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Valtteri Bottas, a nine-time grand prix winner, will replace retiring compatriot and 2007 world champion Kimi Raikkonen

Valtteri Bottas will leave Mercedes and race for Ferrari-powered Alfa Romeo in a multi-year deal from 2022, the Swiss-based Formula One team said in a statement on Monday.

The Finn’s departure clears the way for George Russell, 23, to leave Williams and join seven times world champion Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes in an all-British line-up.

“A new chapter in my racing career is opening,” said Bottas, a nine-times grand prix winner, who will replace retiring compatriot and 2007 world champion Kimi Raikkonen.

“I am relishing the opportunity to help lead the team forward up the grid, especially with the new regulations in 2022 giving the team a chance to make a leap in performance.

“I’m grateful for the trust the team has put in me and I cannot wait to repay their faith: I’m as hungry as ever to race for results and, when the time comes, for wins.”

Bottas, 32, joined Mercedes from Williams in 2017 after the abrupt retirement of 2016 world champion Nico Rosberg and he said he was proud of what he had achieved alongside Hamilton.

“It has been a privilege and a great sporting challenge to work with Lewis, and the harmony in our relationship played a big part in the constructors’ championships we won as team mates,” he said.

Mercedes have won the last seven drivers’ and constructors’ championships.

Alfa boss Frederic Vasseur, who worked with Bottas when the Finn was coming through the junior series, said the driver had shown he was a strong team player.

“Valtteri has been an integral part of a team that rewrote the history books and he has four constructors’ world titles to his name: he is the right driver to help Alfa Romeo Racing make a step forward towards the front of the grid,” he said.

“I’m really looking forward to seeing him put his ability to work for the good of the team.”

Mercedes paid tribute to the Finn, without any mention of his replacement.

“This hasn’t been an easy process or a straightforward decision for us,” said team boss Toto Wolff.

“Valtteri has done a fantastic job over the past five seasons and he has made an essential contribution to our success and to our growth.

“Together with Lewis, he has built a benchmark partnership between two team-mates in the sport, and that has been a valuable weapon in our championship battles and pushed us to achieve unprecedented success.”

Wolff said Bottas, a calm and straightforward personality who gets on well with Hamilton, would have deserved to stay with Mercedes.

“When the time comes, he will leave us with huge goodwill from every single member of the team, and he will forever be part of the Mercedes family,” said the Austrian.

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Formula One F1 - Dutch Grand Prix - Circuit Zandvoort, Zandvoort, Netherlands - September 5, 2021 Red Bull's Max Verstappen celebrates on the podium with the trophy after winning the race REUTERS/Francisco Seco

Max Verstappen won his home Dutch Grand Prix for Red Bull on Sunday and took the Formula One championship lead in front of a roaring, dancing army of fans hailing their hero with orange flags and flares.

The 23-year-old dominated from pole position to take the chequered flag, in the first Dutch Grand Prix for 36 years, 20.932 seconds ahead of Mercedes’ seven-times world champion Lewis Hamilton.

Hamilton’s Finnish team mate Valtteri Bottas completed the podium, moving up to third in the championship, with the rest of the field all lapped by Verstappen.

Hamilton took a bonus point for the fastest lap but Verstappen overturned a three-point deficit to go three points clear of Hamilton, with 224.5 to the Briton’s 221.5.

The victory was Verstappen’s seventh in 13 races, with nine rounds remaining, and set off a gigantic beachside party.

“As you can hear, it’s incredible,” said the winner over the roar of the crowd.

“Obviously, the expectations were very high going into the weekend and it’s never easy to fulfil that, but I’m of course so happy to win here, to take the lead as well in the championship as well.

“It’s just an amazing day. Just the whole crowd, It’s incredible.”

Hamilton also hailed the 70,000-strong crowd for its passion and enthusiasm.

“What a race, what a crowd,” he said. “It’s been an amazing weekend. Max did a great job, congratulations to him. I gave it absolutely everything today, flat out. I pushed as hard as I could but they were just too quick for us.”

French driver Pierre Gasly was fourth for AlphaTauri with Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc fifth and Fernando Alonso sixth for Renault-owned Alpine.

Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz was seventh with Red Bull’s Mexican Sergio Perez Driver of the Day after racing back to eighth from a pitlane start.

Esteban Ocon took two points for Alpine with McLaren’s Lando Norris completing the top 10.

Mercedes continued to lead the constructors’ championship with 344.5 points to Red Bull’s 332.5.

AlphaTauri’s Japanese rookie Yuki Tsunoda and Haas’s Nikita Mazepin were the only retirements.

The Italian Grand Prix at Monza follows next weekend.

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Red Bull's rising star Max Verstappen celebrates taking pole position ahead of title rival Lewis Hamilton at the Dutch Grand Prix

Max Verstappen edged out Lewis Hamilton to put his Red Bull on pole position for the Dutch Grand Prix.

Following an incident-packed qualifying – stopped twice after George Russell and Williams team-mate Nicholas Latifi both crashed – Verstappen kept his cool to see off Hamilton with Valtteri Bottas third.

Pierre Gasly lines up fourth for Alpha Tauri ahead of Ferrari duo Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz.

Formula One is back on Dutch soil following a 36-year absence and home favourite Verstappen did not disappoint as he took the 10th pole of his career.

The 70,000-strong orange army roared their man round all 14 corners of the 2.65-mile track and erupted in delight when Verstappen crossed the line.

Hamilton, who heads Verstappen by three points in the championship standings, pushed his rival all the way, improving with his final effort but coming up just short.

“It is an amazing feeling to get pole position here,” said Verstappen.

“It is the best starting position because overtaking is difficult but it is not going to be easy.”

Hamilton added: “It was so close. I gave it absolutely everything but Max delivered a great lap and deserves the pole.”

Seven days ago, Russell stole the show with a qualifying performance for the ages to claim a place on the front row.

But the Williams driver, who is set to be confirmed as Hamilton’s Mercedes team-mate for next season in the coming days, was brought back down to earth here after he spun off at the final corner.

The Englishman lost control of his Williams through the long sweeping right-hander, sliding backwards into the gravel and bumping the advertising hoarding.

The session was suspended as Russell limped back to his garage. “I just pushed it too hard,” he said. “I am sorry about that.”

Following a 10-minute delay, the action resumed, but just moments later the other Williams was in the wall.

Latifi carried too much speed on the entrance to the eighth corner, falling off the track, and collecting the tyre barrier.

The Canadian was unharmed in the accident but was taken to the medical centre for a precautionary check-up. With less than two minutes on the clock, Q2 was abandoned leaving Lando Norris unable to improve. He finished 13th.

Verstappen’s team-mate Sergio Perez was eliminated in Q1 and start’s Sunday’s race from a lowly 16th.

One spot behind him will be Sebastian Vettel. The four-time world champion was blocked by Haas rookie Nikita Mazepin with the incident to be investigated after the session.

Kimi Raikkonen, the 2007 world champion, is absent here after testing positive for Covid-19. Alfa Romeo reserve driver Robert Kubica is filling in for Raikkonen and the Pole, who last raced in 2019, finished 18th of 20.

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The 41-year-old Finn, who this week announced he will retire from F1 at the end of the season, will be replaced by reserve driver Robert Kubica

Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen has tested positive for COVID-19 at the Dutch Grand Prix and will be replaced by Polish reserve driver Robert Kubica, the Formula One team said on Saturday.

Kubica, who last raced in Formula One at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in 2019 with Williams, joined the Swiss-based team in 2020 and has been attending most races.

“Kimi is displaying no symptoms and is in good spirits. He has immediately entered isolation in his hotel. The team wishes Kimi a speedy recovery,” Alfa Romeo said in a statement.

Raikkonen’s participation at next weekend’s Italian Grand Prix at Monza, the fastest track on the calendar and a home race for Alfa, is also in doubt as the Finn cannot return to the paddock until he receives a negative test.

“First we check on Monday,” team boss Frederic Vasseur told Sky Sports television. “And we check with the local authorities in Italy but we are staying focused on this weekend first and then we’ll see for Monza what we can do.”

Raikkonen announced this week that he was retiring at the end of the season, 20 years after his Formula One debut.

At 41, the “Iceman” is the oldest driver on the starting grid and the 2007 world champion with Ferrari holds the all-time record for most race starts, at 341.

Kubica, 36, had stints with BMW Sauber and Renault from 2006 to 2010 and returned to the Formula One grid in 2019 after a near-fatal rally crash in 2011.

Sunday’s race at Zandvoort is the first Dutch Grand Prix in 36 years and a new challenge for all on the F1 grid, with practice punctuated by red flags on Friday and overtaking expected to be difficult.

“Robert did already some test days with the car, he did some FP1s (first Friday practice sessions). I think he’s ready,” said Vasseur.

“It’s probably not the easiest track to jump in on … but it is like it is and we’ll have to do the best job that we can.”

Alfa Romeo are ninth in the 10-team standings, 17 points behind Williams and three clear of bottom team Haas.

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Tickets for the first Dutch Grand Prix in 36 years have been snapped up in the rush to see Red Bull's exciting young title contender Max Verstappen race for the first time on home soil as a Formula One driver

Formula One needs to put on a show for the fans after a farcical ‘race’ in Belgium and it will not take long for Dutch fans and Max Verstappen’s Orange Army to get the party started at Zandvoort on Sunday.

Tickets for the first Dutch Grand Prix in 36 years have been snapped up in the rush to see Red Bull’s exciting young title contender race for the first time on home soil as a Formula One driver.

The race’s return was postponed last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic but is going ahead this time with around 70,000 daily spectators sure to make their voices heard.

The old-school circuit in the dunes of the beach resort, a short journey from Amsterdam, will be just the place for the 23-year-old Verstappen to wrest the championship lead from Mercedes’s Lewis Hamilton.

Verstappen has six victories to his credit from 12 races but is still three points adrift of the seven-times world champion, who will be venturing deep into hostile territory in search of a record-extending 100th career win.

Verstappen’s win at Spa-Francorchamps was not one to celebrate, coming after a couple of laps in atrocious, wet conditions behind the safety car and the race declared, but Zandvoort will be very special.

“It was amazing to see so many fans supporting us in Austria and Belgium and I hope we can put on a good show for everyone in the grandstands this weekend,” said Verstappen.

“As for the track, it might be a little hard to overtake on but for single-lap performance I think it’s going to be rewarding.

“The qualifying laps will be very quick there so any mistakes will be really costly.”

The undulating track, with banked corners, has short straights and limited overtaking opportunities but it could throw up some surprises with most drivers having no more experience of it than in the simulator.

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff, whose team lead both championships but with Red Bull closing the gap, looked forward to moving on from a miserable weekend and fighting for a proper victory.

“We’re relishing the challenge of tackling a new track because it is new for everyone and that means fresh opportunities to find advantage,” he said.

“We’ll be looking to hit the ground running on Friday and take the fight to our competitors. It will be exciting to see who comes out on top.”

The last winner in the Netherlands was Austria’s late triple champion Niki Lauda in a McLaren one-two with Frenchman Alain Prost.

While the battle looks likely to be between the two title contenders, McLaren’s Lando Norris will want to make amends after crashing in Belgian qualifying while setting the pace initially.

“Zandvoort is a cool circuit and one that I’ve raced, and won, at before, back in 2017 in Formula Three,” he said. “The track has changed quite a bit since then, with new banking, which could change how the race plays out.”

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Red Bull's Max Verstappen was declared the winner of a Belgian Grand Prix that lasted two laps behind the safety car

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen won the rain-hit Belgian Grand Prix on Sunday without racing even a single lap as half-points were awarded for only the sixth time in Formula One history.

After some three hours of waiting for the rain to subside, the race started from the pitlane and behind the safety car and was then stopped after completing the two laps required to award half points.

George Russell finished second for Williams, his first Formula One podium, with seven times world champion Lewis Hamilton third for Mercedes.

Hamilton’s overall lead over Verstappen was cut from eight points to three.
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Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton in action

The 2021 Japanese Grand Prix has been cancelled due to the ongoing coronavirus situation in the country.

The Suzuka race was set for October 10, following the successful staging of the Olympic Games in Tokyo, but will now not take place following discussions with Formula One and the Japanese Government.

It is the second year in a row that the race has not taken place because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The cancellation leaves the F1 calendar facing a further reshuffle after races in Australia, China, Canada and Singapore were all called off this season. The Turkish Grand Prix was initially cancelled but later reinstated.

An F1 statement read: “Following ongoing discussions with the promoter and authorities in Japan the decision has been taken by the Japanese Government to cancel the race this season due to ongoing complexities of the pandemic in the country.

“Formula One is now working on the details of the revised calendar and will announce the final details in the coming weeks.

“Formula One has proven this year, and in 2020, that we can adapt and find solutions to the ongoing uncertainties and is excited by the level of interest in locations to host Formula One events this year and beyond.”

The season continues with the Belgian Grand Prix on August 29.

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Officials were unable to take the mandatory one-litre sample of fuel from Sebastian Vettel's car after the race

Formula One team Aston Martin intends to appeal the disqualification of four-times champion Sebastian Vettel from the Hungarian Grand Prix on Sunday, with the exclusion costing the German a second-place finish.

Vettel had crossed the line 1.8 seconds behind first-time race winner Esteban Ocon’s Alpine but was disqualified as only 0.3 litres of fuel could be extracted from his car instead of the one litre mandated by the rules for a post-race sample.

“The Stewards have received a Notice of Intention of Appeal from Aston Martin Cognizant F1 Team…” said a note from the stewards.

“In this context, the FIA Technical Department representatives were asked by the Stewards to seal and impound Car 5 until such time as the Notice of Appeal is received or the FIA International Court of Appeal makes any determinations as relevant.”

The notice from stewards disqualifying Vettel said that Aston Martin team principal Otmar Szafnauer had stated that there should be 1.44 litres of fuel left in Vettel’s tank, based on the amount of fuel consumed as measured by a meter that is fitted to all cars.

But, despite being given “several opportunities” the team were unable to pump more than 0.3 litres out of the car.

Vettel’s disqualification from his second podium finish of the season elevates Lewis Hamilton, who had fought his way up from last to third, up to the runner-up spot.

It also handed the Mercedes driver an eight-point lead over Red Bull title rival Max Verstappen, who himself picked up an extra point after being promoted to ninth.

It also hands Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz, who had finished fourth, his second podium finish of the season after the Spaniard finished behind race winner Verstappen in Monaco.


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Alpine's Esteban Ocon took a maiden Formula 1 victory in an extraordinary Hungarian Grand Prix

Frenchman Esteban Ocon fended off Sebastian Vettel to take a maiden Formula One win for Alpine in a chaotic Hungarian Grand Prix, that saw Lewis Hamilton charging through from last-to-third to retake the championship lead from tenth-placed Max Verstappen.

The 24-year-old Ocon crossed the line 1.8 seconds clear of his Aston Martin rival, while Hamilton nearly caught the pair up but fell 2.7 seconds short.

Still, the Briton put himself six points clear of Verstappen, who scored just the sole point after being caught up in an opening lap incident.

The Dutchman, who had made a good start on a wet track from second on the grid, was right behind Hamilton heading into the first corner when he was collected by McLaren’s Lando Norris. The Briton was himself tagged by the slow starting Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas that sent him sliding into the Red Bull.

The ensuing red-flag stoppage gave Verstappen’s mechanics a chance to carry out some repairs but the Red Bull was too hamstrung by the damage to bring him back into contention.

The opening lap incident appeared to have handed the race to Hamilton, who kept his nose clean to stay in the lead.

But a strategic misstep that left him out to take the restart on intermediate tyres on a drying lap, even as every other car peeled into the pits, dropped him to the back when he pitted for dry tyres a lap later.

The win was the first of Ocon’s career and first for his Enstone-based team in its Alpine guise. It was also the first for a French driver in a French car since Alain Prost mounted the top step of the podium for Renault in 1983.

It was made even sweeter by a fourth-place finish for Fernando Alonso, who scored his maiden win for the same team in Hungary in 2003 when it raced as Renault.

The Spaniard, who celebrated his 40th birthday on Thursday and whose defence against Hamilton played a part in securing the win for Ocon, was voted Driver of the Day.


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Formula One F1 - British Grand Prix - Silverstone Circuit, Silverstone, Britain - July 18, 2021 Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton during the race REUTERS/Peter Cziborra

Lewis Hamilton won his home British Grand Prix for a record-extending eighth time on Sunday despite a 10-second penalty for a controversial first lap collision that sent Red Bull rival Max Verstappen crashing out of the race.

The Mercedes driver, now only eight points behind Verstappen after 10 races, passed Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc for the lead with two laps to go as a capacity 140,000 crowd rose to cheer him.

Hamilton’s team mate Valtteri Bottas was third after obeying team orders to let Hamilton through and chase Leclerc in a race halted after Verstappen’s crash and then re-started.

The win was the 99th of seven-times world champion Hamilton’s Formula One career and fourth of the current campaign.

It was also the worst possible result for Verstappen, who had started on pole position with a 33 point lead and seeking a fourth win in a row but who ended up empty-handed and in hospital for checks.

“This is a dream for me today, to do it in front of you all,” Hamilton told the biggest crowd to attend a sporting event in Britain since the start of the pandemic. Last year’s race was held without spectators.

“I always try to be measured in how I approach, particularly with battling with Max, he’s very aggressive. And then today I was fully alongside him and he didn’t leave space.

“Regardless of whether I agree with the penalty, I take it on the chin and I just kept working.

“I was like ‘I’m not going to let anything get in the way of the crowd’s enjoyment of the weekend and the national anthem and the British flag’.”

Leclerc also kept his head up after missing out on what would have been Ferrari’s first win since 2019.

“I gave not 100% but I gave 200%. I gave all of me but it was just not enough in the last two laps,” said the Monegasque.

“Congratulations to Lewis, he did an incredible job. It’s amazing to see so many fans in the grandstand.”

There was no point awarded for fastest lap, with Red Bull’s Mexican Sergio Perez setting it but failing to secure the necessary top 10 finish to trigger the bonus.


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Red Bull's Max Verstappen celebrates after winning sprint qualifying

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen won Formula One‘s first Saturday sprint race to secure pole position for the British Grand Prix and extend his championship lead over Lewis Hamilton to 33 points.

Seven times world champion Hamilton will start alongside his Dutch rival on the front row after finishing second for Mercedes in a 17-lap race that offered three points for the winner, two for runner-up and one for third.

Hamilton’s team mate Valtteri Bottas was third in an experimental race that replaced the usual Saturday qualifying for the 10th round of the championship.
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Lewis Hamilton and Lando Norris

Lewis Hamilton, Lando Norris and George Russell felt the force of the fans and were fired up by the energy bursting from the grandstands at their home British Formula One Grand Prix on Friday.

Mercedes’ seven-times world champion Hamilton qualified for the new Saturday sprint, which will determine Sunday’s grid, with the fastest time while McLaren’s Norris was sixth and Russell eighth for Williams.

After nearly a year and a half of restrictions to limit the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, there was a sense of relief and release.

If Hamilton started his day urging fans to keep wearing their face masks in what will be the country’s biggest sporting crowd since 2019, his tone after qualifying was one of pride and gratitude.

Silverstone hosted two races last year, both behind closed doors, and the presence of large numbers of fans has been missed.

“So overwhelming,” Hamilton said of his qualifying performance.

“It’s been such a difficult time for everyone and we’ve finally got all the fans at the British Grand Prix and the desire to want to deliver for everyone is beyond belief.

“We watched the England game the other day and to see how much passion there is in England, and I know it was a difficult time for everyone but so much hope that I was hoping I could do my part…”

The last pre-pandemic race held at the circuit with spectators in 2019 saw a three-day attendance of 351,000 and 141,000 on Sunday. This year’s race is sold out with similar numbers expected.

Silverstone has a large site and all those attending must either be fully vaccinated or test negative for the virus as part of the British government’s pilot scheme.

Some races in the past year have had limited attendances but nothing on such a scale.

“Every lap I could see them jumping up and cheering,” said Russell of the fans.

“We’ve not experienced that this year. We’ve had a year and a half without any fans at all and to come back to capacity on a Friday, it’s a good feeling.

“For sure it give you lap time because you’re more motivated, more excited. You’ve got that extra spring in your step. You feel a sense of responsibility to perform for them.”

Norris agreed: “You see them standing up and cheering which is a cool feeling. It gets you pumped, it gets you motivated to try and nail your next lap or whatever.

“I think the bigger impact is going to be tomorrow, coming back into the track and seeing them all. It’s just exciting.”


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The biggest sporting crowd in Britain since the start of the Covid pandemic, with 140,000 expected on Sunday, will see Formula One history made with the debut on Saturday of ‘The Sprint’ - a shorter race that will decide the grid for the grand prix

Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen both won at Silverstone last year but an experimental new race format poses a fresh challenge for Formula One’s title rivals on their return to the British Grand Prix circuit this weekend.

The biggest sporting crowd in Britain since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, with 140,000 expected on Sunday, will see Formula One history made with the debut on Saturday of The Sprint — a qualifying race without pitstops.

Slverstone, where the championship started in 1950, is the first of three tracks that will trial a 100km half-hour long dash to decide pole position and set the grid for the next day’s main event.

“Even if The Sprint is only the precursor to the main event, I think the drivers will be desperate to beat each other and show who’s the fastest and who’s the strongest,” commented Formula One’s managing director Ross Brawn.

A three-part qualifying session for The Sprint will be held on Friday instead of the usual second practice, meaning teams only have one hour on track to set up their cars before the competitive action.

A mistake on Friday is likely to carry far bigger consequences now, while fans — absent last year due to COVID-19 restrictions — can look forward to meaningful action on all three days.

Points will be on offer for the top three on Saturday, meaning a driver who wins both races and sets the fastest lap on Sunday can bank a maximum 29.

“I’m hoping of course to come out of that race with 29 points,” said Red Bull’s Verstappen, now 32 points clear of Hamilton after winning five of nine races including the last three.

“I hope in racing perspective it’s coming home,” he told Sky Sports television in a cheeky nod to the soccer chant sung by England fans before their team lost last Sunday’s European Championship final to Italy.

Seven-times world champion Hamilton will be aiming for a record-extending eighth home win to regain some lost momentum, with his Mercedes team also bringing new parts to make the car faster.

He will also be racing at Silverstone for the first time since they named a straight after him.

Verstappen, winner of last year’s 70th Anniversary race when the windswept former airfield hosted two successive rounds on a pandemic-hit calendar, can also secure a sixth win in a row for Honda-powered Red Bull.

“Mercedes have been enormously strong there over the years, and Lewis has his home support as well. So we expect it to be a big challenge,” commented Red Bull team principal Christian Horner.

McLaren’s Lando Norris will enjoy strong home support after notching up three podiums so far this season and narrowly missing out on a first pole in Austria.

“Seeing the grandstands full and everything feeling a bit more normal is something I’m really looking forward to,” said the 21-year-old.

George Russell, at Williams, is the third British driver on the grid and will raise a big cheer if he can score the team’s first points in two years.

Formula One fans will also get a glimpse of the future with the presentation online on Thursday of a life-size 2022 car, reflecting new rules designed to create closer racing.


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Britain’s F1 ace Lando Norris 

British Formula One driver Lando Norris was mugged after attending the Euro 2020 final between England and Italy at Wembley Stadium on Sunday, his McLaren team said.

The team added in a statement the 21-year-old had his watch stolen.

“Thankfully, Lando was unharmed but he is understandably shaken,” the team added.

“The team is supporting Lando and we are sure that racing fans will join us in wishing him all the best for the British Grand Prix this weekend.”

“As this is now a police matter we cannot comment further,” it added.

British media reported the watch was worth 40,000 pounds and was taken as he approached his McLaren sportscar.

Norris is friendly with several of the England players who lost the final on penalties after extra time ended 1-1.

The driver is fourth in the championship and has been on the podium three times so far this season.

Police made some 53 arrests at Wembley Stadium after supporters clashed with each other and officials, breached security cordons and charged into the perimeter area before the start of the match.


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The Formula 1 event was due to take place from 19-21 November but has been abandoned because of tight border controls in Australia

The Australian Formula One Grand Prix and MotoGP round were cancelled for the second successive year on Tuesday because of the border controls in place to keep the novel coronavirus out of the country.

The 2020 edition of the Formula One race was cancelled at the last minute as the pandemic took hold and this year’s Melbourne round was shifted from its traditional season-opening spot to Nov. 21.

Australia’s borders are still effectively closed, however, and the requirement for anybody entering to quarantine for 14 days looks set to remain in place until the end of the year, at the earliest.

“We’re deeply disappointed that for a second consecutive year, both MotoGP and Formula One fans won’t be able to see the world’s best riders and drivers compete at the wonderful Phillip Island and Albert Park circuits,” Australian Grand Prix Corporation Chairman Paul Little said in a statement.

“We appreciate the challenge Australia faces with current international travel restrictions and the importance of vaccinations … We will work tirelessly to deliver these iconic events in 2022.”

Formula One chief executive Stefano Domenicali expressed his disappointment but said he was confident that a 23-race calendar could be maintained for this season.

“We have a number of options to take forward to replace the place left vacant by the Australian Grand Prix,” he said.

“We will be working through the details of those options in the coming weeks.”

MotoGP organisers have moved the Malaysia Grand Prix forward by a week to fill the gap left by the Australian race on Oct. 24 as well as adding a second Portuguese round, the Algarve Grand Prix, to the calendar on Nov. 7.

Race organisers had been in negotiations with Australian authorities for an adjustment to the quarantine policy, which made the races logistically impossible given the Formula One and MotoGP teams were competing in other countries on Nov. 7.

Victoria’s Sports Minister Martin Pakula said it was possible that situation might have improved by October but the government was not able to make a commitment on that now.

Pakula was confident that the country’s vaccine roll-out, which has been one of the slowest in the developed world, would be accelerated to the extent that restrictions would not impact the Australian Open tennis tournament in January.

The Grand Slam was held earlier this year after the players agreed to quarantine for two weeks in hotels but indications are that they would not be prepared to do so again.

“I’m very confident that the Australian Open will proceed,” Pakula told reporters.

“It may not sound like a lot, but we would expect the difference between November and January to be quite profound.”


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Max Verstappen's victory in the Austrian Grand Prix was his fourth in five races and moves him into a 32-point lead over title rival Lewis Hamilton

Formula One leader Max Verstappen led from start to finish as he won the Austrian Grand Prix for Red Bull in front of an orange army of fans, powering 32 points clear of Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton in the championship on Sunday.

Seven-time world champion Hamilton was a distant fourth, behind Finnish team mate Valtteri Bottas in second and McLaren’s Lando Norris in third.

It was the fifth win in a row for Red Bull.

Verstappen, who started from pole position for the third straight race and has now won on three successive weekends, also set the fastest lap to take his tally to 182 points after nine rounds.

Hamilton has 150 and Red Bull are 44 points clear of Mercedes in the constructors’ standings.

“The car was on rails,” said Verstappen of his fifth win of the season and second from back-to-back races at his team’s home circuit.

“Every tyre set we put on it was really enjoyable to drive. I’m a bit amazed how today went, I didn’t expect it to be like this.”

A sea of orange-shirted Dutch fans rose to salute their hero as he took the chequered flag in front of the biggest crowd of the season so far after an easing of COVID-19 restrictions.

“We’re miles away from them so we’ve got a lot of work to do,” said Hamilton of his afternoon.

Bottas took second after Mercedes initially told him not to race Hamilton, who was ahead, and then gave the go-ahead with 20 laps to go as it became apparent the Briton’s car was damaged and Norris was closing fast.

Norris, who had started on the front row for the first time but dropped to fourth after a five-second penalty for pushing Verstappen’s team mate Sergio Perez off the track, passed Hamilton on the track.

The youngster, voted driver of the day for his performance, felt the penalty was unjust.

“He (Perez) tried to go around the outside which is a bit stupid, and he ran off the track himself, I didn’t even push him,” he said.

Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz was fifth, with Perez sixth and Australian Daniel Ricciardo racing from 13th on the grid to seventh.

Charles Leclerc was eighth for Ferrari, Pierre Gasly ninth for AlphaTauri, and double world champion Fernando Alonso took the final point for Alpine after dashing the hopes of Williams’ George Russell.

Russell, starting eighth, had been 10th with five laps to go, as former champions Williams chased their first point in two years.


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A picture taken during the 2020 Turkey GP

Formula One will make a second attempt to hold the Turkish Grand Prix this season after adding it to the calendar on Friday as a replacement for Singapore’s cancelled race in October.

Singapore’s Oct. 1-3 night race was cancelled this month because of immigration restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Turkey’s race at the Istanbul Park circuit will slot in a week before the Japanese Grand Prix, which remains scheduled for Suzuka on Oct. 10, and one week after the Russian round in Sochi.

Istanbul was listed in April as a replacement for Canada’s cancelled June grand prix only to drop off again weeks later due to travel restrictions, with a majority of the teams based in Britain.

Turkey is on the British government’s “red list” of countries which require 10 days of hotel quarantine for returning travellers.

By staying in Japan for a few extra days, Formula One can bypass that quarantine requirement, however, assuming Turkey remains on that list in October.

The Turkish race will come after the Tokyo Olympics, with some 100,000 people from all over the world expected to enter Japan for that event.

Japan’s MotoGP race at Motegi, which was scheduled for the first week in October, was cancelled this week due to travel complications and logistical restrictions but Formula One expects its race to go ahead.

“After discussions with other promoters we are confident that we will be able to travel to the following race under our strict safety protocols,” it said in a statement.

Formula One is operating under strict protocols, with teams in “bubbles” and frequent testing for COVID-19 of all personnel and media.

More than 44,000 tests have been carried out this year with 27 positive cases, representing a rate of 0.06%.

The sport said a significant proportion of the travelling community had been vaccinated, with all having the opportunity to get shots before the end of the European summer.

Turkey returned to Formula One last year, for the first time since 2011, as a replacement venue on a shortened 17-race schedule.

“We are delighted to be coming back to Turkey to Intercity Istanbul Park circuit. We hope to see another fantastic race again in one of the best tracks in the world,” said chief executive Stefano Domenicali.

“We have shown that we can continue to adapt and there is huge interest in our sport and the hope from many locations to have a Grand Prix.”


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Anger: Max Verstappen lost victory to a late puncture in a dramatic finish to the Azerbaijan Grand Prix that also saw Lewis Hamilton throw away a chance to reclaim the championship lead

Mexican Sergio Perez won a dramatic Azerbaijan Grand Prix for Red Bull on Sunday after a tyre blowout denied championship-leading team mate Max Verstappen certain victory and Lewis Hamilton failed to score.

The race was red-flagged when Verstappen crashed five laps from the end, the Dutch driver clambering out of the wrecked car and kicking the rear left tyre in fury with his hopes in tatters.

Baku’s street circuit then provided another crazy twist at the standing re-start when Mercedes’s seven-times world champion Hamilton lined up second, with two laps remaining, and looked set to take back the overall lead.

Instead the Briton got it all wrong — his prospective points haul disappearing as he locked up and ran down the escape road in the sprint to the first corner. He finished 15th.

“I’m so sorry, guys,” Hamilton said over the radio.

Second place dropped instead into the lap of four-times world champion Sebastian Vettel, a first podium finish for Aston Martin, with Frenchman Pierre Gasly taking third for Red Bull-owned AlphaTauri.

The bonus point for fastest lap was not awarded because Verstappen, who set it, did not finish.

“Normally Baku is pretty crazy,” said Perez, who had two previous appearances on the podium in Baku with now-defunct Force India. “I have to say sorry to Max, it would have been incredible to get that one-two for the team.

“But at the end, it was a fantastic day for us. We were close to retiring the car but luckily we managed to finish the race.”

Perez, now third in the standings, was ordered to stop the car moments after the chequered flag with the team concerned about an hydraulics issue.

Verstappen watched as his team mate took the top step of the podium for the second time in his career. He won in Bahrain last year with Racing Point before the move to Red Bull.

The race put tyre supplier Pirelli in the spotlight with Vettel’s team mate Lance Stroll also crashing out at speed on lap 31 when his car’s left rear suddenly went on the main straight.

That crash also triggered the safety car.


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Former FIA President Max Mosley pictured back in 2012

Bernie Ecclestone said Max Mosley was like a brother to him following the former FIA president’s death.

Mosley died on Sunday night after a battle with cancer. He was 81.

Mosley is considered to be among the greatest figures in Formula One history.

He headed up its governing body, the FIA, for almost two decades, and helped to transform the sport’s safety record after Ayrton Senna’s death at the San Marino Grand Prix in 1994.

Jules Bianchi is the only F1 driver to die as a result of injuries sustained at a grand prix in the years since Senna died.

“Max was like family to me,” Ecclestone, F1’s ringmaster for 40 years, told the PA news agency.

“We were like brothers. I am pleased in a way because he suffered for too long. We spoke all the time and he was trying different cures to get better.

“It was not nice to see because he had worked so hard to help people, but nobody could help him when he needed it the most.”

Mosley spent his latter years campaigning for tougher press regulation after his own successful legal battle against the News of the World in 2008 when it was wrongly claimed his involvement in a sadomasochistic sex session was related to Nazism.

Mosley, the son of the 1930s British fascist leader, Sir Oswald Mosley, fought to remain in charge of the FIA despite huge pressure on him to leave his post.

He ultimately won an FIA vote to continue his presidency before he was succeeded by Jean Todt a year later.

Ecclestone did not back his close ally in the intermediate aftermath of the News of the World story, and says his failure to do so upsets him.

“In all the things I have done in my life, I cannot say I have been ashamed or sorry about anything, but in the case of Max and the fact I never supported him, I am upset about that and I will never forget it,” added Ecclestone.

“In the end, I openly apologised to Max in front of everyone at the FIA and he understood what was happening and the reason I was put in a difficult position, but it doesn’t make a difference because there are no excuses.

“We did a lot of things and achieved a lot of things together so it is hard to pick out just one special moment because they were all a bit special.

“Max didn’t waste time on doing things and if he thought people were wasting his time he would get upset with that. He didn’t suffer fools gladly.”

Three-time F1 champion Sir Jackie Stewart said Mosley and Ecclestone were a formidable pairing.

“Max was a remarkable man in many ways and a really well-educated man,” the 81-year-old said. “He was always very close to Bernie, they were like conjoined twins.

“He was controversial, there is no doubt about that, but he did things in motor sport that we should all be grateful for.”

Mosley’s love of motor racing began in his youth and he competed in Formula Two for Brabham and Lotus before retiring in 1969.

He founded the car manufacturing company, March Engineering, and oversaw its legal and commercial affairs from 1969 to 1977.

He then became the official legal advisor to the Formula One Constructors’ Association (FOCA) in the mid-70s, and helped draw up a peace agreement between it and FISA, F1’s governing body at the time.

He became FISA president in 1991 and two years later took over unopposed at the FIA before he was replaced by Todt in 2009.

Todt, who is serving his final term as FIA president, said: “I am deeply saddened by the passing of Max Mosley. He was a major figure in F1 and motor sport.

“As FIA President for 16 years, he strongly contributed to reinforcing safety on track and on the roads. The entire FIA community pays tribute to him. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.”

An F1 spokesperson added: “We are saddened to hear that Max Mosley, former FIA President has passed away. A huge figure in the transition of Formula One.

“Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this sad time.”

Mosley’s life is to be the subject of a new documentary which will be released in July, titled ‘Mosley: It’s Complicated’.


 Press Association
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Charles Leclerc took a surprise pole position for Ferrari at the Monaco Grand Prix despite crashing on his last run of qualifying

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc crashed to pole position at his home Monaco Grand Prix on Saturday, with rivals unable to better his time after red flags halted qualifying for Formula One’s showcase race.

The 23-year-old smashed into the barriers with 18 seconds of the session remaining and faced an anxious wait to see if the damaged car can be repaired without incurring any grid penalties.

“With the crash, I don’t know where I’m starting tomorrow,” said Leclerc.

“I’m not feeling well for now, I’m just waiting for mechanics to open the gearbox.”

Red Bull’s title contender Max Verstappen was one of those who had to abort their final flying laps but the Dutch driver stands to inherit pole if the Ferrari needs a new gearbox, triggering a grid drop.

“It was all going really well and the red flag ruined the chance for pole,” said Verstappen.

Mercedes’ world championship leader Lewis Hamilton, who leads Verstappen by 14 points after four races but had struggled through the session and in practice, qualified a distant seventh.

“We go back to the drawing board now,” said the seven times world champion. “There is a lack of grip, so that leaves you to overdrive the car and unfortunately it just didn’t improve.”

Leclerc had taken provisional pole after the opening flying laps, with a time 0.230 seconds quicker than Verstappen’s best, but got it all wrong at the Swimming Pool chicane.

“It’s a shame to finish in the wall, it doesn’t feel the same,” said Leclerc of what would be his eighth career pole and first in Monaco. He was last on pole in 2019.

Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto said it was too early to know whether the gearbox was damaged.

“We are worried but we are checking it,” he said.

The Monegasque has yet to finish his home race in two previous attempts, with last year’s race cancelled due to COVID-19.

Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas qualified third, with Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz fourth.

McLaren’s Lando Norris was fifth and AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly starts sixth.


REUTERS