wrong perceptions of his character in F1.
The veteran says the “environment” at McLaren in 2007, alongside a then-new-face Lewis Hamilton, led to him being displeased and leaving after just a year, but this memory has led people to question his state since then despite everything going largely well.
“I think from 2007 and fighting with Hamilton in a British team, in a British environment, it was the wrong message that people perceived and people spread about me – that from 2007, everyone is surprised about how good I feel and how happy I am,” Alonso said.
“So I think I didn’t change much. I’m happy today, but I don’t think I was not happy in the last seasons.
“When I joined Ferrari, I had exactly the same questions from you [reporters].
“I remember perfectly, answering questions: ‘Why do you feel so happy now? Is it being in an Italian team and you are Spanish, it’s a better fit and you feel happy?’ And I said yes, maybe it’s because of that, we have the same sense of humour, we have the same Latin character, so maybe that’s the reason why I’m happy.
“Then I came back to McLaren in 2015, and it was the same comments: ‘Why are you so happy now? Because in Ferrari, you felt a little bit down the last two years and frustrated, and now you seem that even if you are not fighting for the championship and it was the bad seasons of Honda etc, you’re still quite happy off-track, so why that change from Fernando?’
“And then when I was in endurance [racing] or Dakar or Indy: ‘Why are you so much more relaxed now? In Formula 1, you seemed frustrated etc?’ And now it’s the same comment.”
Karl Matchett6 January 2022 17:00
Former F1 driver and two-time Le Mans winner Hans-Joachim Stuck says he was underwhelmed with Sebastian Vettel’s first season with Aston Martin.
Vettel did claim a podium in Azerbaijan, but overall there was more hoped for in some quarters.
“Sebastian Vettel has set a few highlights in the Aston Martin this season, but otherwise I have to say that I am personally a little disappointed. There wasn’t much special about it,” Stuck told Eurosport.
“Sporting-wise, he can keep up without question. There are always fluctuations with Vettel, but that’s also down to his team.
“From Aston Martin’s point of view, however, the season has gone well overall. That whets the appetite for the future.”
Karl Matchett6 January 2022 16:45
Ferrari really picked up last year after a dismal performance in 2020.
The pairing of Sainz and Leclerc worked well and they are not stopping here – Team Principal Mattia Binotto wants far more in future.
“Our objectives, at least declared at the start of , were to try to improve ourselves in all the areas, in each single detail,” said Binotto. “We didn’t set the third position as the final objective for ourselves; we always said third will be the simple outcome of trying to work well as a team and in terms of team effort now.
“Finishing third… is encouraging because it’s a declaration that the team somehow has made progress and is going in the right direction.”
Karl Matchett6 January 2022 16:30
Valtteri Bottas briefly considered leaving F1
Valtteri Bottas will no longer be Lewis Hamilton’s team-mate racing for Mercedes next year, but says the multi-year offer received from Alfa Romeo gave him clarity for the future and allowed him time to come to terms with a big change – going from a team trying to win every race to one building for the future.
“Yes, for sure, I know going from a team that like I said, going to a race knowing that you have a chance to win a race, it’s going to be different next year, realistically,” Bottas told reporters.
“Luckily, this change and with a new contract, nothing happened overnight, so I had actually quite a lot of time to process things and thinking about the difference in our roles.
“Of course, I also questioned myself, do I want this, or should I try doing something else?
“[Leaving] was also one option, but I never seriously considered leaving Formula 1 because deep inside me, I still love Formula 1 and the competition and many things about it.
“Again, referring to this something new and a long-term project, that’s the motivation for me, to try and help the team the best I can, and I think it can be really rewarding if we achieve some good things.”
Karl Matchett6 January 2022 16:15
Yuki Tsunoda started 2021 well but found consistency hard to come by – and he knows he must improve to retain his spot with AlphaTauri.
The Japanese racer has moved country and embarked on a better pre-season regime in a bid to maximise his chances of success.
“[This year] is going to be a really important year for me,” he told GPFans.
“I don’t know how the pace is going to be for the car in the team, but you need to perform well and, of course, you need to beat the team-mate and you need a more consistent race.
“But now I know the details of what I have to improve and, if I improve this one, I can beat him, beat my team-mate, or have a consistent race.
“These are all of the things, all of the ingredients I saw to go forward. In terms of that, it was a really good preparation year I would say.”
Karl Matchett6 January 2022 16:00
Changes to the car design, the tyre size and the different rules on spending caps in Formula One next season all mean drivers face a real challenge for the new campaign.
That’s the feeling from Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, who drove several laps in Abu Dhabi after the season finale on the new compounds.
“It’s quite a bit different. This one is basically adapted to fit those bigger tyres on, but apart from that it’s the 2019 car,” Leclerc said, per PlanetF1.
“So it’s going to be big time different, but I think we’ll only know once we put the real 2022 car on track and do the correlation from the simulator to reality.
“It makes it quite tricky. It’s challenging for us drivers, and I think it will be more challenging next year to drive those cars.
“Overall, it probably has a bit of a bigger window to work; especially in cold conditions, it feels quite good.
“But it’s also quite tricky when you lose the car in the high-speed [corners] especially.”
Karl Matchett6 January 2022 15:53
Lewis Hamilton has sold his personalised Pagani Zonda 760LH, Quattroruote report, netting himself a profit of over £7million in the process.
While the British racer has not made any comment publicly since the end of last season, the move is believed to be related to his “increased environmental awareness”.
“The reasons are in-line with the attitude that the Mercedes champion is taking in terms of ethics: in fact, his cars will be, at a minimum, hybrids,” the report states.
Karl Matchett6 January 2022 15:45