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    Lewis Hamilton refuses to admit he’s Mercedes No1 as team face tough decision after George Russell’s hot start to 2022

    LEWIS HAMILTON denied being Mercedes’ top driver and insisted that he works in tandem with team-mate George Russell.Russell’s outperformed Hamilton in the F1 this season by finishing amongst the top five during every race thus far.
    Hamilton denied he’s Mercedes’ leader and insisted he and team-mate Russell are equalsCredit: Reuters
    The 24-year-old’s scintillating start has catapulted him into fourth spot in the F1 rankings.
    Hamilton’s beginning to the campaign has been the polar opposite, and the former world champion languishes in sixth position on the table.
    The 37-year-old remains 28 points behind his Mercedes compatriot despite producing a magical display to finish in P5 at the Spanish GP after an early collision.
    Russell ended the same race on the podium, just behind Red Bull duo Sergio Perez and Max Verstappen – who finished in P1.
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Sun;font-size:18px;line-height:1.333;font-weight:700;letter-spacing:0%;font-stretch:normal;display:inline;}.css-bq4915:hover:not(:disabled){-webkit-text-decoration:none;text-decoration:none;}RED LIGHT .css-8h3gc3{margin:0;padding:0;color:rgba(34,37,38,1);-webkit-text-decoration:none;text-decoration:none;font-family:The Sun;font-size:18px;line-height:1.333;font-weight:700;letter-spacing:0%;font-stretch:normal;display:inline;}.css-8h3gc3:hover:not(:disabled){-webkit-text-decoration:none;text-decoration:none;}Leclerc in major F1 title race blow with Ferrari facing huge grid penalties
    Hamilton and Russell’s contrasting form of late seems to be signalling a power shift at Mercedes where Hamilton’s ruled the roost in recent times.
    However, Hamilton refuted rumours suggesting he calls the shots at Mercedes, and claimed he and new-boy Russell synergistically work for the team’s progress.
    Speaking to the Independent, Hamilton said: “Well, firstly, I wouldn’t say I’m the leader. George and I work equally hard together, I would say, to help drive the team and row just as hard as everyone else in the team.
    “But through adversity and challenging times you always learn more about yourself, how you deal with things, how you reflect on things, how you are able to turn negatives into positives.
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    “I wouldn’t say I’ve learned particularly much more, so I will say past experiences have helped during this phase. And I would say to just reassuring the strength I know I have mentally.”
    The Mercedes collective now have the difficult task of catching up to F1 leaders Red Bull who lead the rankings with 195 points.
    Ferrari sit in second on 169 points, leaving third-placed Mercedes needing to reduce a 75 points deficit.
    But Hamilton’s relishing the challenge and insisted he and Russell are up to the task at hand.
    He added: “Also, just reassuring us I still love my job, I still love the challenge even if it’s not fighting for wins.
    ‘I’m still enjoying this battle we are having internally in terms of trying to, with the car I mean, trying to chase down these other guys.”
    Hamilton’s optimism was shared by Mercedes’ boss Toto Wolff who explained his theory on how his team can turn things around after the Spanish GP.
    However, some critics believe Wolff will have to make a choice between Hamilton and Russell soon for the team’s benefit.
    This sentiment was echoed by Jacques Villeneuve who reckons Mercedes can either keep hold of “mega-star” Hamilton – or choose to nurture Russell’s talents. More

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    ‘We can get there’ – Lewis Hamilton’s title chances at Mercedes NOT over after Spanish GP hope, claims Toto Wolff

    TOTO WOLFF believes Mercedes can fight for the championship after Lewis Hamilton’s heroics at the Spanish GP. The seven-time world champion called to retire his car after a Lap 1 collision with Haas driver Kevin Magnussen left him 30 seconds behind the leader. 
    Lewis Hamilton produced a brilliant display on Sunday after a nightmare startCredit: Getty
    Merc boss Toto Wolff believes the star’s mental strength can help them to win the constructors championshipCredit: Rex
    But after scraping from dead last to a P5 finish, Hamilton joined teammate George Russell, who finished 3rd, in showing the Silver Arrows are back to form.  
    And Merc boss Wolff believes tapping into Hamilton’s mental strength will help them fight Red Bull and Ferrari in the F1 constructors championship. 
    The Austrian said: “We have reasons to believe we can get there. 
    “If you look at the standings that is very hard to see but motor racing is a different ball game.
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Sun;font-size:18px;line-height:1.333;font-weight:700;letter-spacing:0%;font-stretch:normal;display:inline;}.css-bq4915:hover:not(:disabled){-webkit-text-decoration:none;text-decoration:none;}HOW A-BET THAT? .css-8h3gc3{margin:0;padding:0;color:rgba(34,37,38,1);-webkit-text-decoration:none;text-decoration:none;font-family:The Sun;font-size:18px;line-height:1.333;font-weight:700;letter-spacing:0%;font-stretch:normal;display:inline;}.css-8h3gc3:hover:not(:disabled){-webkit-text-decoration:none;text-decoration:none;}Drake curse strikes again as he puts £186K bet on Leclerc to win Spanish GP
    “We’ve seen today that Ferrari didn’t score a lot of points when they should have and we will absolutely push flat out to bring us back into the game.” 
    “Hamilton would have raced for the win.
    “I’m happy we didn’t retire Lewis because that was the most valuable race from us to compare the two cars, to compare their setups and tyres.”
    Max Verstappen’s win and Sergio Perez’s second place finish put Red Bull top of the constructors with 195 points.
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    Ferrari are second on 169 after Charles Leclerc was forced to retire in Barcelona. 
    But Russell’s podium finish means he maintains his record of finishing in the top-five at every race this season.
    And Hamilton’s P5 finish leaves Mercedes just 75 points behind their rivals in third.  More

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    F1 Spanish Grand Prix LIVE RESULT: Verstappen wins, Hamilton makes incredible comeback whilst Leclerc forced to RETIRE

    MAX VERSTAPPEN earned himself first place on the podium following a dramatic Grand Prix in Catalunya.The Red Bull driver took full advantage of Charles Leclerc who was forced to retire from his lead with a “loss of power” during lap 27.
    Sergio Perez and George Russell occupied second and third spot in the charts.
    And the seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton climbed from the pits of hell to snatch fifth which was incredible considering he had a punctured tyre on lap one.

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    Russell hurts
    George Russell has revealed Mercedes were “hurt” battling with Red Bull at time during the Spanish Grand Prix.
    He said: “It hurt us a lot to be honest but when I had the Red Bulls in my mirrors all I was doing was everything to keep them behind.
    “But it was an enjoyable couple of laps and I’m pleased to be able to bring it home for P3 and the points for the team.
    “Well done to Max, he did a great job.”
    What a race!
    A win for Max.
    Leclerc lost his power.
    Podium finish for Russell.
    Fifth for Hamilton after a puncture on the first lap.
    And fourth for local lad Sainz after spinning out early.
    Here’s how it finished in Barcelona…

    Verstappen
    Perez
    Russell
    Sainz
    Hamilton

    MAX VERSTAPPEN WINS THE SPANISH GP!
    The Red Bull man wins his third race in a row to take the championship lead for the first time this season.
    But he had to do it the hard way after experiencing DNS issues in the early stages.
    Credit: Reuters
    Issues force Hamilton back to P5
    The team radios in to hand over some bad news that there seems to be some issue with the Mercedes.
    Bono tells Hamilton not to defend if Sainz fights back and as a result the Ferrari man takes back P4.
    The Silver Arrows man can be proud of his performance today.
    Progress has been made.
    Hamilton snatches P4!
    Wow.
    The Mercedes driver shows why he is a seven-time world champion as he wastes no time in getting past Sainz.
    He said before the race he thinks the car is now capable of battling with the Ferrari and it seems to be true.
    But nobody thought he would be overtaking one after suffering a puncture on Lap 1!
    Bottas makes a mistake!
    The Finnish driver goes too wide and allows Sainz through the gap before Hamilton also capitalises and moves up to P5.
    What a drive this is from the Mercedes driver, those upgrades have definitely worked.
    10 laps to go!
    As expected, Perez takes the fastest lap off Hamilton with ease just moments after putting on new tyres.
    But here is how podium looks as it stands:

    VER
    PER
    RUSS

    Bottas follows in fourth but Sainz and Hamilton are gaining on the Alfa Romeo driver…
    Hamilton takes the fastest lap
    The Mercedes man shows still has it as he takes the fastest and an extra championship point.
    However, teammate Russell and Red Bull’s Perez have just put on a new set of slick tyres as they attempt to snatch it off him.
    Red Bull tell Perez to make way
    The messages comes in that Perez is on a different strategy to Max and he should let him pass.
    The Mexican replies: “That’s unfair, but ok.”
    And just like that Verstappen takes the lead of the race and also the championship.
    16 laps to go!
    Lap 45 – Max pits to give Perez the lead
    The Dutch driver hands the lead back over to his teammate as he pits for a fresh set of mediums.
    Crucially he comes out in front of Russell so it’s still a Red Bull 1-2.
    But will Perez hand back the lead?
    With Leclerc’s retirement, if Max takes the chequered flag he will take the championship lead.
    Lap 38 – Max takes the lead
    Despite all his DRS problems earlier on in the race, the Dutchman now finds himself in the lead.
    He was gaining on Russell before the Mercedes man pitted for fresh tyres.
    It looked like he was going to have to fight his teammate Perez for the lead but a change of strategy sees the Mexican also sees pit.
    Smart move by Red Bull.
    They now have a two car buffer between themselves and Russell.
    Lewis is on the move!
    After a forced change of tyres on Lap 1, the Mercedes driver come in again early for his second stop.
    And it seems to be working out as with the rest of the field also coming in, Hamilton is now up to sixth.
    Not bad considering he was down to 18th at one stage!
    Credit: AP
    Zhou forced into retirement
    The Chinese driver follows Leclerc into retiring from the race following a technical issue.
    And his Alfa Romeo team-mate Valteri Bottas has just been picked off by Verstappen for 3rd.
    Lap 30 – Perez over takes Russell for the lead
    We are creeping up to the half way stage in Barcelona and we have a new leader.
    Red Bull driver Perez is currently on a one-stop strategy and has the tyres to get round the Mercedes for the lead.
    Question will be whether the Mexican can hang out now until the end.
    Leclerc loses power!
    The Ferrari man yells down the radio as his Ferrari loses power.
    He is straight into the pits and doesn’t come back out, meaning Russell takes the lead!
    Leclerc’s race is over and it’s his first DNF of the season.
    No doubt his championship dreams have taken a hit as a result.
    Credit: AP
    Excellent driving from Russell!
    The Mercedes driver stays P2 after some superb driving to fend off Verstappen.
    Max gets through at Turn one but Russell fights back after going wheel-to-wheel and squeezes back into second.
    Unbelievable from the Silver Arrows newbie.
    Lap 22 – Leclerc pits from the lead
    The Ferrari heads into garage for his first pit stop of the race but with huge a huge lead he rejoins the track back in front.
    Max meanwhile is still showing swearing down the radio to his team as his DRS isn’t opening despite him pressing it “over 50 times.”
    Max still having DRS issues
    The Red Bull driver was unable to challenge for pole yesterday after his DRS flap failed to open on his final flying lap.
    But despite claiming the system had been fixed prior to the race, the team has radioed in to tell him it is still not working.
    The Dutch man is effing and blinding in his cockpit. He knows he will need DRS if he is going to have any chance of winning this race.
    Leclerc seizes the advantage
    With Max spinning out, the Ferrari driver has built 14 second lead over Perez who has climbed up to P2 after Russell pitted for new tyres.
    However, we may see that gap close up as Leclerc is yet to come in for a fresh set.
    And now Verstappen goes off!
    Almost a carbon copy Sainz’s spin, the Red Bull driver slides off track at turn four.
    He manages to rejoin the race but is down to P4 and those stones would have not done his tyres any good.
    Meanwhile, Russell is now up to 2nd with Perez in 3rd.
    Hamilton’s had enough
    After his dreadful start, the Mercedes man has asked his team over the radio to retire the car and save his engine.
    It’s a staggering comment given there was so much hope they had turned a corner with their new upgrades this weekend.
    Sainz Spins on Lap 7!
    The Ferrari man loses grip and spins into the gravel, lucky he manages to get back on the track but he is down to 11th.
    Nightmare for the Spaniard!
    It’s his home race, the crowd would have not liked to see that.
    Hamilton pits with a puncture!
    It’s not the perfect start for the Mercedes driver who was looking to build on his P6 finish.
    After coming together with Magnussen, he is forced to pit early which sees him come out 18th.
    And it’s lights out!
    Leclerc manages to hold off Verstappen at the first corner and holds onto the lead.
    Russell has made his way up to P3 as Sainz’s poor start.
    But Haas driver Kevin Magnussen spins into the gravel after his front left tyre tagged Hamilton’s Mercedes.
    Credit: Reuters
    Formation Lap
    The drivers set off on the formation lap to get their tyres going.
    Load more entries… More

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    Lewis Hamilton suffers punctured tyre in DISASTROUS start to Spanish GP after colliding with Magnussen on first lap

    LEWIS HAMILTON’S horror start to the 2022 Formula One season continued with a nightmare first lap at the Spanish Grand Prix.The seven-time F1 world champion, 37, suffered a punctured tyre following a collision with Kevin Magnussen just seconds into the race.
    “Lewis knew what he was doing. He just ramped me” 😠No doubt in Magnussen’s mind who was to blame for that incident 👀 pic.twitter.com/UwVeSoZuRl— Sky Sports F1 (@SkySportsF1) May 22, 2022

    Hamilton and the Haas racer touched coming into turn four, with the Dane sent into the gravel.
    Magnussen quickly used his radio to blame Hamilton, saying: “Lewis just rammed me. He knew what he was doing.”
    However, the collision appeared to be a “racing incident” with neither to blame – with the Brit suffering a puncture in the process.
    Both racers dragged their cars around the track and into the pits, with Hamilton – who dropped down to 19th – and his Mercedes team opting for soft tyres.
    .css-16e4f55{margin:16px 0;}.css-1h37p88{background-color:rgba(236,245,247,1);margin:16px 0;}.css-1tapza8{padding:20px 15px;}.css-1bk4jdt{padding:20px 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12px;max-height:75px;overflow:hidden;-webkit-line-clamp:2;-webkit-box-orient:vertical;display:-webkit-box;word-wrap:break-word;line-height:1px;}.css-bq4915{margin:0;padding:0;color:rgba(34,97,108,1);text-transform:uppercase;-webkit-text-decoration:none;text-decoration:none;font-family:The Sun;font-size:18px;line-height:1.333;font-weight:700;letter-spacing:0%;font-stretch:normal;display:inline;}.css-bq4915:hover:not(:disabled){-webkit-text-decoration:none;text-decoration:none;}F1 SPANISH GP .css-8h3gc3{margin:0;padding:0;color:rgba(34,37,38,1);-webkit-text-decoration:none;text-decoration:none;font-family:The Sun;font-size:18px;line-height:1.333;font-weight:700;letter-spacing:0%;font-stretch:normal;display:inline;}.css-8h3gc3:hover:not(:disabled){-webkit-text-decoration:none;text-decoration:none;}Verstappen wins, Leclerc RETIRES whilst Hamilton makes sensational comeback
    However, Hamilton incredibly urged the team to QUIT the race.
    Speaking over the radio, he claimed: “I would save this engine if I was you, guys. I’m sorry.”
    However, Hamilton was told there were still points up for grabs and to continue racing by his team.
    They were proved right, too, as Hamilton fought his way up to FIFTH – briefly holding fourth position before being told to “lift and coast” late on by his team as he faced not finishing the race if he continued pushing.
    Hamilton had been hoping for a blistering start in Catalunya having qualified in sixth as his struggles with the new Mercedes continued.
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    But the first-lap collision saw his entire race go up in flames, with the team forced into an early change of strategy – while also struggling with a desperately slow pit-stop following the puncture.
    Speaking on BBC Radio 5 Live, Jennie Gow said: “Hamilton started on those medium tyres, a new set… it’s thrown his strategy into total disarray.
    “He is in the pits he’s really struggling, they are putting him on another set of the soft tyres but it’s a really slow stop.
    “A disappointing start as you say the luck this year isn’t going his way.”
    Meanwhile, Hamilton’s Mercedes team-mate George Russell did get out of the blocks quickly.
    Russell, who qualified fourth, gained an early place to break into the podium places early doors.
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    He moved up to second shortly after, too, as Max Verstappen made a rare blunder by sliding into the gravel – again on the fourth corner of the track.
    Russell ultimately finished third, behind Red Bull duo Verstappen and Sergio Perez. More

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    Lewis Hamilton given huge boost at Spanish Grand Prix as Mercedes finish second and third in afternoon practice

    LEWIS HAMILTON’S hopes of winning a race this season were handed a huge boost as Mercedes kicked themselves back into gear. Hamilton’s chances of landing a record eighth world championship this season were handed a huge blow as an underperforming car leaves him 68 points behind leader Charles Leclerc. 
    Lewis Hamilton was all smiles as his car looked better than it has done all season in SpainCredit: Reuters
    The Mercedes finished second and third after a host of upgradesCredit: Getty
    But after a host of upgrades there is renewed hope as the Silver Arrows went second and third during the afternoon practice session in Spain. 
    Team-mate George Russell clocked in just short of Ferrari driver Leclerc with Hamilton just behind.
    The Silver Arrows driver said: “It’s positive, I’m super happy with the progress. “Thank you to everyone back at the factory for not giving up. 
    “We are not the quickest but we are on our own way. It is the first time we have driven down the straight without bouncing. 

    “We are starting to eke into a bit of potential with our car but we still have improvements to make.” 
    Ferrari will also be hoping that upgrades they brought to Spain can help them match the race speed that Red Bull has enjoyed.
    Max Verstappen has beat Leclerc to win the last two races.
    “Hopefully [the upgrade] will be a good one and enough to be in front of Red Bull again,” Leclerc said.
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300ms;animation:fadeIn 300ms;}@-webkit-keyframes fadeIn{from{opacity:0;}to{opacity:1;}}@keyframes fadeIn{from{opacity:0;}to{opacity:1;}}.css-1b3rpqk{width:470px;height:104px;margin:0;padding:0 16px 0 16px;border:1px solid #dcdddd;background-color:#ffffff;}.css-1ip4d38{display:-webkit-box;display:-webkit-flex;display:-ms-flexbox;display:flex;height:100%;-webkit-align-items:center;-webkit-box-align:center;-ms-flex-align:center;align-items:center;-webkit-align-content:center;-ms-flex-line-pack:center;align-content:center;-webkit-box-flex-wrap:nowrap;-webkit-flex-wrap:nowrap;-ms-flex-wrap:nowrap;flex-wrap:nowrap;-webkit-flex-direction:row;-ms-flex-direction:row;flex-direction:row;-webkit-box-pack:start;-ms-flex-pack:start;-webkit-justify-content:flex-start;justify-content:flex-start;margin-left:calc(-4px/2);margin-right:calc(-4px/2);width:470px;height:104px;margin:0;padding:0 16px 0 16px;border:1px solid #dcdddd;background-color:#ffffff;}.css-14dqn90{display:-webkit-inline-box;display:-webkit-inline-flex;display:-ms-inline-flexbox;display:inline-flex;margin-left:calc(4px/2);margin-right:calc(4px/2);}.css-12an5ma{font-family:The Sun;font-size:20px;line-height:1.2;font-weight:700;letter-spacing:0%;font-stretch:normal;padding:1px 0px;}.css-12an5ma::before{content:”;display:block;height:0;width:0;margin-bottom:calc(-0.261875em + -1px);}.css-12an5ma::after{content:”;display:block;height:0;width:0;margin-top:calc(-0.25em + -1.3px);}.css-dzrove{color:rgba(37,129,145,1);text-transform:uppercase;-webkit-text-decoration:none;text-decoration:none;margin-right:4px;}.css-dzrove:hover:not(:disabled){-webkit-text-decoration:none;text-decoration:none;}F1 SPANISH GP .css-1efa55o{display:inline;font:inherit;margin:0;color:rgba(34,37,38,1);-webkit-text-decoration:none;text-decoration:none;}.css-1efa55o:hover:not(:disabled){-webkit-text-decoration:none;text-decoration:none;}Leclerc cruises Practice Two ahead of Russell, Hamilton secures third
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    Verstappen said his team won’t roll out any surprises but are planning to reduce the weight of the car.
    “Our car is a bit fat so we need to slim it down,” Verstappen said before getting behind the wheel on Friday.
    It appears that focusing on the cars reliability is the top priority for Red Bull, after car failures kept Verstappen from finishing in Bahrain and Australia, where Leclerc won.
    Verstappen added: “[Ferrari] are coming with a few upgrades so it will be interesting to see what that gives them at the end of the day.
    “We just need to focus on our package. We want a clean weekend.” More

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    F1 Spanish Grand Prix practice LIVE: Bottas pulls OUT of session with ‘broke’ car as Vettel leads sectors – latest

    MAX VERSTAPPEN is hoping to pull away in the F1 Championship standings this weekend as the Spanish Grand Prix rolls around. However, it was Charles Leclerc who finished quickest in Practice One whilst Verstappen secured third spot.
    As for Lewis Hamilton, the seven-time world champion showed signs of improvement but could only land sixth place this morning.

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    Follow ALL the action with our live blog below…
    Russell goes behind Leclerc after a flying lap
    The Mercedes driver is putting the changes the Silver Arrows have made to good use with alap of 1:19:787
    Max leading sectors one and three

    Vettel goes quickest
    The Aston Martin man shoots to the top of the time sheets with a lap of 1:20:703
    That’s bad luck for Bottas
    He has been looking strong this season but was only 17th quickest in FP1 and has now been denied a chunk of time in FP2.
    Valtteri Bottas is out of this session
    He has pulled to the side of the track in his Alfa Romeo and says “something is broke”.
    Virtual Safety Car is deployed.

    FP2 is Go
    Green light for the second session and already a good start for Verstappen.

    The order from FP1

    Session is done – Leclerc stays top.
    The Ferrari man is quickest, Sainz is second and Verstappen is third.
    Russell is fourth in an encouraging session for Mercedes. Hamilton is sixth on the timesheets.
    Alonso will be investigated
    The Spaniard will be quizzed by the stewards after the session for blocking Hamilton.
    Verstappen and Bottas will also be looked at.
    Could be a busy lunch time in the stewards’ room.
    Leclerc tops the times
    The Ferrari man just beats Sainz while Verstappen is in third place.
    Great turn out in Barcelona
    Organisers say that Saturday and Sunday are both sold out. F1 is certainly in good health.

    The FIA have also investigated Aston Martin upgrades – and are satisfied they have not broken the rules.
    The governing body have spoken with team officials and seem happy with their explanation.
    A statement said: “The FIA carried out a routine pre-event legality check of the planned aerodynamic upgrade of the Aston Martin team for the 2022 FIA Formula 1 Spanish Grand Prix. During this process, it became apparent that a number of features on the Aston Martin resembled those of another Competitor. The FIA therefore launched an investigation to check compliance with Article 17.3 of the Technical Regulations, and in particular the topic of “Reverse Engineering” and potential illicit IP transfer.
    “Both teams collaborated fully with the FIA in this investigation and provided all the relevant information. The investigation, which involved CAD checks and a detailed analysis of the development process adopted by Aston Martin, confirmed that no wrongdoing had been committed, and therefore the FIA considers that the Aston Martin aerodynamic upgrades are compliant.
    “Article 17.3 specifically defines and prohibits “Reverse Engineering”, i.e. the digital process of converting photographs (or other data) to CAD models, and prohibits IP transfer between teams, but equally, this Article permits car designs getting influenced by those of competitors, as has always been the case in Formula 1. In the analysis we carried out we confirmed that the processes followed by Aston Martin were consistent with this Article’s requirements.”
    Our development journey continues as the AMR22 hits the track for FP1. 👊A huge well done and thanks to the team for all their hard work in getting both cars ready. Playing our joker meant we could work past curfew to ensure we could get both cars out today.#F1 #SpanishGP pic.twitter.com/LTgNvDS35Z— Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant F1 Team (@AstonMartinF1) May 20, 2022

    Here is what Red Bull boss Christian Horner has had to say on the subject.
    “It is quite a thing to instruct your team to come up with a very close-looking clone of our car,” he said.
    “A few people have moved over the winter period, and what you can’t control is what they take in their heads.”
    Plenty of eyes on the Aston Martin…
    You might remember the row over the “pink Mercedes” when the same team copied the design of the previous year’s Mercedes.
    The team were then known as Racing Point and their 2020 car was a striking resemblance to the one Lewis Hamilton won the title with in 2019.
    Well, this time their new updates have made their green Aston look a bit like the Red Dull.

    Green light in Barcelona
    We are go for first practice. This could be a busy session on track, plenty of new parts on the cars for this weekend’s Spanish GP.

    Load more entries… More

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    Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes hold top-secret track day in bid to save F1 season ahead of Spanish Grand Prix

    LEWIS HAMILTON’S Mercedes team have taken part in top-secret track day as they look to get back to the front of the grid at this weekend’s Spanish GP.F1 rules allow teams to run two track days over a season for filming purposes, with Merc using their second allocation at Circuit Paul Ricard in southern France on Wednesday.
    The mechanics and engineers have been hard at work on the underperforming Mercedes carCredit: AFP
    Seven-time world champ Lewis Hamilton is already 68 points off Charles LeclercCredit: Splash
    Hamilton’s team-mate, George Russell drove the permitted 62-mile distance at the behind-closed-doors event.
    Boss Toto Wolff is desperately trying to return the team to the top step of the podium after this year’s car suffered aerodynamic problems, causing their cars to bounce at high speed.
    And as the Silver Arrows unloaded their cars for this weekend’s race in Barcelona, it is already clear they have a host of upgraded parts to help solve their woes.
    Hamilton, who narrowly missed out on winning an eighth title last year in controversial circumstances, is 68 points adrift of championship leader Charles Leclerc.
    .css-16e4f55{margin:16px 0;}.css-1h37p88{background-color:rgba(236,245,247,1);margin:16px 0;}.css-1tapza8{padding:20px 15px;}.css-1bk4jdt{padding:20px 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.nk-headline-heading{color:rgba(71,30,121,1);}.css-1uyse24:before{content:”;top:0;right:0;bottom:0;left:0;overflow:hidden;position:absolute;z-index:1;}.css-xpuujo{border-width:0 1px 1px 1px;border-style:solid;border-color:rgba(149,199,208,1);padding:12px;max-height:104px;min-height:98px;}.css-tqcu81{padding:0;border-width:0 1px 1px 1px;border-style:solid;border-color:rgba(149,199,208,1);padding:12px;max-height:104px;min-height:98px;}.css-124tga5{overflow:hidden;-webkit-line-clamp:3;-webkit-box-orient:vertical;display:-webkit-box;word-wrap:break-word;line-height:1;}.css-5jzxpx{overflow:hidden;-webkit-line-clamp:3;-webkit-box-orient:vertical;display:-webkit-box;word-wrap:break-word;line-height:1;}.css-bq4915{margin:0;padding:0;color:rgba(34,97,108,1);text-transform:uppercase;-webkit-text-decoration:none;text-decoration:none;font-family:The Sun;font-size:18px;line-height:1.333;font-weight:700;letter-spacing:0%;font-stretch:normal;display:inline;}.css-bq4915:hover:not(:disabled){-webkit-text-decoration:none;text-decoration:none;}LEW CAN DO IT .css-8h3gc3{margin:0;padding:0;color:rgba(34,37,38,1);-webkit-text-decoration:none;text-decoration:none;font-family:The Sun;font-size:18px;line-height:1.333;font-weight:700;letter-spacing:0%;font-stretch:normal;display:inline;}.css-8h3gc3:hover:not(:disabled){-webkit-text-decoration:none;text-decoration:none;}Hamilton is driving as well as he has in last eight years, says Alonso
    Meanwhile, Russell is 23 points ahead of Hamilton, as the duo struggle to get to grips with this year’s challenger.
    Meanwhile, Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz has urged F1 to rethink their rulebook which has caused this year’s cars to suffer such turbulence in the cockpit.
    Sainz, whose crash in Miami was measured at 51G, says he will speak to the Grand Prix Drivers’ Association director, Russell, about his concerns over the impact of these cars on his long-term health.
    He said: “We need to consider how much of a toll a driver should be paying for his back and his health in a Formula One career.
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    “With this kind of cars’ philosophy we need to open a debate more than anything.
    “I have done checks on my back and neck tightness and this year it is tighter everywhere, I am already feeling it.
    “I don’t need expert advice to know that ten years like this is going to be tough.
    “How much a driver needs to pay a price in his career and his health in order to combat it. I am thinking long term.
    “I need to talk to other drivers like George that are struggling with the same phenomenon, to sit together to see what we can offer or propose.” More

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    Lewis Hamilton is driving as well as he has in last eight years but Mercedes car letting him down, says Fernando Alonso

    LEWIS HAMILTON is driving as well as he has been for the last eight years, claims Fernando Alonso.The Mercedes star has struggled for results so far this season, in the much criticised new W13 car.
    Fernando Alonso has had his say on Lewis Hamilton’s start to the seasonCredit: EPA
    Hamilton, 37, finds himself sixth in the driver standings going into this weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix.
    His former team-mate Alonso, however, puts the blame entirely on Hamilton’s car.
    The Spaniard told the BBC: “Sometimes you have a better car, sometimes you have not such a good car and you still need to fight and make some progress.
    “This year we see that the driver is very important in F1 but not crucial.
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Sun;font-size:18px;line-height:1.333;font-weight:700;letter-spacing:0%;font-stretch:normal;display:inline;}.css-bq4915:hover:not(:disabled){-webkit-text-decoration:none;text-decoration:none;}BOY RACER .css-8h3gc3{margin:0;padding:0;color:rgba(34,37,38,1);-webkit-text-decoration:none;text-decoration:none;font-family:The Sun;font-size:18px;line-height:1.333;font-weight:700;letter-spacing:0%;font-stretch:normal;display:inline;}.css-8h3gc3:hover:not(:disabled){-webkit-text-decoration:none;text-decoration:none;}Lewis posts brilliant throwback pic of him as a kid – and he’s ‘still the same’
    “Lewis is driving as good as he has been the last eight years.
    “He was dominating the sport and breaking all the records and 100-and-something pole positions.
    “And now he is doing a mega lap – as he said in Australia or somewhere like that – and he is one second behind. So, yeah – welcome.”
    Expanding on Hamilton’s incredible success, the Alpine driver continued: “This is F1. It is not going to be a fair sport in terms of numbers.
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    “This is a team sport more than anything and we tend to forget this, especially when we have success.
    “We are so happy for what we are achieving that even if we try to share with the team, all the headlines are for the driver.
    “It happened to me when I won the two championships. I was beating Michael Schumacher.
    “This was a big topic, but my car was more reliable at that time and had very good performance and you cannot praise enough that package because the headlines will still be the driver. And with Lewis it’s the same.
    “To have more than 100 pole positions in F1 is something unthinkable. You need to have the best car and package for many, many years.
    “We were doing magic laps sometimes and we were P15, and how do you explain that to people? It will be impossible.
    I still believe Lewis will eventually finish the championship in frontFernando Alonso
    “He deserves everything he’s achieved in the past but this year is a good reminder that in all those records and numbers there is a big part on what you have in your hands as a package in the car.”
    Silver Arrows new boy George Russell appears to have taken to the W13 more easily than Hamilton has so far, managing to achieve top five finishes in each race this season.
    Asked if Russell’s early joy is a surprise, Alonso replied: “Yes and no. George has been very fast in the last few years and I think everyone was expecting him to be a tough competitor for Lewis.
    “But I still believe Lewis will eventually finish the championship in front.
    “This is just a five-race championship, but eventually when things are more tricky or [there are] difficult situations, Lewis will still have more experience and maybe more talent.”
    George Russell has produced some impressive performancesCredit: Splash More