Latest F1 news in brief – Sunday

  • Not winning much at McLaren, Hamilton now drives an Aldo Costa designed car - the man who makes drivers heroes
    Not winning much at McLaren, Hamilton now drives an Aldo Costa designed car (like Schumacher did) and he is breaking all F1 records

    Hamilton 'on Schumacher and Senna level' – Massa

  • Alonso not surprised with Sainz pace
  • Kvyat looks ahead to meeting with Marko
  • McLaren considers orange livery for 2018
  • Verstappen 'very angry' over Q3 showing
  • Vettel hails turnaround after Friday issues
  • Magnussen penalized for impeding Perez
  • Stroll also hit with grid penalty for blocking
  • Tires left for USGP

Hamilton 'on Schumacher and Senna level' – Massa
(GMM) Felipe Massa thinks Lewis Hamilton will fully deserve his place among the true F1 greats if he wins a fourth world championship.

Although he starts Sunday's US grand prix from pole, Mercedes' Hamilton thinks it's "unlikely" another win will be enough to wrap up the title with a full three races to go.

But if it does happen on Sunday, F1 veteran Massa says the Briton will deserve it.

"Lewis is definitely one of the best drivers in formula one history," the Brazilian is quoted by Kolner Express newspaper.

"He is on a level with Michael Schumacher and Ayrton Senna," added Massa, who was Schumacher's teammate at Ferrari in 2006.

Hamilton's former McLaren teammate, Jenson Button, agrees with Massa that Hamilton deserves the 2017 title.

"He deserves it totally," he is quoted by France's L'Equipe.

"Ferrari has had some problems and made some mistakes, so it's a shame for Vettel, but Lewis has been doing a great job for a number of seasons."

Alonso not surprised with Sainz Jr. pace

Carlos Sainz Jr. has buried teammate Hulkenburg in his first Renault outing
Carlos Sainz Jr. has buried teammate Hulkenburg in his first Renault outing

(GMM) Fernando Alonso says he is "not surprised" his countryman and friend Carlos Sainz Jr. is straight on the pace at Renault.

Sainz switched from Toro Rosso to the French works team after the Japanese grand prix, and on his first attempt outqualified his new teammate Nico Hulkenberg on Saturday.

In fact, Sainz is one position higher on the Austin grid than Alonso, his Spanish compatriot and mentor.

"That Carlos performed very well is not a surprise," Alonso told the Spanish broadcaster Movistar.

"Nothing to say," he added.

"We knew Carlos was going to be good. Next year he will have it more difficult because McLaren will be ahead, but he should enjoy this moment," Alonso smiled.

Indeed, Sainz and Alonso, who drives for McLaren, will each have a Renault power unit in 2018.

Alonso also responded to rumors his new McLaren contract allows him to do non-F1 races, like the Daytona endurance sports car race next January.

"Maybe the next race I will do in the US will be the 24 hours of Daytona," he confirmed.

"The Indy 500 was one of the best races of my life so I'd like to do more races in America and one could be in January. That would be fine," Alonso added.

Alonso's McLaren boss Zak Brown runs a Daytona team, United Autosports.

Kvyat looks ahead to meeting with Marko

Daniil Kvyat - can he bring a large enough check?
Daniil Kvyat – can he bring a large enough check?

(GMM) Daniil Kvyat has hinted he would prefer to leave formula one if his new role is to be race-by-race.

The Russian was recently replaced at Toro Rosso by Pierre Gasly, and only returned for the US grand prix this weekend so Gasly could do the Super Formula finale in Japan.

Now there are rumors the Red Bull junior team wants to pair Gasly with Brendon Hartley for the rest of the season, with Kvyat's future for 2018 also unclear.

But he is under contract to Red Bull for two more years.

"I will have a meeting with Helmut (Marko) here because I want to know more about my role in the short and long term.

"Let's put it this way — I think everything can be fixed. If there is a clear goal, a clear direction, a clear understanding that there is a chance to compete for something big in the future, I will be happy to continue," Kvyat said.

"If not … if my role is to wait for the next race, and then not have a clue about the next one, it's less interesting. It will be a friendly conversation without heavy emotions," he predicted.

New Zealander Hartley, who is tipped to stay at Toro Rosso for the rest of 2017 and perhaps even 2018, joined Kvyat in admitting he doesn't know what will come next.

"Everyone is asking me, but it's better to ask the guys who make the decisions," he said.

McLaren considers orange livery for 2018

As the Honda is coming good and McLaren made the wrong engine move, they are talking about the color of their cars
As the Honda is coming good and McLaren made the wrong engine move, they are talking about the color of their cars

(GMM) McLaren is not ruling out a switch to a full orange livery for 2018.

Prior to this season, there was speculation the British team would revert to its traditional color – papaya orange – this year.

But although Fernando Alonso used a full orange livery when he did the Indy 500 in May, McLaren instead added significant black to its final design for F1.

That could be about to change, as McLaren switches from Honda to Renault power for 2018.

"We are now starting to deal with the design and I believe the fans would like to see our formula one cars in the classic papaya orange," Speed Week quotes McLaren boss Zak Brown as saying.

"When we did the Indycar, a lot of fans responded by asking us to paint the F1 cars like that as well.

"But we need to just wait for a few sponsor decisions, which can affect how the cars look. But in general I do not rule out that color," Brown added.

The American also said he expects more sponsors to appear on the 2018 McLaren, but he played down expectations a title sponsor deal might be done.

"We have a lot of space on the car for our partners, and I expect to welcome some new ones next year," said Brown.

"But it's not so much a matter of finding a title sponsor, because its value in formula one is relatively low compared to other series like Nascar.

"We are thinking more about a model of having a few big partners, and we should have that for next year," he added.

Verstappen 'very angry' over Q3 showing

Max Verstappen not good enough in Austin
Max Verstappen not good enough in Austin

Max Verstappen says he was "very angry" over his showing in the final phase of qualifying for the United States Grand Prix, which left him sixth, prior to a grid penalty.

Red Bull driver Verstappen struggled to put a lap together during Q3 at the Circuit of the Americas and made mistakes at Turns 7, 8 and 15 on his final attempt, amid strong winds.

Despite the errors, he finished within a tenth of Kimi Räikkönen, Daniel Ricciardo and Valtteri Bottas, and reckons second could have been possible with a trouble-free run.

Reflecting on his qualifying performance, Verstappen said: "I just made two mistakes, it's as simple as that.

"It was a really bad lap, [the wind] is not an excuse, it's the same for everyone.

"The whole year qualifying has been really good and today everything was looking good again but then in Q3 when you make two crucial mistakes in such corners you can't do a good lap time.

"But I was still surprised that I was that close to P3, but looking at it more than P3 was possible, I think I could have really been fighting with Sebastian [Vettel] for P2."

Verstappen will take a 15-place grid drop for fitting new power unit elements, dropping him to 21st, though he is set to climb back up to 17th due to penalties for rivals.

"I was very angry with myself after qualifying, one of the first times this year," he said.

"It's less painful that you know that you have to start at the back, and I'm sure that we can have a good race… hopefully after a bad Saturday I can have a good Sunday."

Verstappen is optimistic that his alternate strategy of starting on the Super Soft tire, rather than the Ultra Soft, will enable him to make up significant ground in the race.

"At least we have a bit of a different strategy maybe to some other cars," he said.

"I will have an advantage over the cars ahead of me, even with the harder compound I think we are faster, but it's a bit difficult to say, it also depends how the track will be tomorrow, after the rain tonight.

"You need to overtake a few cars before you arrive to P6 again, so we'll see."

Verstappen's teammate, Daniel Ricciardo, qualified in fourth position.

Vettel hails turnaround after Friday issues

Vettel happy with progress, but the Mercedes will win the race
Vettel happy with progress, but the Mercedes will win the race

Sebastian Vettel has heaped praise on Ferrari after significant car changes contributed to him claiming a front row start for the United States Grand Prix.

Vettel struggled during Friday practice at the Circuit of the Americas, reporting that the front of his car "felt like jelly", which prompted an overnight chassis swap.

He enjoyed a much smoother FP3 session and gradually built up speed through qualifying to claim second on the grid, two-tenths adrift of pole-sitter Lewis Hamilton.

Vettel is 59 points down on Hamilton and needs to ensure that he falls no more than 64 behind in Sunday's race to keep his title hopes alive.

"I think we can be very happy with the result," said Vettel.

"It was a bit of a slow start [on Friday], we had a couple of problems, I didn't feel comfortable in the car and we felt that something was not right.

"It was a big job overnight, but the team is fantastic.

"We've had a couple of weekends in a row with a lot of work, last-minute engine changes, and now a chassis change overnight, and [the mechanics] didn't break the curfew.

"Today was a lot better, I was much happier with the car.

"I was not finding the rhythm straightaway in qualifying, I struggled a bit with a couple of corners, but I made a big step in the final lap.

"In the end we were closer than probably we expected."

Vettel reckons Ferrari will be able to put up more of a fight in race trim.

"I believe that our race pace is really good… in qualifying all year we've been just a little bit behind, so well done to Lewis, he did two great laps," said Vettel.

"For tomorrow, if the car feels like it does today, it should be good."

Kimi Raikkonen qualified fifth in the other Ferrari.

Magnussen penalized for impeding Perez

Kevin Magnussen
Kevin Magnussen

Kevin Magnussen has been hit with a notional three-place grid drop for the United States Grand Prix after impeding Sergio Perez during qualifying.

Perez approached a slow-moving Magnussen on the entry to Turn 13 in Q1, ruining his lap and prompting him to shout: "What the f**k was he doing?!".

Although Perez's result was not compromised, as he went on to reach Q3 and qualify 10th, the stewards opted to penalize Magnussen, who was already due to start last.

Magnussen and Haas admitted that they were in the wrong, amid a communication error.

Magnussen was also given one penalty point, bringing his 12-month total to eight.

"The stewards examined multiple angles of video evidence, including CCTV not available on the broadcast, the team radio calls, and heard from Kevin Magnussen, the driver of car 20, and Sergio Perez, the driver of car 11, and the team representatives," read a stewards' statement.

"The driver of car 20 admitted he had impeded car 11, and the team admitted that it had inadvertently incorrectly advised the driver that Perez was on an out lap.

"The driver and team apologized to the driver of car 11 for the error."

Magnussen will join an array of drivers on grid drops, with Max Verstappen, Stoffel Vandoorne, Nico Hülkenberg and Brendon Hartley all taking on new power unit elements.

Stroll also hit with grid penalty for blocking

Lance Stroll Friday in Austin
Lance Stroll Friday in Austin

Lance Stroll has also been given a grid penalty of three places for the United States Grand Prix after blocking Romain Grosjean during qualifying.

Haas driver Grosjean – on a fast lap – approached Williams rookie Stroll – on a slow lap – at the exit of the penultimate corner in the Q1 phase at the Circuit of the Americas.

Stroll, having just been overtaken by Daniil Kvyat on the inside, darted right to get out of Grosjean's way, after a late call from his engineer, but the Frenchman was forced to take to the run-off.

Stewards deemed that, despite doing "what he could in the circumstances", Stroll was deserving of a three-place drop, and his first penalty point in Formula 1.

Stroll dropped out in Q1 in 17th after suffering a deployment issue on his final run, while Grosjean went on to reach Q2 and qualify 14th.

"The stewards examined multiple angles of video evidence, including CCTV not available on the broadcast, and radio to car 18, and heard from Lance Stroll, the driver of car 18, Romain Grosjean, the driver of car 8, and team representatives," read a statement from the stewards.

"Stroll was on a slow lap, Grosjean was on a fast lap. Stroll was changing settings under direction of his engineer and got a very late call about Grosjean overtaking.

"Stroll immediately moved right and off the track, but Grosjean was already outside track limits and made the decision to overtake on the right, as Stroll moved right.

"It was obvious Stroll was not able to see Grosjean approaching in his mirrors, and he stated he could not move to the left as Kvyat was passing him on that side.

"The stewards believe Stroll did what he could in the circumstances but nevertheless this was potentially a very dangerous situation as the speed differential between the two cars was in excess of 100 km/h at the apex of Turn 19.

"The stewards believe the team should have given Stroll more advance warning that Grosjean was approaching rapidly."

Tires left for USGP

Lewis Hamilton has an advantage over Sebastian Vettel with a new set of Reds at his disposal whereas Vettel only has one used set remaining.


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