Hamilton welcomes Melbourne's sunset strip

Lewis Hamilton has dismissed fears over the effects of the twilight timing for this weekend's Australian Grand Prix, insisting it makes the race extra special. A number of drivers expressed concerns last year over visibility issues caused by a bright setting sun and similar worries have once again been raised ahead of this year's event at Albert Park.

"It was not easy in the last race [in Melbourne last year] and we all know that, but I think it adds something a little bit special to it and makes it unique," the 25-year-old said. "The Australian Grand Prix and this circuit for me has always been special, I love it here. I loved it when we had it at 2pm in the daylight but now it is perhaps a bit better for the fans. It's a bit cooler and easier for us. I think as long as we have the correct visors it's not going to be too much of a problem."

Hamilton's team-mate, the reigning world champion Jenson Button, who won in Melbourne last year, was more reserved in his opinion, opting to take a "wait and see" approach and watch how things unfold this weekend.

"I think there have been a lot of drivers commentating on it being difficult visibility because the sun was almost at eye-line," he said. "It is going to be the same here and it something for us to watch out for. Maybe it will be cloudy and we will be all right but we will have to wait and see.

"Last year I had a silvery yellow visor and which seemed to be silver on the inside as well when the sun shone so that was not the best. But I think people will be running with different visors now and it should help. But even a twilight race, for me, I'd rather that than the night time."

Hamilton has also suggested that the Red Bulls of Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel have a huge aerodynamic advantage over both his McLaren and the Ferraris of Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa which finished first and second in Bahrain. But both Button and his team-mate believe the McLarens will be more competitive this weekend. "I hope I'm not dreaming, saying that," Button laughed. "We were not geared up for Monaco levels of downforce in Bahrain and gave time away. We won't do that this weekend."

"This circuit should work to the strengths of our car," Hamilton said. "We feel stronger coming in to this race and, hopefully, we can get more points. We do have a chance of winning this weekend. And, hopefully, we'll be able to get that edge."

Meanwhile, Bernie Ecclestone is closer to realising his dream of watching Formula One cars before a backdrop of the famous Manhattan skyline. The sport's rights holder wants to help set up a New York Grand Prix from 2012. "I am trying for 2012. [It would be] out in New Jersey, with the skyscrapers in the background," Ecclestone said yesterday. "Fifteen minutes from the centre of New York to the circuit would be marvellous."

There has not been a grand prix in the US since 2007, when Hamilton won in Indianapolis to signal the end of eight years at the famous oval circuit. Before that, Phoenix held three grands prix from 1989 to 1991, while Watkins Glen in upstate New York hosted Formula One from 1961 to 1980.

Ecclestone also left the door open for former Renault owner Flavio Briatore to return to the sport. The Italian was banned for life after an attempt at race-fixing at the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix. He overturned the ban in a French court, but Formula One's governing body, the FIA, is appealing. Briatore, though, recently ruled out a return.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?