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The Formula One circus makes the gruelling trip from Azerbaijan to Canada this week following Max Verstappen’s win in Baku on Sunday. The teams and drivers have a short turnaround until the next race this weekend on the other side of the globe. There had been doubts whether Lewis Hamilton would be able to race in Montreal due to Mercedes’ porpoising issues causing him back pain.
But the Briton has confirmed he will be back in the W13 this weekend, saying: “I’ve had acupuncture and physiotherapy and I’m on my way to my team to work with them on improving. We have to keep fighting. I’ll be there this weekend – I wouldn’t miss it for the world.”
That’s despite Toto Wolff having described the seven-time world champion as doubtful due to the pain caused by Mercedes’ problems. Hamilton could be seen slowly clambering out of his car after the Azerbaijan Grand Prix at the weekend.
Verstappen’s victory, and Charles Leclerc’s DNF for Ferrari, saw the Dutchman open up a 21-point gap atop the Drivers’ Championship standings. The Red Bull driver warned however: “To get a 1-2 for the team was really good, we’ve scored some good points today and made the gap bigger to Ferrari. There’s still a long way to go, it’s a long season so we need to keep pushing as a team.”
Express Sport rounds up all the latest Formula One news ahead of the Canadian Grand Prix below.
Verstappen and Leclerc look to break record
Red Bull head into Sunday’s Canadian Grand Prix hoping to win in Montreal for the first time since 2019, but title protagonists Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc could break a peculiar record with a pole position.
F1 titleholder Verstappen currently leads second-place Sergio Perez, while Ferrari’s Leclerc is 34 points off the pace in third.
As it happens, any pole among that trio would be breaking with recent tradition if they manage to capture pole in Canada. That’s because Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel and Nico Rosberg are the only drivers to do so in Montreal since 2007.
Vettel was still at Ferrari when he grabbed back-to-back poles in 2018 and 2019, a few years after he won three straight between 2011 and 2013.
Hamilton made it three in a row himself (2015-17) and has claimed six Canadian poles in his career, while former Mercedes colleague Rosberg finished fastest in 2014.
Hamilton given ‘pantomime dame’ warning
Lewis Hamilton has been told to “not act like a pantomime dame” by former F1 star John Watson. The seven-time world champion has found himself in an unfamiliar position this year of not challenging for race wins.
“Lewis needs to be careful not to act like a pantomime dame,” Watson told the Daily Mail. “It is a very difficult car to drive but at 37 the bones are not as forgiving of an uncomfortable ride.
“This is a whole new world to Lewis. He has had seven or so years when Mercedes have been dominant and it’s perhaps like a seven-year itch. George looked pretty fresh afterwards and finished third to Lewis’s fourth.
“Lewis maybe needs to recalibrate and spend less time in the air and more in the gym.”
Verstappen has problem to fix
Jos Verstappen has told Red Bull what they must help his son Max Verstappen fix to help the Dutchman win the Drivers’ Championship again this year – his qualifying performances.
“The only thing that’s still lacking is qualifying,” he wrote for Verstappen.com.
“Saturday you could see the frustration during the post-session interview because it’s not going yet like he wants it to. If they can sort out the qualifying, things will be easier for him.
“On street circuits this is even more evident. There is less rubber and he has more difficulty to rotate the car quickly. The good news is that during a race, the Red Bull goes like a rocket. The balance of the car is good.
“During a longer run the tyres behave differently and the car becomes quicker with turning. Max can deal with that very well. Max is great in driving consistent lap times. He can drive every lap 100 per cent accurate: boom, boom, same time.”
Schumacher labels Hamilton a loser
Ralf Schumacher feels Lewis Hamilton has been the “big loser of the season so far” with the seven-time world champion racing in an unfamiliar position this year.
“Lewis Hamilton is the big loser of the season so far,” he told Sky Germany.
“George Russell was new to the team at the start of the season and is usually ahead of the runner-up world champion and is also stronger in qualifying.
“The ‘greatest driver of all time’, as Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff always calls it, is ironed out by a newcomer in a way that is already worrying.
“I’m amazed, because there are only two options: Either is Russell the new high-flyer, or Hamilton had such a strong car in recent years that has made up for a lot.”
Hamilton defends Schiff
Lewis Hamilton has leapt to the defence of Naomi Schiff, the Sky Sports F1 presenter who was the subject of a derogatory tweet questioning her qualifications for a punditry role.
Schiff has joined the Sky Sports team for 2022 but was subjected to abuse online.
But Hamilton has now spoken out in support of the former W Series driver, insisting she is “totally qualified”.
Mazepin digs out Schumacher
Nikita Mazepin has taken shots at Haas’ Mick Schumacher, whose future with the American team has been questioned due to his poor recent form.
Russian Mazepin lost his Haas seat just weeks before the opening race of the season after his father’s links to Vladimir Putin.
Asked about Schumacher’s performances, Mazepin told Russian sports channel Match TV: “I would say that the results speak for themselves. That’s all I have to do to say.”
Mazepin added that he has had no contact with Haas since being sacked. He continued: “Why hasn’t anyone contacted me? I don’t know.
“But if a mechanic or someone I worked closely with was made redundant, I would send a message on WhatsApp, regardless of my attitude toward them or management.”
Latifi to lose seat?
Nicholas Latifi may be about to lose his drive at Williams with reigning F2 champion Oscar Piastri primed to replace him, per reports.
The Australian, 21, is currently without a seat although he serves as the reserve driver for both Alpine and McLaren.
It’s claimed the Alpine academy graduate will be loaned to Williams for two years, similarly to George Russell’s three-year stint with the team from Mercedes.
Brundle on Horner’s side
Martin Brundle understands the pain both Lewis Hamilton and George Russell are going through from the bouncing in their Mercedes caused by porpoising, but the Sky Sports pundit ultimately doesn’t feel it’s up to the FIA to intervene.
Christian Horner has hit out at the teams calling for the regulations to change and Horner sided with the Red Bull boss.
“The teams that have got it sorted are clearly saying that’s Mercedes’ problem and it’s not Formula One’s problem,” Brundle told Sky Sports News. “There’s no doubt about it, it looks particularly uncomfortable.
“Of course, [Mercedes] can fix it by raising the car but then they lose a huge amount of performance. So, they need to get the car low, stiff on the suspension and stiff on the side wall of the new tyres as well, and they’ve had to sacrifice comfort for performance.
“What’s surprising, really, is that Mercedes just can’t seem to get a handle on what looks like, actually, quite an excellent car, if they could just unlock it.
“When you have these ground effect cars, it’s always been an issue. It is still in sports car racing; I was at Les Mans and in the prototypes there they have porpoising and ground effect issues in terms of bouncing. It needs managing.
“To ask the other teams to change the regulations to help Mercedes, is a bit like asking a turkey to vote for Christmas. I’m not underplaying what George Russell and Lewis Hamilton are going through, because it does look particularly painful.
Russell hits back at Horner
George Russell has responded to the claim from Christian Horner that Mercedes are ‘bitching’ about the pain caused by their porpoising problems.
Russell told Sky Sports F1: “No one is saying this to try and gain any advantage. You’ve got the Ferrari drivers, and even Max [Verstappen] saying how tough it is.
“You’ve either got porpoising and the car is hitting the ground or you have to run the car millimetres, perhaps one centimetre, above the ground and you’re smashing the bumps.
“So whichever way you’ve got it, it’s not great for anyone. Something will happen. There’s no doubt about it. But I don’t know what the solution is, to be honest. At the end of the day, the majority of us are in the same boat.”
Jos Verstappen warns Ferrari
Max Verstappen’s dad Jos has warned Ferrari that the Dutch driver is relishing the pressure of defending his F1 drivers’ title.
He said post-Baku on his official website Verstappen.com: “You could see Max was very motivated. That had of course to do with the previous race in Monaco, but he doesn’t really let it get to him.
“I think that’s very beautiful, it only makes him better. A challenged Max is an even better Max.”
Verstappen has won four of the last five Grands Prix but has never won in Canada, managing just one podium from five attempts. He finished fifth in 2019, the last time the race was staged.
Hamilton confirms Canadian GP decision
Lewis Hamilton has confirmed he intends to race at this weekend’s Canadian Grand Prix despite back pain caused by the bouncing of his Mercedes car.
In Azerbaijan, he admitted: “I was biting down on my teeth with the pain. I can’t express it. Adrenaline got me through. You were just praying for it to end.”
But he has declared ahead of Montreal: “I’ll be there this weekend. I wouldn’t miss it for the world. Yesterday was tough and I had some troubles sleeping but I have woke up feeling positive today.
“Back is a little sore and bruised but nothing serious thankfully. I’ve had acupuncture and physio with Angela [Cullen] and I am on the way to my team to work with them on improving.”
F2 driver’s dad banned from Silverstone
F2 star Cem Bolukbasi’s father has been banned from the British Grand Prix after a fight with Roy Nissany’s trainer in Azerbaijan.
The FIA claim the Turkish star’s dad, Yavuz Bolukbasi, was involved in a ‘provoked heated verbal exchange’ with Nissany.
They reported: “After an on-track incident between Cars 16 and 23 the father of the driver of Car 23, Mr Yavuz Bolukbasi, along with the driver’s manager went to the DAMS Paddock tent.
“Mr Bolukbasi admitted that he lost his temper when he thought that the driver of Car 16 made a derogatory comment about his son. At the DAMS tent Mr Bolukbasi provoked a heated verbal exchange with the driver of Car 16.
“As the verbal exchange escalated the trainer for Roy Nissany became involved and there was some pushing and physical contact between the father and the trainer (Francesco).
“No punches were exchanged and the unwanted guests were removed from the area. At no time will physical violence, nor the threat of such be tolerated.
“In keeping with ISC (International Sporting Code) Art 9.15.1 Competitors are responsible for all acts of persons to whom they have given access to the Reserved Areas.
“The threat of violence and the actual minor scuffle that took place as initiated by Mr Bolukbasi are determined to be a breach of ISC 12.2.1(c).”
Lando defends Lewis
Lando Norris has defended Lewis Hamilton after the Mercedes driver was the subject of an FIA at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.
Hamilton was accused of driving unnecessarily slowly during qualifying and holding up Norris and Daniel Ricciardo.
But Norris said: “It wasn’t unnecessary, it was necessary. He wanted a slipstream, I wanted a slipstream.
“And I didn’t want to pass him because of it. So he did nothing wrong, it’s racing. It was like second gear or something.”
Horner’s Hamilton and Mercedes swipe
Red Bull’s Christian Horner has accused Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton of ‘bitching’ and exaggerating the impact of their porpoising problems. Hamilton appeared in severe pain in Azerbaijan.
George Russell has called for a change to the technical regulations due to the aches and pains they are causing drivers.
But Horner said when asked what he’d do if his drivers were dealing with similar bouncing of their car: “[I’d] Tell them to bitch as much as they could over the radio and make as big an issue out of it as they possibly could. It is part of the game.”
Asked if he thinks Mercedes are doing that, Horner replied: “Of course it is. Look, it is uncomfortable but there are remedies to that but it is detrimental to the car performance.
“What is the easiest thing to do? Complain from a safety point of view but each team has a choice.
“If it was a genuine safety concern across the whole grid then it is something that should be looked at but if it is only affecting isolated people or teams, then that is something that the team should potentially deal with.”
Good morning and welcome to Express Sport’s latest Formula One daily round-up.
We’ll be bringing you all the biggest and best stories within the world of F1 throughout your Tuesday.
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