Friday 23 February 2018

Hamilton sets fastest time in practice as he pays tribute to hero Senna


David Tremayne, at Interlagos

Still bursting with the "positive energy" he had spoken of on Thursday, Lewis Hamilton set the fastest time in practice at the Brazilian Grand Prix yesterday.

On the home track of his great hero Ayrton Senna, the rejuvenated Englishman set the pace wearing headgear blending together the designs of both his and Senna's distinctive yellow helmets. After the race it will be auctioned in support of the Senna Foundation.

The times were incredibly close, with the top eight drivers from McLaren, Red Bull, Ferrari and Mercedes separated by less than a half-second. Hamilton lapped in 1 minute 13.392 seconds to head the Red Bulls of Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber, with Fernando Alonso, Michael Schumacher, Felipe Massa, Jenson Button and Nico Rosberg all covered by the proverbial handkerchief.

The first man you have to beat in F1 is your team-mate, but as Schumacher and Rosberg were separated by just one 10th of a second, Mercedes team boss Ross Brawn said he was unconcerned by the increasingly intense battle between them and intended to let them work out their rivalry.


The duo came within millimetres of colliding as they raced so aggressively on the opening lap of the recent Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, but Brawn said that such things did not worry him.

"I don't think the rivalry is emerging, it's always been there," he said. "You say to the guys, 'We will all work together in this as a team' and you have to find the right balance."

Hamilton, meanwhile, spoke of coming out stronger from a tough year which reached its nadir in Korea shortly after he split from his girlfriend Nicole Scherzinger.

"I can't say I am there yet," he said, "but when I get to the winter and reflect on the whole season I will. I'm definitely a lot wiser than when I started the season."

He added that he wanted to get away from the idea of the "happy bubble" of friends and family that he had espoused in Abu Dhabi, and preferred to focus on getting the balance of his life right.

"I mentioned the bubble in Abu Dhabi," he said. "I was just talking about having lots of positive people and family, most importantly.

"It's about striking a balance -- you can be too serious, too intense, or not serious enough. I've been racing since I was eight years old and I still don't have the right formula for it."

His journey took another step forwards yesterday. (© Indep-endent News Service)

Brazilian Grand Prix,

Live, tomorrow, BBC1, 3.0

Irish Independent

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