F1 news LIVE: Mercedes wait on Lewis Hamilton decision with Carlos Sainz tipped to become ‘top-tier driver’

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Lewis Hamilton receives knighthood after F1 title anguish

Lewis Hamilton’s future continues to dominant the world of Formula 1 ahead of the upcoming 2022 season.

Hamilton’s 2021 campaign ended in drama and contention as Max Verstappen snatched away the world championship on the final lap of the final race in Abu Dhabi, leading to speculation over whether Hamilton may decide to call time on his storied career rather than continue to chase a record eighth world title. However, a cryptic tweet by Mercedes on the weekend, featuring a picture of Hamilton alongside the message “Adversity causes some to break; others to break records” hinted he would be back for more.

The new season gets under way on 20 March at the Bahrain Grand Prix. This time Hamilton will be joined by a new teammate. Valtteri Bottas is moving on to Alfa Romeo and young talent George Russell is taking up his empty Mercedes seat. Red Bull’s lineup of Verstappen and Sergio Perez is set to stay the same, while Ferrari and McLaren will stick with Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz respectively.

Follow all the latest F1 news below.

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F1 news

Former F1 driver and two-time Le Mans winner Hans-Joachim Stuck says he was underwhelmed with Sebastian Vettel’s first season with Aston Martin.

Vettel did claim a podium in Azerbaijan, but overall there was more hoped for in some quarters.

“Sebastian Vettel has set a few highlights in the Aston Martin this season, but otherwise I have to say that I am personally a little disappointed. There wasn’t much special about it,” Stuck told Eurosport.

“Sporting-wise, he can keep up without question. There are always fluctuations with Vettel, but that’s also down to his team.

“From Aston Martin’s point of view, however, the season has gone well overall. That whets the appetite for the future.”

Karl Matchett6 January 2022 16:45

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F1 news

Ferrari really picked up last year after a dismal performance in 2020.

The pairing of Sainz and Leclerc worked well and they are not stopping here – Team Principal Mattia Binotto wants far more in future.

“Our objectives, at least declared at the start of [2021], were to try to improve ourselves in all the areas, in each single detail,” said Binotto. “We didn’t set the third position as the final objective for ourselves; we always said third will be the simple outcome of trying to work well as a team and in terms of team effort now.

“Finishing third… is encouraging because it’s a declaration that the team somehow has made progress and is going in the right direction.”

Karl Matchett6 January 2022 16:30

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Valtteri Bottas briefly considered leaving F1

Valtteri Bottas will no longer be Lewis Hamilton’s team-mate racing for Mercedes next year, but says the multi-year offer received from Alfa Romeo gave him clarity for the future and allowed him time to come to terms with a big change – going from a team trying to win every race to one building for the future.

“Yes, for sure, I know going from a team that like I said, going to a race knowing that you have a chance to win a race, it’s going to be different next year, realistically,” Bottas told reporters.

“Luckily, this change and with a new contract, nothing happened overnight, so I had actually quite a lot of time to process things and thinking about the difference in our roles.

“Of course, I also questioned myself, do I want this, or should I try doing something else?

“[Leaving] was also one option, but I never seriously considered leaving Formula 1 because deep inside me, I still love Formula 1 and the competition and many things about it.

“Again, referring to this something new and a long-term project, that’s the motivation for me, to try and help the team the best I can, and I think it can be really rewarding if we achieve some good things.”

Karl Matchett6 January 2022 16:15

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F1 news

Yuki Tsunoda started 2021 well but found consistency hard to come by – and he knows he must improve to retain his spot with AlphaTauri.

The Japanese racer has moved country and embarked on a better pre-season regime in a bid to maximise his chances of success.

“[This year] is going to be a really important year for me,” he told GPFans.

“I don’t know how the pace is going to be for the car in the team, but you need to perform well and, of course, you need to beat the team-mate and you need a more consistent race.

“But now I know the details of what I have to improve and, if I improve this one, I can beat him, beat my team-mate, or have a consistent race.

“These are all of the things, all of the ingredients I saw to go forward. In terms of that, it was a really good preparation year I would say.”

Karl Matchett6 January 2022 16:00

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F1 news

Changes to the car design, the tyre size and the different rules on spending caps in Formula One next season all mean drivers face a real challenge for the new campaign.

That’s the feeling from Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, who drove several laps in Abu Dhabi after the season finale on the new compounds.

“It’s quite a bit different. This one is basically adapted to fit those bigger tyres on, but apart from that it’s the 2019 car,” Leclerc said, per PlanetF1.

“So it’s going to be big time different, but I think we’ll only know once we put the real 2022 car on track and do the correlation from the simulator to reality.

“It makes it quite tricky. It’s challenging for us drivers, and I think it will be more challenging next year to drive those cars.

“Overall, it probably has a bit of a bigger window to work; especially in cold conditions, it feels quite good.

“But it’s also quite tricky when you lose the car in the high-speed [corners] especially.”

Karl Matchett6 January 2022 15:53

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F1 news

Lewis Hamilton has sold his personalised Pagani Zonda 760LH, Quattroruote report, netting himself a profit of over £7million in the process.

While the British racer has not made any comment publicly since the end of last season, the move is believed to be related to his “increased environmental awareness”.

“The reasons are in-line with the attitude that the Mercedes champion is taking in terms of ethics: in fact, his cars will be, at a minimum, hybrids,” the report states.

Karl Matchett6 January 2022 15:45

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Williams win £26.3m case against former sponsor

Williams have been awarded $35.7 million (£26.3m) in an arbitration case after a dispute with former title sponsor ROKiT.

The case in the United States comes after the pair joined forces in 2019 on a three-year contract, while quickly extending the partnership to 2023 later that year.

But after the 2020 season was delayed due to the Covid pandemic, the pair split.

As reported by MotorsportWeek.com, Williams won the case against ROKiT at a London Court of International Arbitration tribunal in 2021, ordering ROKiT to stump up “roughly £26.2m in missed payments, as well as a $1m in bonus payment.”

Arbitrator Klaus Reichert SC has now ruled in favour of Williams, stating that ROKiT did not pay the money owed to Williams, meaning the matter is now settled and the Grove outfit can concentrate on the 2022 season, with the outstanding sponsorship money now due soon.

Jack Rathborn6 January 2022 15:30

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David Coulthard: Lewis Hamilton had to ‘fight fire’ in F1 title battle

David Coulthard has likened Lewis Hamilton’s role in last season’s dramatic F1 title fight with Max Verstappen to “fighting fire”.

“The way he [Verstappen] drives, the thing that I find most impressive…[if] there’s a gap, he goes for it, it’s not even a doubt,” Coulthard told Channel 4.

“I used to weigh up ‘should I risk it now, should I not risk it’, he just goes ‘I can see the biscuit’ he risks it for the biscuit, he just goes, it really is quite special.

“And when you actually see how Lewis is defending against that, Lewis is an exceptional racing driver, but he’s had to open the door on more than one occasion because he’s come up against, if he’s fire, he’s come up against fire, and how do you fight fire?”

Jack Rathborn6 January 2022 15:15

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Michael Masi told Abu Dhabi decisions ‘completely ignored any level of common sense’

Former Formula 1 driver Stefan Johansson has told Michael Masi his decisions at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix lacked “common sense”,

“I guess it’s positive for F1 that everyone is chiming in, that there’s so much passion for either side, Lewis or Max,” Johansson told F1i.com. “Whether it’s intentional or not, the entertainment value of this controversy has gone through the roof.

Jack Rathborn6 January 2022 15:00

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F1 news

Alfa Romeo are well-placed to embrace the changed rules within Formula One next season and it’s the bigger teams who may struggle to come to terms with the altered financial landscape, says Fred Vasseur.

“I think it’s a nice project to start from scratch with the cost cap,” the team principal told GPFans.

“It’s even a bit more than just a change of chassis and the fact that you have to develop the car on the other cost cap, it’s a complete change of mentality and approach.

“For the big teams, I think it’s an extra challenge,” he added.

“For us, we have also to anticipate the fact that if we keep this path, in two or three years we will be at the cost cap.

“Now you have to be focused on efficiency. It’s a big change of mindset for a company, but it’s a good challenge, a nice one.”

Karl Matchett6 January 2022 14:49

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