The May bank holiday was certainly an action packed one for Formula 1 fans, as the Portuguese Grand Prix took place. Read on for all the news from last Sunday, plus other developments with the Championships for this year and next…
The main story of last weekend was of course that Team Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton were back at the top of the pile in Portimão, with a winning lap time of 1:34:31. However, there's no disputing that Hamilton had to work extremely hard in order to emerge victorious again.
Early leads from his Mercedes team mate Valtteri Bottas and Max Verstappen racing for Team Red Bull meant that he initially started in third. However, four laps later it was a very different story, and his 97th Grand Prix win means he's also now just 8 points ahead of Verstappen for the overall Championship title this season.
Whilst on the one hand this return to victory means you could argue that Hamilton's struggles of the Bahrain and Emilia Romagna GPs were but mere blots on the copybook, many are unanimous in agreement that Verstappen and Red Bull are the most credible challenge since Mercedes and Hamilton began their uncontested domination of F1 seven years ago.
Speaking of Hamilton's win, Team Mercedes boss Toto Wolff was in typically diplomatic mood, saying: "He just drove an immaculate race … But it makes no sense to talk about these exceptional Lewis performances because they have become quite regular now. It's his standard now and he sets that standard for himself."
The other interesting bit of news regarding Lewis Hamilton this week is that he has announced his intention to stay in Formula 1 for at least one more season, after he signed on for a year's contract with Mercedes at the start of the year. Speaking at the press conference ahead of last weekend's GP, he mentioned that he was looking to stay in F1 for the foreseeable future when asked a question about a tyre development test he recently took part in.
Hamilton said "I plan to be here next year. and I want to help Pirelli in helping them towards having a better product." However, as a caveat, he also added "I am pretty spontaneous so it could always change. I am enjoying this battle we are having [with Max Verstappen]. It is getting more exciting. It has been even more of a challenge ... I don't know how long I can stay, though. We will see."
There's been disappointing but perhaps unsurprising news for Canadian F1 fans this week. Due to the ongoing restrictions relating to the COVID-19 pandemic that made plans to enter the country and observe the 14 day quarantine unfeasible, this year's Canada Grand Prix in Montreal from 11th - 13th June has been scrapped.
Replacing it instead for the seventh round of the season will be the Turkish Grand Prix, which will take place in Istanbul on the same dates, following last year's GP there which was the first in nine years. Speaking of the change, F1 boss Stefano Domenicali said "While it is disappointing we cannot be in Canada this season, we are excited to confirm that Turkey will host a Grand Prix in 2021 after an amazing race last season."
Furthermore, he also added that there was now a two year extension to the partnership with the Canadian Grand Prix, saying "We will work with the promoter to ensure those with tickets from 2020 and 2021 races get the options of a refund or to transfer their tickets to next year's race, and we look forward to racing in Canada in 2022."
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