Latest F1 news in brief – Monday

  • Did Hamilton gets the momentum back?

    Mercedes duo tussle over title 'momentum'

  • Lauda slams Vettel for 'screaming like child'
  • Raikkonen to miss Silverstone test after crash
  • Changes afoot as Caterham's new era begins
  • Bild publishes photos of Schumacher's wife smiling
  • Monza must accept new contract terms – Ecclestone
  • Smedley: Bottas showed incredible race craft
  • Gutierrez handed grid penalty for Maldonado clash
  • Massa: Mercedes playing dirty tricks to hurt other teams

Mercedes duo tussle over title 'momentum'
(GMM) Lewis Hamilton insists he is right back on track for the 2014 title.

Ever since his 'tantrum' in Monaco, the Briton's earlier momentum swung wildly in Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg's favor.

"I still feel that the momentum is with me," Rosberg argued at Silverstone on Sunday, although thousands of Britons were still cheering as their hero Hamilton closed the deficit from 29 to just 4 points.

But the German had not been actually defeated by Hamilton, as he broke down from the lead with a gearbox problem.

Rosberg said he won't let it get him down.

"I was totally in command of the race so obviously it's disappointing.

"But I only use energy on things that I can influence," he is quoted by Germany's Auto Motor und Sport. "This is in the past now. I have to try and accept it.

"Now we move on," said Rosberg. "It's very close between the two of us now, so at least that's good for those who follow formula one and for television," he is quoted by Spain's Marca.

What is clear is that the 2014 title battle – dubbed 'Star Wars' by the excitable German media – is now stepping up a gear, as Hamilton's run of poor form apparently ends.

A newly-feisty Hamilton thinks he could have beaten Rosberg even without the German's failure.

"I really felt that I had the pace on Nico," he said. "I really was hunting him down like never before.

"To be honest, I don't really feel anything for his retirement."

What he does feel is that his era of funk is now behind him. "I really feel like I can refocus for the rest of the season," said Hamilton.

Even Rosberg's looming German grand prix, he insists, will not stand in his way.

"I know whilst it (Hockenheim) is Nico's home grand prix, he doesn't have even one eighth of the support us Brits get here," said Hamilton at Silverstone.

The only thing left for the Briton to do on Sunday was to celebrate. He started with a victory doughnut – legalized for race winners in 2014 – for the Silverstone crowd.

"Fingers crossed it didn't do anything to the gearbox," he smiled.

And then there was the trophy. Hamilton initially expressed disappointment with the flimsy, Santander-themed one presented to him on the podium, which promptly broke.

"Where's the gold trophy, man?" he wondered. "(This is) plastic, it must cost ten pounds!"

In fact, the traditional RAC trophy was being closely watched by security guards, but it was later released to Hamilton's short-term custody for photo opportunities.

"This one's a lot nicer. Real trophies, you know?" Hamilton beamed.

Lauda slams Vettel for 'screaming like child'
(GMM) Niki Lauda has slammed Sebastian Vettel for "screaming like a child" during the British grand prix.

The Mercedes team chairman said he enjoyed every moment of the on-track battle for mere points placings between champions Vettel and Fernando Alonso.

But, throughout, the pair complained loudly and repeatedly to their pit crews about 'track limits' — arguing that their respective tactics were contrary to the rules of battle.

Lauda, a triple world champion and F1 legend, could not hide his disdain.

"I do not understand Vettel and his screaming like a small, startled child," he is quoted by the German newspaper Bild.

"This was two top drivers and top racing, which is what the audience wants to see.

"I am pushing Bernie Ecclestone so that the drivers can once again drive with more freedom and not be punished for every little thing. I'm fighting for better racing," Lauda insisted.

Raikkonen to miss Silverstone test after crash
(GMM) Kimi Raikkonen is expected to sit out this week's post-British grand prix test at Silverstone.

Circuit workers took an hour to repair the unprotected Armco barrier that the Ferrari driver struck on Sunday before taking a further hit by Felipe Massa.

The Finn limped away from the scene on the arm of a marshal and into the medical car, and it later emerged that Ferrari telemetry recorded an impact of 47G.

Reportedly, Raikkonen's first words on the radio after the impact were: "Is Felipe ok?"

But it was Raikkonen who "took a hard knock on the ankle and also has pain in a knee," Ferrari confirmed.

"He will now have to rest but he will be back in time for the next round in Germany," the team added.

Boss Marco Mattiacci confirmed that Raikkonen will be "resting" from now until Hockenheim, which implies that he will not be in action for the test this week.

Bild newspaper said Ferrari junior and Marussia racer Jules Bianchi is the likely substitute.

Mattiacci is not confirming that yet.

"We still have to take a decision," he said. "I want to be 100 per cent sure that he's super fine, but no major issue at the moment."

34-year-old Raikkonen's long-time trainer Mark Arnall told Turun Sanomat newspaper that the driver was "examined thoroughly" after the crash, and has definitely not damaged any bones.

"He is sore," said Arnall, "but thankfully he has escaped anything worse."

And the 2007 world champion's manager Steve Robertson added: "His left ankle is severely bruised, but nothing is broken.

"We assume that Kimi will be fit again for Hockenheim."

Changes afoot as Caterham's new era begins
(GMM) Changes are afoot at Caterham, mere days after the team's takeover by mysterious investors.

"We're not even a week into this new chapter in the team's life," said new boss Christijan Albers, "but we've already seen just how hard everyone at the track and at the factory is prepared to work to push us forwards."

The departure of boss Cyril Abiteboul and the arrival of Albers, Colin Kolles and Manfredi Ravetto aside, it was business as usual at Silverstone as the green team continued to struggle at the back of the grid.

Some other changes are also visible.

On the green livery, Tony Fernandes-linked sponsors like Airbus were still there at Silverstone, but now conspicuously absent are the 'GE' logos of General Electric.

Finland's Turun Sanomat newspaper claims Caterham will lose more Fernandes-era sponsors in the coming days and weeks.

Driver rumors have also begun. Alongside the Red Bull teams, Caterham will be the only other Renault-powered team in 2015.

So it is rumored that the Red Bull-backed Carlos Sainz Jr is a candidate to move in at Leafield. Also linked with Caterham in the past few days has been Robin Frijns, who like new team boss Albers is Dutch.

For now, Kamui Kobayashi and Marcus Ericsson are safe.

"Both have contracts," said Ravetto. "They are doing their best with what they have. The weak results are not their fault."

Turun Sanomat, however, claims team 'advisor' Kolles intends at least to open up another revenue stream for Caterham by selling as many Friday morning practice cockpits to well-backed drivers as possible.

And the report said Kolles also intends to shrink Caterham's 400-strong workforce.

"We have had four days to try to understand the reasons why the team is behind," Ravetto continued.

"We will try to get the most out of this season and make sure we're in a position to be further up on the grid next year," he added.

"We will study the areas in which the team needs new blood."

Schumacher's wife seen smiling. What does it mean?

Bild publishes photos of Schumacher's wife smiling
(GMM) As Michael Schumacher's fans hold out hope, no official news has been heard from the F1 great's camp for three weeks.

It was mid June when his management announced the 45-year-old had finally emerged from his six-month long coma and been moved to a rehabilitation clinic.

But some continued to fear that the legendary former Mercedes and Ferrari driver might still not be facing a favorable outcome, in the wake of brain injuries sustained in his late December skiing fall.

However, hope dies last. And, according to the major German newspaper Bild, Schumacher's wife is showing the first visible signs of optimism and happiness since the dark early hours of her husband's hardest battle.

"Corinna smiles again!" the report exclaimed, publishing photos of Mrs. Schumacher making eye-contact with the lens and grinning broadly.

Monza must accept new contract terms – Ecclestone
(GMM) Bernie Ecclestone has revealed he is "ready to sign" a new contract with circuit officials at Monza.

The F1 chief executive sparked alarm among proponents of the historic Italian grand prix venue when he warned that he could axe the race after 2016.

At Silverstone, another of the sport's iconic and traditional tracks, he repeated his warning about the Autodromo Nazionale.

"Without an agreement, there will be no (Italian) grand prix," he told Italy's Sky television.

"The organizers know what to do and I'm ready to sign if they can comply with terms equal to those of all the other races in Europe," Ecclestone added.

"We do not want to lose Monza," he insisted. "It's not that Monza will be cut from the calendar, it's that the contract will expire and we still do not have a deal.

"I spoke with the organizers a couple of years ago to explain what the terms will be. They only need to accept the contract and sign it.

"As for me, I have a pen. There is only the need for a contract, that's all."

Asked to predict the outcome of Monza's new predicament, Ecclestone responded: "I don't know, I really don't, but we'll try.

"We do not want to lose Monza, but we need to bring them into line with the rest of Europe."

Smedley: Bottas showed incredible race craft
Rob Smedley has said Valtteri Bottas showed 'incredible race craft' in the British Grand Prix and that he couldn't have asked for anything more from the Finn.

Bottas put in arguably one of the drives of the day in his Williams, charging through the field and putting in a number of impressive overtaking maneuvers en-route to second place overall and his second podium in a row.

"It's a great result for Valtteri," said Smedley, Williams' Head of Performance Engineering, "and he showed incredible race craft throughout the whole race.

"You couldn't ask for anything more from the driver; he changed his race around with those overtakes in the first stint."

Smedley also reckoned they could have had both drivers on the rostrum had Felipe Massa not got caught up in Kimi Räikkönen's crash on the opening lap.

"It's really disappointing for Felipe," Smedley continued, "as we clearly have a great car and could have had a double podium.

"But he will rebuild and has the support to bounce back."

"Everybody is pushing and everybody is motivated in the team, and as a result we are moving forward and that is the main aim," Smedley added.

"I am really proud of everything that we have done and a big thank you to everyone at the team here and in Grove for all the hard work."

Gutierrez handed grid penalty for Maldonado clash
Esteban Gutierrez has been handed a three-place grid penalty for the German Grand Prix after the stewards decided he was to blame for a clash with Pastor Maldonado at Silverstone.

Gutierrez and Maldonado were battling over 13th place when the Mexican tried to pass his rival into Vale.

The duo collided, with Maldonado being tipped into the air and Gutierrez sustaining terminal damage to his Sauber.

Gutierrez blamed the Lotus driver for their collision, explaining: "When I tried to overtake him at Turn 16 he braked and did not leave me enough space.

"I was already beside him and could not avoid a collision with him. I feel very sorry for the team, as this is not the way a race should end."

Massa: Mercedes playing dirty tricks to hurt other teams
Felipe Massa has blamed Mercedes’ slow formation lap for his clutch failure at the start of the British Grand Prix, a tactic he insists was deliberate.

Massa, who started just 15th after a qualifying blunder by his Williams team on Saturday, was left on the grid at the start of the race after his clutch failed.

The Brazilian managed to get away from the grid after a minor delay, only to then be caught up in Kimi Raikkonen’s heavy accident at the entry to the Wellington Straight, which ultimately put him out of the race.

Speaking to reporters following the race, Massa questioned what he called an unnecessarily slow formation lap, the pace of which was dictated by Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton, which he believes caused his clutch failure on the grid, and subsequent slow start.

"The problem is that all these cars go very slow on the formation lap," explained the Brazilian. "We stopped on the track and my clutch went very high temperature, so it didn’t work.

"The car was not moving, then it went into anti-stall and then I was last. It’s a shame as normally the start is never a problem.
"They [Mercedes] go slow for a reason," he added. "That’s not so good for the other teams, especially for us.

"I stopped two times [on the formation lap]. It was so slow we couldn’t do burnouts.

"My car was smoking at the rear on the grid. It’s definitely thanks to the slow formation lap."

Asked if the tactic was a deliberate attempt to disadvantage other teams, Massa agreed, stating: "Yes, you cannot go slow just because you want. They are doing it on purpose and they’ve down so at most of the races. At the first races it was even worse."

The Brazilian revealed that the issue of Mercedes’ slow formation laps has been raised to the FIA, but despite promises to snuff out the practice, nothing had yet been done.

"We were complaining [after] many races this year," he said. "The FIA have said we cannot go so slow, but they didn’t do anything. They never penalized anybody.

"We always complain. Charlie said he would look strongly at that, but he never gave any penalties.

"I think if they penalized one car because of that, giving them five positions [a penalty] everything would change."

Had it not been for the clutch failure, which he believes is a direct consequence of Mercedes slow formation laps, Massa insists he would have been in the fight for the podium, a result that would have seen Williams overhaul his old team Ferrari in the constructors’ championship.

"It would have been a great race, the car was flying today," he explained. "Today we would have both finished on the podium and we would have been third in the championship."

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