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Steering system could be an F1 head start for Lewis Hamilton

  • Mercedes test their new DAS system in Barcelona
  • Other teams may question legality of innovation

The Formula One season has yet to begin but Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes may have already stolen a race-winning march on their rivals. Hamilton took to the track for the second day of testing in Barcelona using an innovative steering system but one whose legality may still be called into question.

Having already been the fastest driver on day one, Hamilton completed 106 laps of relentless running in the morning session. While doing so he was observed to be using the new system, understood to be dual-axis steering and referred to by the team as DAS.

Related: How do the big F1 teams shape up for pre-season testing in Barcelona? | Giles Richards

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How do the big F1 teams shape up ahead of pre-season testing in Barcelona? | Giles Richards

Red Bull might finally have a car that can put them in the title fight, Ferrari have work to do and Mercedes look to have the perfect foundation

Lewis Hamilton has the magic touch but he is without doubt also wielding the sharpest tools. And with the Mercedes W11 expectations are high again. With stable regulations this year evolution not revolution is the design philosophy across the grid. Mercedes, coming off asuccessful 2019 where they clinched their sixth consecutive drivers’ and constructors’ championship double, have the best possible baseline.

Related: Lewis Hamilton says Max Verstappen’s comments are ‘a sign of weakness’

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Lewis Hamilton says Max Verstappen’s comments are ‘a sign of weakness’

• Reigning champion in confident mood as he tests new W11 car
• ‘Lewis loves the challenge’, says Mercedes principal Toto Wolff

Lewis Hamilton brushed off recent comments from Max Verstappen as “weakness” and vowed to do his talking on the track as Mercedes unveiled their new car on Friday.

The British driver, chasing a record-equalling seventh Formula One title, displayed a steely determination at the car launch and is clearly eager to climb behind the wheel and take the fight to F1’s young guns.

Related: Max Verstappen is Lewis Hamilton’s biggest threat, says Red Bull chief

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Toto Wolff confident Lewis Hamilton will remain at Mercedes past 2020

• ‘It is the obvious pairing,’ says Mercedes team principal
• Wolff dismisses reports Daimler is considering leaving F1

The Mercedes team principal, Toto Wolff, has insisted that Lewis Hamilton staying with the team beyond the end of this season is “the obvious pairing”.

The six-times world champion has been linked with a possible move to Ferrari at the end of the year but Wolff believes he would be inclined to continue with his hugely successful partnership with Mercedes.

Related: F1 risks sportswashing boost with Saudi Arabia GP, says human rights group

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Max Verstappen’s decision suggests Red Bull-Honda will mount F1 title tilt | Giles Richards

Dutchman would have been in line to replace Hamilton at Mercedes if the champion moves to Ferrari but instead he may be the man who keeps Honda in the sport

Just days into the new year, with many good intentions already falling by the wayside, Max Verstappen has displayed the boldest of resolve. The Dutchman’s decision to re-sign with Red Bull until the end of 2023 is a commitment of confidence in the future of the team that brought him into Formula One. He clearly believes they can deliver a title-challenging car and in a month marked by attempts to be abstemious, Verstappen’s signature is just the stiffener Red Bull and their engine supplier Honda required.

Verstappen will enter his sixth season in F1 when racing begins in Melbourne on 15 March. Only 22 years old, he carries himself like a seasoned old hand on the grid. The past two years have demonstrated how consideration, maturity and judgment have all informed his natural talent. With every race he has been moving towards becoming a more complete driver.

Related: Max Verstappen commits long-term future to Red Bull with contract to 2023

Related: Hamilton should listen to Berger: set F1 record then live Ferrari dream | Giles Richards

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Hamilton should listen to Berger: set F1 record then live Ferrari dream | Giles Richards

Austrian understands the visceral attraction of the Scuderia but timing is everything and ‘you never leave a winning team’

After 13 years in Formula One, Lewis Hamilton’s enthusiasm shows no sign of waning. In one area however he may find next season becomes tiresome pretty sharpish. From the moment he returns in 2020, Hamilton is going to be dogged by questions about where he will see out his time in F1: Mercedes or Ferrari.

It will be the last of his key career decisions. A choice that could ultimately define his place among F1 greats and one perhaps driven with his heart as much as his head.

Related: Ferrari ‘very flattered’ Lewis Hamilton has had talks about F1 move

Related: A year to remember: F1’s highs and lows from the 2019 season | Giles Richards

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Ferrari ‘very flattered’ Lewis Hamilton has had talks about F1 move

• Ferrari admit they have spoken with world champion
• Ferrari would veto bid by Mercedes chief Toto Wolff to run F1

Ferrari have admitted for the first time that Lewis Hamilton, whose £40m-a-year deal with Mercedes expires at the end of next season, has discussed joining them.

Ferrari’s no-nonsense chief executive, Louis Camilleri, also scuppered any ambition Toto Wolff has of leaving Mercedes to run Formula One by stating the Scuderia would be prepared to block such a move.

Related: Lewis Hamilton would be welcome at Ferrari, says Charles Leclerc

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Lewis Hamilton would be welcome at Ferrari, says Charles Leclerc

• British world champion has not ruled out move to Italian team
• Toto Wolff’s future will be a factor in Hamilton’s decision

Charles Leclerc has added further intrigue to Lewis Hamilton’s future by revealing he would welcome Britain’s six-time world champion to join him at Ferrari.

Hamilton’s next move was the subject of intense speculation at the final round of the campaign in Abu Dhabi after Ferrari admitted for the first time that they want to sign him.

Related: A year to remember: F1’s highs and lows from the 2019 season | Giles Richards

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Lewis Hamilton in total command to end season with Abu Dhabi F1 win

• British driver achieves 11th success of 2019 season
• Charles Leclerc referred to stewards over fuel irregularity

Lewis Hamilton won the final race of the Formula One season at Abu Dhabi with a dominant run from pole to the flag. Unchallenged, he pulled away from the field and concluded his sixth championship season with a controlled, flawless race for Mercedes.

Max Verstappen was in second for Red Bull, Charles Leclerc was third for Ferrari and his teammate Sebastian Vettel fifth. Red Bull’s Alexander Albon was in sixth, while Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas came back from 20th after an engine penalty to take fourth.

Related: Champion Lewis Hamilton wins Abu Dhabi Grand Prix: F1 – as it happened

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Lewis Hamilton is not only a peerless champion, he is the face of F1 | Giles Richards

In his 13-year F1 career, the 34-year-old has been in a class alone, a driver at the top of his game who says the best is yet to come

With a sixth world championship this season, Lewis Hamiltons place in motor racings pantheon is assured. Debate will rage over who may be the greatest of all but Hamilton, the black kid from a Stevenage council estate, surely occupies a position no other has managed. He has transcended the role of driver to perhaps a unique place in the sports history. To a broad global audience, Formula One is Lewis Hamilton.

With five titles from the past six seasons, this is the Hamilton era. He is the pre-eminent driver of his generation and the focal point of F1. A personality that is impossible to ignore and who stands astride the sport like no other.

Related: Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel driving F1s climate emergency plan

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Verstappens verve lights up Brazilian Grand Prix but Ferrari flounder again | Giles Richards

Red Bulls Max Verstappen was flawless at Interlagos, altitude sickness for Mercedes and a happy birthday for Honda

What a difference a year makes. Max Verstappen, after his travails at this race last year, where he was hit by Esteban Ocon while leading, could not have delivered a more impressive performance. Since his crash in practice at Monaco last year he has returned a more complete driver. Red Bulls team principal, Christian Horner, has praised how far he has come and believes he has the ability to beat Lewis Hamilton in a straight fight. On this evidence it would be an unmissable battle. Weaknesses remain qualifying at Mexico was a glaring error but in Brazil he was calm, controlled and flawless dominant in qualifying and untouchable in the race. Not only did he retake the lead twice but exhibited some exquisite skill. His pass on Charles Leclerc to chase Hamilton was a decisive thrust he had to execute quickly and perfectly. Equally, the final restart was a piece of old-school racecraft that even Hamilton acknowledged was outstanding. Praise indeed.

Related: Ferrari launch investigation into Vettel and Leclerc's collision at Brazil GP

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