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McLaren back at scene of triumphs and preparing for repeats in future

Ayrton Senna 1992 Monaco

Few circuits stir the heart quite like Spa-Francorchamps, one of the grandest of the grand old tracks. Whether bathed in sunshine or lurking in the rain, sometimes both in the space of the same race, it winds its way through the forests of the Ardennes, a heady mixture of challenge and reward. If Formula One belongs anywhere, it is here and if one team belong here then they are McLaren, who approached this weekend with optimism, if not so much for this race as for a future to match their storied past.

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Formula One - Canadian Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton relishing return to happy hunting ground of Canadian GP

The Circuit Gilles Villeneuve may not demand quite the inch-perfect precision of Monaco but it remains a formidable challenge. The track, sandwiched into the Île Notre-Dame between the 1976 Olympic Games rowing lake and the St Lawrence river, puts a premium on accuracy, with walls an ever-present threat and little run‑off. It is among the best venues on the current calendar and Lewis Hamilton has, to an extent, made it his own.

Formula 1 -Austria Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton wins Austrian Grand Prix after crash with Nico Rosberg

Never one to shy from a fight, Lewis Hamilton reminded Formula One that prematurely counting him out is an error with serious consequences. After a titanic battle in the mountains of Styria with his Mercedes team-mate, Nico Rosberg, he emerged triumphant and defiant in the face of an angry reception from the home crowd.

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