F1 news LIVE: Mercedes confirm long-term plan as Lewis Hamilton says sport faces a ‘mission’ to find new US driver

F1 news LIVE: Mercedes confirm long-term plan as Lewis Hamilton says sport faces a ‘mission’ to find new US driver

Follow live news and reaction as the world of Formula One reacts to the results at the Miami Grand Prix, while also beginning to look ahead at how teams can improve when heading to Spain next time out.

Max Verstappen closed the gap between himself and Charles Leclerc in the drivers’ championship with a win in the US, joined on the podium by both Ferrari cars – but questions have been asked over whether they made it too easy for the reigning champion to take the flag for Red Bull for the second consecutive race. Meanwhile, Lewis Hamilton is coming under pressure after showing post-race disappointment and suggesting Mercedes are not any faster than they were at the start of the season, with teammate George Russell tipped to displace him as top driver after another solid showing.

Meanwhile, Lando Norris was critical of the track after crashing out in Miami, though McLaren remain fourth in the constructor standings ahead of Alfa Romeo and Alpine. With ten days to go until the next Grand Prix, it’s all about analysing the data, recovery time and making improvements ahead of the next installment in the 2022 season.

Lewis Hamilton’s piercings row with FIA could get “very nasty”, according to Sky Sports’ Ted Kravitz.

He said: “He [Hamilton] has taken his earrings out but he can’t take out his nose [stud] and we thought he was going to have minor surgery to take out the nose [stud]. Hamilton’s now saying, having been given two races’ grace, here (Miami) and in Barcelona, that he will not take out his nose [stud]. He doesn’t want to, doesn’t think it’s something the FIA should be doing, so it looks like the war between Hamilton and the FIA continues.

“Is he going to rack up fines when we get to Monaco and he hasn’t taken it out because the hole has closed up? It’s not as easy as him being able to just take it out like he can his earrings. So there is a little storm brewing. Hamilton has said they can fine me whatever they want, but it’s not as simple as that.

“If the FIA decide to not scrutineer the driver, which it looks like they can do, they can stop Lewis from going out of the pit lane at the beginning of Friday practice because he has not been scrutineered – the driver is now effectively scrutineered in the same way as a car is. So this could get very nasty quite quickly in a race-and-a-half’s time.”

Max Verstappen labels Red Bull ‘hit and miss’ over reliability record

Max Verstappen has labelled Red Bull “hit and miss” over its reliability record despite winning the Miami Grand Prix.

“I mean, of course, now my side, I had a lot of issues on Friday, which compromises your weekend, and especially [qualifying],” Verstappen said. “Of course, [in the race] everything went well with the start but it also could have been the other way around and then you of course can say like, well, fair enough, because if you missed almost whole Friday, what can you do about it?

“So we just have to nail down a really positive weekend without issues. I think of course, Imola, we had that, but it’s still a bit of a hit and miss too much. So we just have to make sure that we are more reliable and more on top of things.“But as you can see the car is quick. I’m very happy about that, I mean, if you would be slow and reliable, that’s probably also not a good thing.”

Fernando Alonso isn’t dismayed by his low points tally so far – in fact, he feels he’s in good shape and positive results are not too far away.

“It obviously feels a little bit strange to have two points in the championship, after having probably my best start of the season in terms of competitiveness of the last 10 years, maybe from 2012,” Alonso told the media.

“I was not as competitive as I felt in these first four races. We’ve been, I think, extremely unlucky with some of the events that happened.

“It’s a matter of time that the result will come.

“I feel strong, I feel fast now. The car also feels good, so I’m really looking forward to each weekend.”

Christian Horner feels the F1 season will go the distance again in 2022, in terms of the championship.

Max Verstappen is looking to retain his crown but Ferrari have started the season well, with Charles Leclerc picking up a couple of wins – and there’s “great respect” between the two drivers, the Red Bull boss says.

“There’s a long, long way to go and I think it’s so tight with Ferrari, there’s been some great racing,” said Horner.

“There’s a great respect between Charles and Max. They are enjoying racing each other, you can see that.

“I think I was rather hoping we weren’t set for another competitive year like last year, but it looks like this one could go all the way as well.”

Mercedes in no-man’s land, says Toto Wolff after Miami

Toto Wolff says Mercedes are in a rut where they cannot challenge at the top and are not threatened by the midfield, after another Grand Prix which showed no real signs of improvement.

The big issue they are facing to unlock the car’s “potential” is that the data is not corresponding with what George Russell and Lewis Hamilton are telling the team, he says.

“At the end of the day there is no happy or not happy moment; at the moment it’s a bit dull. We are third-quickest on the road – in a way in no man’s land. We had a good Friday, we need to dissect why that was, and then come back,” Wolff explained.

“We will be looking at all the data that we have generated, and try to find out why… we had really good sessions on Friday, we had a quick lap – and dissect why that is, because we are not on top of it at the moment.

“We’ve been straight from the beginning, flying in the fog a little bit. It’s clear there is potential in the car and she’s fast. But we just don’t understand how to unlock the potential. It’s probably a car that is super difficult to drive, on the edge, dipping in and out of the performance window; more out than in.

“We haven’t had this situation before in any of the years, where it just didn’t correlate at all with what we see on our screens, with what the driver feels and that’s making it even more difficult.”

Lewis Hamilton believes it will be a ‘good mission’ for Formula One to find the sport’s next American star.

Last weekend saw the first ever Miami Grand Prix take place – one of two US races this season with the United States GP set for Texas in October.

But there is not a single American driver on the grid in 2022, something which Hamilton feels may be a result of athletes choosing other sports.

Speaking at the Miami GP, he said: “It doesn’t really surprise me. I think it’s perhaps more a cultural thing. You know, here in the States it’s the NFL, NBA. It’s NASCAR, IndyCar.

“In my 16 years of coming over here it’s been such a slow build, trying to bring awareness of the sport. Unfortunately, the Americans have to wake up at odd times in order to watch a Grand Prix.”

The USA has not had a F1 world champion since Mario Andretti claimed the title way back in 1978.

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