Latest F1 news in brief – Sunday

  • This time Kubica will test with Williams
    This time Kubica will test with Williams

    Kubica set for post-Abu Dhabi Williams test

  • Violence no threat to Brazil GP future – Massa
  • Hamilton to start Brazil GP from pit lane
  • Alonso wary of recovering Ricciardo, Hamilton
  • Verstappen unhappy despite 'maximum' result
  • Vettel admits he 'chickened out' on final run
  • Stroll's car undergoes gearbox, engine change
  • Tires for race

Kubica set for post-Abu Dhabi Williams test
(GMM) Robert Kubica looks set to get yet another chance to prove himself at the wheel of a formula one car.

The Pole is a leading candidate to return to the grid next year with Williams, six years after almost severing his forearm in a rallying crash.

Kubica, 32, has had multiple opportunities to test for Renault and Williams this year, and his latest will be at the wheel of the British team's 2017 car in the post-Abu Dhabi test.

Also in the running to replace the retiring Felipe Massa are Paul di Resta and Daniil Kvyat, and – contrary to the latest rumors – Pascal Wehrlein.

When asked about likely Sauber refugee Wehrlein, Williams boss Paddy Lowe told Auto Bild in Brazil: "Pascal is still in the race."

But Kubica would be the more popular choice, and Lowe admitted that it is a real possibility.

"We will almost certainly give him a chance to be in the car during one of the two days of testing in Abu Dhabi," he is quoted as having told German television Sky.

"The topic is getting a lot of attention from the media and fans, but it's something we're working on inside the team and don't want to say any more at this point," Lowe added.

Lowe also said Williams is determined to improve in the future, and one way to do that would be to take more parts from the team's engine supplier Mercedes.

"One idea is to get not only the power unit but also the transmission and drivetrain," Lowe admitted. "That would definitely help us to progress."

Violence no threat to Brazil GP future – Massa

Massa and Ricciardo
Massa and Ricciardo

(GMM) The latest violent incidents involving F1 personnel is evidence Brazil "needs to evolve".

That is the view of retiring Brazilian veteran Felipe Massa, after it emerged that robberies involving guns affected Mercedes, Williams and FIA staff as they travelled from the Interlagos circuit to hotels in sprawling Sao Paulo.

On social media, world champion Lewis Hamilton did not hide his anger that his team members were caught up in the drama.

"I was horrified," the Mercedes driver admitted to reporters.

"The saddest thing is that I've been in formula one for ten years, and every year at least someone from the paddock becomes a victim like this.

"It's also the responsibility of formula one. They need to do something to ensure that everyone is safe," Hamilton added.

The FIA responded by saying "heavy police reinforcements" have been deployed for the rest of the weekend.

Massa waves to countrymen
Massa waves to countrymen

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff commented: "Brazil is a wonderful country, but we should not need armored vehicles to travel safely from the hotel to the track."

Williams driver Massa is a Sao Paulo native, but he admitted to Globo on Saturday that he has no intention of returning to the troubled city to live with his family.

"It is so sad not only for those who are having the problem but also for Brazilians. But it just shows how much the country needs to evolve," he said.

The future of the race at Interlagos is already under a cloud, but Massa said the latest incidents are not evidence that F1 should end its association with Brazil.

"We race in Mexico, we've raced in India, and I don't know if it's any more dangerous than there," he said.

"But it is a problem for the people in charge who need to give security for whoever is here.

"I love Brazil," Massa insisted, "but at the moment I will not go back (to live).

"My son is studying in Monaco, he speaks three languages which is important for his future. Maybe in the future I would love to return to a better and safer country," he added.

Hamilton to start Brazil GP from pit lane

Lewis Hamilton before crashing
Lewis Hamilton before crashing

Mercedes has confirmed that Lewis Hamilton will start the Brazilian Grand Prix from the pit lane, having opted to take his car out of parc ferme conditions, following his Q1 crash.

Hamilton led the way during Friday's practice sessions at Interlagos but lost control of his W08 through Ferradura on his first push lap in qualifying.

Hamilton skated into the barriers at Laranjinha, sustaining substantial damage to the left-front of his car, ruling him out of the remainder of the session.

As a result, Hamilton did not qualify, consigning him to 20th on the grid, irrespective of penalties for his rivals, and Mercedes has elected to fit new parts ahead of the 71-lap race.

"Lewis will start from the pit lane as we will have to break parc ferme, fitting parts of a different specification to those used in qualifying," Mercedes confirmed.

"Prime among those will be a new power unit, as there is no penalty for doing so in the circumstances."

Mercedes will fit a new Internal Combustion Engine, MGU-H and Turbo Charger.

Alonso wary of recovering Ricciardo, Hamilton

Alonso will be watching his mirrors
Alonso will be watching his mirrors

Fernando Alonso hailed a "fantastic" starting position for McLaren-Honda at the Brazilian Grand Prix, though remains wary of the compromised Daniel Ricciardo and Lewis Hamilton.

Alonso set the seventh-best time in Q3 and will moved up to sixth on the grid as a result of Ricciardo's engine sanction, which drops the Red Bull driver from fifth place to 15th.

Alonso reveled in his pace, and vowed to do all he can against Ricciardo and Lewis Hamilton, who will start last after crashing in Q1, anticipating both to recover through the pack.

"I'm happy with P7 today, particularly because it was a difficult qualifying," said Alonso.

"Conditions were very tricky: you see drops of rain on the visor, and that takes some confidence away even when the asphalt is completely dry.

"So you have to trust what the car is doing, and commit to the corner even though your mind is saying something different.

"Yesterday, we weren't completely happy with the balance of the car and with the performance, but today the car stepped up and we were more competitive.

"P6 is a fantastic starting position for scoring points, but we know that Hamilton and Ricciardo will come back very strongly tomorrow.

"I'll try to defend as much as I can even though tomorrow we expect a very sunny day and completely dry conditions, so it's not going to be easy to hold on to our position."

Team-mate Stoffel Vandoorne will start from 12th position, due to Ricciardo's sanction, and admitted he was mystified by his lack of pace, relative to Alonso.

"I'm not 100 per cent satisfied with today – it was a bit of a strange session for us," he said.

"My qualifying started well and I had good rhythm straight away in Q1. I had decent pace and I was going quicker with each run.

"In Q2, I had some difficulties getting the tires to work and I'm not sure why that is.

"With the final set of tires on my last run we didn't really manage to improve, and we need to delve into the data later to see if we can work out why.

"If I reflect back on Friday, our long-run performance looked quite strong, so hopefully we can take those positives into the race.

"We know it's always difficult for us to overtake, but from where we're starting there's always a chance for points.

"If we can get a good start and drive the perfect race maybe it will be possible."

Verstappen unhappy despite 'maximum' result

Max not happy
Max not happy

Max Verstappen expressed disappointment at Red Bull's inability to match Mercedes and Ferrari during qualifying for the Brazilian Grand Prix, as he was left adrift in fourth place.

With the nature of the circuit favoring Mercedes and Ferrari, Red Bull pair Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo had been expecting to struggle at Interlagos, though displayed encouraging pace during Friday practice.

However, Verstappen and Ricciardo fell away from the fight during FP3, and the trend continued into qualifying.

Following a crash for Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton in Q1, the Red Bulls were competing for a maximum result of fourth place, which was taken by Verstappen.

When asked if he was happy with the qualifying outcome, Verstappen responded: "Well, I think we maximized the result, but pleased… no, not really.

"All weekend we've just been chasing the car balance and we couldn't get it together. I never expected to beat Ferrari or Mercedes on this track.

"You know, it's simply not our track with the longer straights, but we did the best we could, we maximized the result, but it wasn't good enough."

Ricciardo, who will take a 10-place grid penalty for power unit component changes, dropping him towards the back, echoed Verstappen's feelings.

Max Verstappen
Max Verstappen

"I think I'm going to start 14th or 15th, by the sounds of it," said Ricciardo.

"Q3 with the Super Softs, I couldn't really get much out of it. The last set I'm a bit suspect about, we left the pits and there were vibrations on the tires and it was giving me no grip on the front-left so… frustrating.

"All the top guys did I think five runs on a Super Soft [tire set], and we did three."

Despite a lack of one-lap pace, Ricciardo is optimistic about his race strategy, which will include him starting on a harder compound.

"I'm happy to start the race on the Softs, it means we could maybe be stronger at the end [of the race] on new Super Softs," he commented.

"To be honest, I feel better on the softs, I kind of feel like I wish we had Softs for Q3.

"There's not really a whole lot of answers right now, but we just keep trying to figure it out.

"I'm always honest, if I feel like I locked up or overdrove it or was just driving like an idiot then I'll say so, but I definitely don't feel like that."

Vettel admits he 'chickened out' on final run

Whether Vettel won the pole or not is irrelevant. Can they beat Mercedes in race trim is the question.
Whether Vettel won the pole or not is irrelevant. Can they beat Mercedes in race trim is the question.

Sebastian Vettel conceded that he "chickened out" on the brakes into the Senna 'S' on his final run during qualifying for the Brazilian Grand Prix, as he slipped behind Valtteri Bottas.

Ferrari driver Vettel led the way after the opening Q3 laps, his time of 1.08.360 putting him 0.082s clear of Mercedes rival Bottas, but did not improve on his second run, falling 0.058s shy of his benchmark.

Bottas, following behind on track, clocked a time of 1:08.322 to inch 0.038s ahead of Vettel, recording his third career pole in the process.

Vettel admitted that a slightly conservative approach at the start of his lap ultimately cost him too much time, after missing out to Bottas.

"For tomorrow I think it's fine, but I would've loved to be ahead, it was close," said Vettel.

"I think I chickened out a little bit on the brakes on the final run into Turn 1 and lost a bit too much time so… from there the lap was fine.

"I knew I had a little bit left in the last sector, at the last corner, but by then I think I was already behind.

"It was not that bad. I was happy with my first lap. I think it was okay.

"Three hundredths…you always think there's some place you could've got that, but for tomorrow I think our long runs looked good, in particular against Valtteri, so let's see what happens."

Ferrari team-mate Kimi Räikkönen will line up from third place on the grid.

"My lap could've been better, but it was a bit tricky to keep the tires in the right window for the first two corners," he commented.

"The last run was better, but it wasn't good enough."

Stroll's car undergoes gearbox, engine change

Lance Stroll
Lance Stroll

Lance Stroll's Williams will undergo a gearbox and engine change following his stoppage in final practice for the Brazilian Grand Prix, resulting in a grid penalty.

Stroll lost power, with a sudden grinding noise, as he exited Descida do Lago during Saturday morning's session at Interlagos, his car coming to a halt at Ferradura.

On the car's return to the pits, mechanics immediately started work to change the gearbox, which will result in a five-place penalty, and fit another engine.

If the engine going into Stroll's car is a fresh one, that will add a further 10 places to his drop.

"Following Lance's issue during FP3, it has resulted in him needing an engine and gearbox change," explained Williams via Twitter.

"The team is working hard to get him out for this afternoon's qualifying session."

Stroll had completed just one lap before the incident.

Tires for Race
As a result of not qualifying after crashing, Lewis Hamilton has a lot of new Supersoft tires for the race Sunday

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