F1 70th Anniversary Grand Prix LIVE: FP1 done – Bottas beats Hamilton, Perez OUT with Covid-19, Leclerc racism storm – The Sun

F1 is at Silverstone for a second week running and Lewis Hamilton will be hoping for a similar result.

The Brit showed incredible calmness in last week's British Grand Prix to win even after his tire punctured on the final lap.

Follow all the updates from the F1 70th Anniversary Grand Prix below…

  • FIRST PRACTICE IS DONE

    It is as you were. Bottas is P1 ahead of Hamilton by just 0.138 seconds.

    Verstappen is 0.727 seconds behind Bottas's time, so Red Bull – along with the rest – have plenty of work to do.

    Ferrari's Leclerc is almost a second off the pace as the best-placed Ferrari.

  • FIVE MINUTES TO GO

    We have Bottas, Hamilton, Verstappen, Hulkenberg, Leclerc, Albon, Vettel, Stroll, Kvyat and Ocon.

    That's the top 10.

    Down the bottom, the usual candidates, the Alfa Romeos, Williams and Haas, plus Daniel Ricciardo.

  • THIS ALL FEELS A BIT FLAT

    After last week's British GP, this 70th special race all feels rather flat.

    I am over the no fans in the grandstands, but there is a distinct feeling of fatigue at Silverstone.

    Would really loved to have seen this weekend turned into a two-day event – something F1 wish to trial later in the year at Mugello.

  • VETTEL HAS AN EXCURSION

    The Ferrari man has a shocker and drifts off track. He manages to avoid any contact with the barriers but his car looks frightfully difficult to control.

    As for the Mercedes, usual service resumed. Bottas and Hamilton trading places at the top of the timesheets.

  • TYRES PART 2

    To prove the point, Alex Albon, who has done just eight laps on his soft tyres, says his rear tyres have gone.

    Hardly and encouraging sign for Sunday. Maybe there will be three or more stops…

  • TYRES…

    A quick word on the tyres this week. Remember last week at Silverstone, there were late failures for Hamilton, Bottas and Sainz.

    Pirelli blamed that on team going too long on the tyre and extreme forces put upon the rubber – this is a high-speed track, lots of fast corners with the weight transferring across the car.

    Well, this week, to make it different, they have brought a softer set of tyres. What does that mean? Ultimately the tyres will be even quicker, but the trade off is they are less durable.

    Expect to see teams forced to make two pitstops on Sunday, especially if it is hot.

  • LECLERC CURRENTLY QUICKEST

    It is an unlikely man at the top of the timesheets. Charles Leclerc in his Ferrari beats his teammate to go P1.

    Still very early days here at Silverstone. No long runs for Lewis Hamilton or Valtteri Bottas yet.

    Red Bull's Alex Albon currently in P3

  • WE ARE BACK AT SILVERSTONE

    First practice for the Formula One's 70th Anniversary Grand Prix is soon underway.

    Plenty of early news to get stuck in to.

    Perez has failed his latest COVID test, so he will NOT take part and will be replaced by Nico Hulkenberg again.

    Racing Point are also in the news after they were found to have illegally copied Mercedes' brake ducts from last season – an infringement in the rules.

    The Silverstone-based team have been slapped with a €400,000 fine PLUS a 15-point deduction.

  • HULK SMASH

    Nico Hulkenberg has spoke of his excitement at replacing Sergio Perez at Racing Point.

    He said: “I'm excited to get going again with the team at Silverstone. Last weekend, it was a real step into the unknown having been away from the team for a few years – and driving a car I'd never driven before.

    “I've learned a lot in the last week about the RP20, and I am ready to apply my experiences to this weekend. Racing at the same track again makes things a bit easier and the team has done a great job in helping me get up to speed.

    “I think we can fight for points this weekend, which is definitely my goal. I also want to wish Checo all the best in his recovery.”

    Racing Pont team boss, Otmar Szafnauer, added: “Nico did a really strong job last weekend after receiving a last-minute call to drive for us at Silverstone, and he proved why he was an obvious choice to stand in for Checo.

    “It was a big shame he couldn't actually take the start of the race last Sunday, but the all that hard work will prove very useful for this weekend.

    “We miss having Checo with us, but we wish him well and look forward to welcoming him back into the team in the near future.”

  • IN THE NIC OF TIME

    BREAKING!

    Sergio Perez has failed his COVID-19 retest and will again be replaced by Nico Hulkenberg for this weekend's 70th Anniversary Grand Prix.

    Hulkenberg joined Racing Point for last weekend's British Grand Prix as a replacement for Perez, who tested positive in a pre-event check.

    Perez – known as Checo – later revealed he had flown home to coronavirus-hit Mexico to see his mum, who was not well after an accident.

    Astonishingly, yesterday Public Health England gave Perez the green light having served his quarantine period.

    But F1's Covid Code of Conduct means he needed a negative test to enter the paddock – which has subsequently failed.

    It means Hulkenberg will get another attempt to race after last weekend a broken bolt prevented his F1 car from starting and he was forced to sit out.

  • 'FUSS ABOUT NOTHING'

    Sebastian Vettel has escaped another ticking off from the sport's bosses – despite getting in a car with Racing Point boss Otmar Szafnauer.

    The German, who was warned about breaching F1's Covid Code of Conduct in Austria, where he was spotted talking to Red Bull team members without wearing a mask, was seen riding in Szafnauer's Ferrari.

    Szafnauer's driver, Sergio Perez, only last week tested positive for Covid-19 and was forced into self isolation.

    But Vettel – who has been linked a seat at the team next season – has NOT been warned about his latest blooper and the Ferrari man says he is in the clear because he wore a mask.

    He said: “We were heading to the fuel station. After the fuel station he was going home and I continued going somewhere else.

    “We were wearing masks… I find it a bit awkward nowadays that people make a fuss out of everything. I don't see the news in that.”

  • 'RACISM IS DISGUSTING'

    Charles Leclerc has lashed out on social media and insists he is not a racist.

    The Ferrari driver tweeted his comments following a recent interview where he explained his reasoning for not taking a knee at the start of F1 races.

    He said: “It is very sad to see how some people manipulate my words to make headlines making me sound like a racist. I am not racist and I absolutely hate racism. Racism is disgusting.

    “Stop putting me in the same group as these disgusting people that are discriminating [against] others because of their skin colour, religion or gender.

    “I'm not part of them and I never will. I've always been respectful to everyone and that should be the standard in today's world.”

    When quizzed about his Tweets ahead of this weekend's GP at Silverstone, the 22-year-old said he wanted to post his comments to get his voice heard.

    He added: “I just don't want to be judged anymore. As I've said many times I'm active on social media and I don't accept to be called the way I've been called in the last few weeks negatively obviously just because of not kneeling.

    “I wanted to make a straightforward tweet just to express my feelings and that's it.”

  • GOOD MORNING F1 FANS

    Lewis Hamilton says that this season's title race comes in “the most important year of his life” as he continues to fight to end racism and support the Black Lives Matter movement.

    He said: “It is the most important year of my life to date with everything that is going on.

    “It is a different fight, championship-wise to other years. In the past, we have had the years where we fought Ferrari or Red Bull.

    “This year, it is different up to this point. But I do think it is a special year and I don't take that lightly.

    “People often ask where we get our motivation from and there are so many things to take inspiration for and to be fighting for a championship in a time like this is empowering and exciting with the thought that there could be change to follow.”

    Elsewhere, Sergio Perez is in line for a shock return to racing – just seven days since testing positive for COVID-19.

    The Racing Point driver failed a coronavirus test ahead of the British GP after admitting he flew home to Mexico to see his mum, who had suffered an accident.

    He was placed into quarantine on Wednesday night – just when Public Health England upped the self-isolation limit was increased from seven to 10 days.

    However, the 30-year-old has been told he only needs to serve seven days in quarantine and can return to compete in this weekend's 70th Anniversary GP at Silverstone – providing his latest test is negative.

  • VAL BE BACK

    Valtteri Bottas has signed a one-year extension to his Mercedes deal – with the team set to switch their attention to Lewis Hamilton.

    The Finn, who is currently second in the championship, will remain with the team until 2021.

    The 30-year-old's deal is worth around £12million a year as Merc decided against breaking up their winning partnership.

    Bottas, 30, has eight wins and 48 podiums for the Silver Arrows and is incredibly low-maintenance in his relationship with Hamilton.

    He said: “I'm very happy to stay with Mercedes in 2021 and build on the success we've enjoyed together already.

    “The past few years have been all about continuous improvement, working on every aspect of my performance.

    “I'm confident that today I'm the strongest I've ever been, but I can always raise the bar. Mercedes embraces the same philosophy: They always want to get better and are always hungry for more.

    “Ever since I fell in love with F1 as a kid it's been my dream to one day become world champion.

    “I'm in the fight for the title this year and staying with Mercedes puts me in the best possible position to compete for it next season as well.”

  • RACING BACK

    Sergio Perez is in line for a shock return to racing – just seven days since testing positive for COVID-19.

    The Racing Point driver failed a coronavirus test ahead of the British GP after admitting he flew home to Mexico to see his mum, who had suffered an accident.

    He was placed into quarantine on Wednesday night – just when Public Health England upped the self-isolation limit was increased from seven to 10 days.

    However, the 30-year-old has been told he only needs to serve seven days in quarantine and can return to compete in this weekend's 70th Anniversary GP at Silverstone – providing his latest test is negative.

    A statement from the team said: “Public Health England have confirmed that Sergio Perez's period of quarantine has been completed.

    “In line with the FIA Code Of Conduct, Sergio requires a verified negative test result for COVID-19 before he can enter the paddock. The testing process is taking place on Thursday.

    “The team expects to make a decision on who is driving alongside Lance Stroll later.”

    Perez's return would be a blow to Nico Hulkenberg, who was called up as a late replacement.

  • HAM IT HOME

    Lewis Hamilton says that this season's title race comes in “the most important year of his life” as he continues to fight to end racism and support the Black Lives Matter movement.

    He said: “It is the most important year of my life to date with everything that is going on.

    “It is a different fight, championship-wise to other years. In the past, we have had the years where we fought Ferrari or Red Bull.

    “This year, it is different up to this point. But I do think it is a special year and I don't take that lightly.

    “People often ask where we get our motivation from and there are so many things to take inspiration for and to be fighting for a championship in a time like this is empowering and exciting with the thought that there could be change to follow.”

  • LEW BEAUTY

    At last week's British Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton said he had not even started talking to Mercedes boss Toto Wolff about new terms.

    And Thursday, ahead of F1's 70th Anniversary GP, the 35-year-old said he intends to commit to the team to help see through their increased diversity programme.

    He said: “I am not talking to anyone else and I am looking forward to continuing, particularly as we have just started a new chapter as a team in terms of how we educate ourselves, how we understand what we are going to do to help be more diverse and more inclusive.

    “I am super excited that what is possible with Mercedes-Benz and this team moving forward. It will get done at some stage so I am not stressed.”

  • SLICED HAM

    Lewis Hamilton could be set for a pay-cut following the economic downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

    The F1 world champion has not started talks over the new deal because he feels uncomfortable speaking about it when people are losing their jobs.

    Hamilton's current contract, believed to be worth around £40million a year, is due to expire in December.

    But the Brit's moral compass has kicked in after last month Merc's owners Daimler said they needed to cut more than the 15,000 jobs they had previously announced.

    He said: “Ultimately, it honestly doesn't feel like the right time to sit down and talk about it.

    “When you think about so many people in the world who have lost their jobs, people unemployed, and to sit down and negotiate a big contract, it doesn't feel like the most important thing that I need to apply time to at this second.

    “I do want to continue with the team and it is not a big effort for us to sit down and get it done.

    “It is just right now I don't feel comfortable about it so I am going to wait a little bit longer.”

  • GOOD EVENING FORMULA ONE FANS,

    Lewis Hamilton kept his cool in remarkable fashion as he drove to British Grand Prix victory on three wheels.

    The Brit's front tyre completely gave way on the final lap at Silverstone, and he just about nursed the car home with sparks flying everywhere in a heart-stopping finale.

    The victory bumped the Mercedes man's lead at the top of the championship up to a healthy 30 points.

    He said afterwards: “That is the most dramatic ending to a race I remember having.

    “It was heated, a real challenge. I was super cool during the whole experience.

    “I guess it hadn’t really sunk in, then afterwards it started to dawn on me what I had just faced so I had a delayed reaction.

    “There was the race in Formula Renault where the rear suspension had snapped, I remember driving through the corners with one wheel in the air.

    “I still managed to win just, I don’t know how. It was similar today but it was much more extreme.”

    Meanwhile, Kevin Magnussen has explained why he did not take a knee ahead of the British Grand Prix last weekend – when he had done so in the previous three races.

    The Dane decided to stand with the other six drivers ahead of the race at Silverstone for the anti-racism message.

    He said: “I think in terms of standing or kneeling, I want to make sure that I'm with the messaging of ending racism.

    “I support that movement, and not any sort of political organisation that I think the Black Lives Matter movement is.

    “I kind of just want to separate myself from that, and then push on with ending racism and that messaging, which I think is great that Formula One is doing and that all of the drivers are supporting.”

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