Lewis Hamilton is arguably the driver with the most fan clubs. The famous “Team LH44” (the favorite number of the British driver) can be counted on all circuits, including a very important club in China. On Instagram, there are also many pages of these clubs or simple fans. The German club “Lewis Hamilton Crew” (“The Lewis Hamilton Team”) thus promised a “gift” to the spectators present in Belgium last Sunday. All you have to do is send proof of your presence in Belgium by email, along with the photo of your entry ticket to the circuit. To date, those who have done so have received only a simple confirmation of receipt. Are they going to get a message from the pilot, an autograph, an autographed photo, or is it a hoax from this fan club? Mystery.
Meanwhile, the F1 organizers are still working on compensation for the spectators present at Spa. “I am not part of these discussions, comments Toto Wolff, the boss of the Mercedes team. But if Liberty Media grants a gift, it is us, the teams, who will pay it, indirectly, by receiving less dividends. at the end of the season since there will be less profit. But we are not consulted. ”
After the disaster of this famous Belgian Grand Prix, Jean Todt, the president of the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (the FIA) called for a solution so that a scenario like that of Spa does not happen again. The ideas will be discussed on October 5th, at the next FIA meeting. It seems that there will no longer be any question of handing out points if a race cannot take place or is limited, like last Sunday, to a few laps behind the safety car. This will perhaps make it possible to oblige to reimburse the spectators present in such a case, but it will not solve the basic problem, which did not arise a few years ago: what to do when it rains too hard, and for too long ? In the past, Grands Prix were held in all conditions, but such a dangerous approach is no longer possible these days, if only because modern tires do not perform well enough in heavy rain. Could we force Pirelli to improve its tires?
Toto Wolff asks that another rule change, at the meeting of October 5: so far, when a single-seater goes off the road during free practice, the stopwatch is not stopped, the time to clear the track is subtracted of the time of these tests. This further reduces the driving time, which has already been limited to three hours in total this year, compared to four previously. Toto Wolff therefore asks that the stopwatch be stopped if practice is interrupted, to guarantee at least a minimum lap time, as is already the case in qualifying practice. This change, at least, we’ll get over it …
75,000 spectators gathered this weekend around the Zandvoort circuit, on the shores of the North Sea, about thirty kilometers from Amsterdam. And they are 75,000 absolute fans of Max Verstappen, with their orange t-shirts, their smoke, their beers and their sanitary passes. Spectators who do not hide anything: neither their face, nor their bias for their champion. Lewis Hamilton got whistled – a little – but the attitude of the fans was significantly more fair play than the Briton had feared. “I like this crowd, we haven’t seen so many people in a long time,” admitted the Briton, who qualified on the front row.
Max Verstappen, of course, was happy to start from pole position. “I know some of my fans are not very correct, they whistle Lewis, but what do you want me to do about it? I’m not them… ”replied the Red Bull driver. On his last fast lap, Max Verstappen edged Lewis Hamilton “only” 38 thousandths of a second – after being more than half a second faster before. But while the pilot confessed to having missed a speed in his fast lap, his “DRS” (the device which opens the rear wing in a straight line) did not open on his last lap – a fault which caused him cost 1.5 tenths. In the end, Max Verstappen should therefore have been at least three tenths faster than Lewis Hamilton, and not “simply” 4 hundredths. For the race, his DRS should obviously be repaired.
Lewis Hamilton had little to shoot in Friday afternoon free practice. His engine suddenly lost power, and the Briton was forced to stop on the track. After verification, Mercedes decided to change all eight Mercedes engines on track at Zandvoort – those of its two cars, but also those of the Aston Martins, McLarens and Williams.
Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas will therefore use their third and last engine of the season this weekend, while eleven Grands Prix remain to be played …