Red Bull have been criticised for taking a “cheap shot” at the lacklustre early-season performances of Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton as Formula 1 begins to gear up for the first edition of the Miami Grand Prix.
The seven-time world champion has struggled in the opening four races of the season, facing significant difficulties with the new Mercedes W13 car and declaring that there was “no question” that his title hopes are over after Sunday’s Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.
Helmut Marko, a long-time consultant at Red Bull and head of the team’s driver development program, joked after the race in Imola that Hamilton shoud retired after being lapped by winner Max Verstappen. Marko’s comments have been criticized by former F1 driver Johnny Herbert, who labeled the remark a “cheap shot” and said that Red Bull would still want Hamilton as one of their drivers even after a below-par start to the season. Follow all the latest F1 news and updates, below:
Red Bull Adviser Helmut Marko criticised for ‘cheap shot’ at Lewis Hamilton
Marko jested that Hamilton should have retired at the end of last season as the seven-time champion is struggling in his Mercedes this campaign. The British driver is off pace, which sees him down in seventh in the drivers’ standings.
Herbert said that, while Marko takes jibes at Hamilton, he would want the Briton to drive for Red Bull.
Michael Jones28 April 2022 19:15
Max Verstappen’s dad enjoyed watching son lap Lewis Hamilton at Imola
The Red Bull driver secured his second victory of the season with a dominant performance at Imola, winning from pole after also taking victory in Saturday’s sprint race.
Hamilton has been off-the-pace amid considerable difficulty for Mercedes early in the 2022 season, and endured a tough weekend in Imola.
Michael Jones28 April 2022 19:00
Hamilton quells F1 retirement talk
Lewis Hamilton has said that only he will decide when his “masterpiece is finished” in an apparent dismissal of suggestions that the Mercedes driver should retire.
The 37-year-old has endured a difficult start to the 2022 season, with Mercedes’ W13 car struggling to match early leaders Ferrari and Red Bull.
The seven-time world champion declared his title ambitions over after finishing outside of the points at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.
That led Helmut Marko, head of driver development at Red Bull, to quip that Hamilton should perhaps have exited the sport at the conclusion of last season, when he was narrowly pipped to the title by Max Verstappen under controversial circumstances.
Hamilton, however, has now apparently responded to Marko and others suggesting he may be beyond his peak, claiming to still be crafting his “masterpiece”.
The British driver posted on Instagram: “Working on my masterpiece, I’ll be the one to decide when it’s finished.”
Michael Jones28 April 2022 18:45
‘I was too greedy’: Leclerc explains error that led to costly Imola spin
Charles Leclerc has said that he was “too greedy” after a late spin ended his chances of a podium finish at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.
The early championship leader had started slowly at Imola, losing second spot to Sergio Perez and struggling to close in on the Mexican and Max Verstappen, who eventually secured a Red Bull one-two at Ferrari’s home circuit.
Leclerc and Ferrari made the decision to pit from the third late on to go to a softer tire in a bid to steal a point for the fastest lap of the afternoon and an outside chance of hunting down Perez.
But pushing hard into a chicane, the Monegasque forced caught the kerb and lost control of his car, fortunate to avoid a more serious collision with the wall but to pit to fix a damaged front wing.
It meant Leclerc dropped down the field, and while he was able to fight up to sixth on fresher tires, Verstappen and Perez closed the gap at the top of the early world title standings.
“It is a big shame,” Leclerc reflected on his afternoon. “Whatever happened before the spin, these are details and it is part of racing. But I believe the spin shouldn’t have happened today.
“[Third place] was the best we could do. We didn’t have the pace to do much more and I was too greedy.
“I paid the price for it and lost seven points. It is a shame, it is seven points that [will be] valuable at the end of the championship for sure. This shouldn’t happen again.”
Michael Jones28 April 2022 18:30
Rosberg believes Wolff was ‘annoyed’ with Hamilton at Emilia Romagna GP
Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff was annoyed at Lewis Hamilton during the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix weekend, according to former driver Nico Rosberg.
Wolff and Hamilton were seen in a heated discussion on Friday after the seven-time champion only narrowly made it through Q1 before managing just 13th place on the grid in Q2.
He would then go on to finish 14th in the sprint race and 13th in the Emilia Romagna GP on Sunday, before Wolff dismissed speculation about a rift between him and the seven-time champion.
But Rosberg, who worked with Hamilton and Wolff for several years at Mercedes, feels there is more to it than the Austrian let on.
Speaking on Sky Sports, he said: “If I have to speculate now, it looked at me that Toto was annoyed about something Lewis had done, which might be understandable.
“Lewis could have been very frustrated on the internal Mercedes garage radio or something, complaining to them that they didn’t follow his thoughts on what they should have done with strategy or complaining about the car or something.
“Lewis also got out of the car before [Q2] was over and there might be still a one per cent chance the track could be in a good shape towards the end of qualifying. Maybe Toto was angry about that.
“It just shows the stress is starting to get to them within there, because rather than going forward at the moment they are actually going backwards. I mean, they were almost two seconds a lap slower yesterday in qualifying – their worst in 10 years – so naturally… the tension is going to build internally.”
Michael Jones28 April 2022 18:15
Hamilton’s ‘psychological strength’ called into question
Former NASCAR and IndyCar driver Danica Patrick has questioned Lewis Hamilton’s “psychological strength” amid his struggles with Mercedes this season.
Hamilton has been on one podium this campaign, coming third in Bahrain, but has failed to hit top gear, so to speak. He is currently seventh in the drivers’ standings after his latest disappointment – coming 13th at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.
“I’m really curious, I’m curious as to where the speed is,” Patrick told Sky Sports. “[Hamilton’s teammate] George Russell’s having a pretty decent season, he had a good day. I don’t know, are they trying different things with Lewis?
“Are there certain specifications that are different this year that he’s not getting on with? Is it mental? Hearing Nico [Rosberg] speak about Toto [Wolff] taking the fault for the situation with Lewis is an interesting perspective.
“There’s a lot of psychological strength that’s needed to endure the pressures of the season. Every single race counts.”
Michael Jones28 April 2022 18:00
Lewis Hamilton urged to admit George Russell is ‘better driver right now’
Russell has been more consistent this season, finishing in the top five of each race, but Hamilton has struggled in the team’s car. ‘Porpoising’ has been as an issue Mercedes are dealing with and Hamilton could not get ahead of the midfield pack after only qualifying 14th at the Emilia Romana Grand Prix.
It meant the seven-time world champion finished 13th – while Russell finished fourth after being able to get ahead of several drivers on the opening lap.
Michael Jones28 April 2022 17:45
Toto Wolff senses Mercedes improvement in Miami to unlock ‘quite some lap time’
The team have struggled this season, particularly with ‘porpoising’, which has seen them bag only two podiums and no wins. The reality of the situation has led driver Lewis Hamilton to concede his title chances this campaign.
But Wolff says their season could turn around in Miami.
“We very much believe that the science we are putting in at the moment will help us to, in effect, run the car lower,” he said, as per Motorsport.com. “It is where we believe we have all the aerodynamic goodness, but we haven’t been able to unlock it because of the bottoming of the car.”
Michael Jones28 April 2022 17:30
How much do F1 drivers earn? 2022 salaries
The 2022 F1 season is back underway after an off-season that brought the biggest overhaul in sporting rules and regulations in recent memory.
After a thrilling 2021 season, the teams were given a blank slate to prepare their cars for this year’s campaign in an attempt to level the playing field and increase overtaking opportunities.
It comes after Max Verstappen defeated Lewis Hamilton in a wild and unpredictable title race that went down to the final lap of the season at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. In a highly controversial season-decider, which ultimately saw race director Michael Masi removed from his post, Verstappen made the crucial pass on the final-lap shootout to win the title after Hamilton had clawed back his lead by winning the previous three races.
Michael Jones28 April 2022 17:16
Miami Grand Prix will ‘feel like a Super Bowl’, claims McLaren boss
The race will be one of two to be held in the United States this season, joining the United States Grand Prix in Austin, Texas, and was finally added to the F1 calendar after years of speculation.
There had been talk of the race taking place in downtown Miami, but instead it will be based around the Hard Rock Stadium, which is home to NFL team the Miami Dolphins and also hosts major events such as the Miami Open in tennis.
Michael Jones28 April 2022 17:01