Formula One’s ruling body, the FIA, and its dominant team, Mercedes, were both left red-faced here on Thursday when the world champion, Lewis Hamilton, made a mockery of the official drivers’ press conference before Sunday’s Japanese Grand Prix.
Any conspiracy theorist who suggests Mercedes want Nico Rosberg, not Lewis Hamilton, to win the Formula One drivers’ title was given plenty of ammunition by the world champion himself here on Sunday.
The heat haze, an almost overwhelming sultriness that had layers of torrid air shimmering above the freshly laid asphalt at the Sepang International Circuit, was not wholly responsible for the moving picture here on Friday.
Jenson Button will become the third driver to start 300 Formula One races when he competes in the Malaysian Grand Prix on Sunday and he has given the clearest indication yet he will not be seen on the grid again after this season.
Nico Rosberg is in the best form of his life, according to Mercedes’ executive director, Toto Wolff, after taking the lead in the Formula One world championship from Lewis Hamilton at the Singapore Grand Prix.
The challenge of Singapore at night, a bumpy, relentless, unforgiving track that saps the energy through its gruelling 23 turns, puts every driver under the spotlight.
Nico Rosberg had the edge for Mercedes over the two practice sessions for the Singapore Grand Prix on Friday, setting the fastest time of 1min 44.152sec in the second session on the fastest ultra-soft tyres. He was just over two-tenths ahead of Kimi Raikkonen’s Ferrari, followed four-tenths back by the Red Bulls of Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo.
The sale of Formula One to Liberty Media has been agreed in a takeover which values the sport at $8bn.
Williams' title sponsorship deal with Martini is worth less than McLaren's tie up with Johnnie Walker.
Stoffel Vandoorne made a memorable qualifying debut for McLaren, finishing 12th on the grid for Sunday’s Bahrain Grand Prix – two places ahead of his vastly experienced team-mate Jenson Button.
Max Verstappen has been promoted.
Mercedes team bosses were locked together in gloomy inquest just minutes after the start of Sunday’s Spanish Grand Prix after Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg crashed out, leaving the field clear for Red Bull’s Max Verstappen to win the race.
Lewis Hamilton has stressed that, despite the win in Hungary on Sunday that gave him the lead in the Formula One world championship for the first time this season, he cannot afford to let up in the pressure he has exerted over his Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg.
The 26-year-old has been linked with a move to the Premier League.
Lewis Hamilton hugged his Mercedes rival Nico Rosberg and thanked him for “being a gentleman” after he won the Monaco Grand Prix, his first success since October last year.
Nico Rosberg is once again bossing the Formula One championship table – and with Austria to come, where he has won for the past two years, there was an extra spring in his step on Sunday night.
Might peace be declared at Mercedes? Let’s sincerely hope not.
Lewis Hamilton arrived on the back foot in China following successive victories for Nico Rosberg in Australia and Bahrain.
The destination of the 2016 Formula One world championship has already been decided in the uncompromising mind of Lewis Hamilton. The final, title-deciding race of the season here on Sunday, which has brought an international media circus to this gaudy oasis in the desert of the United Arab Emirates, is but a backdrop to his remarkable self-belief.
Lewis Hamilton is still smarting at the decision by Mercedes to switch the mechanics working on his and team-mate Nico Rosberg’s cars at the start of this season – but, as he prepares for Sunday’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, the last race of the season that will decide which of them win the world title, he said that he will not make his true feelings felt for a while.