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F1 news LIVE: Red Bull ‘facing difficult times’ as Lewis Hamilton questions Mercedes’ hunger

Formula 1 latest news, rumours and updates plus all the reaction from Melbourne

Hamilton Admits To Struggling Mentally

Follow all the latest news and reaction from the world of F1 as teams attempt to improve their cars once again before heading to Imola for the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.

Reigning world champion Max Verstappen was left bitterly disappointed after being forced to retire during the Australian Grand Prix when his car suffered further issues with its fueling system. It was the second time the Dutchman has failed to cross the line in the space of three weeks, already leaving him a huge 46 points behind Charles Leclerc. Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko has admitted there are in fact “two or three” different problems with the car that need still need solving if they are not to cede more ground to Ferrari.

Their situation is still not quite as bleak as the one at Mercedes, though, who appear hardly any closer to finding a solution to their lack of pace. George Russell did manage to snatch the final place on the podium in Melbourne but Lewis Hamilton is planning talks with engineers to “make sure the hunger is really there” before his hopes of winning an eighth world title are completely dashed this season. “I will be chasing the people in the wind tunnel, the aerodynamic guys, and just looking at every single area,” he said.

Follow all the latest F1 news and reaction after a thrilling start to the 2022 season.

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Alex Albon reveals Australian Grand Prix tactics after unexpected points finish

Alex Albon has revealed the tactics which led to a surprise 10th place finish at the Australian Grand Prix, as he won Williams their first points of the season after starting at the back of the grid.

The former Red Bull driver managed to rise 10 places to give his team a point, moving them off the bottom of the constructors table. Albon himself said he was surprised by the outcome and the team weren’t in the best place ahead of the race.

“We looked at out race predictions and we looked a bit sad,” Albon said per motorsport.com. “It was a race where we took risks, because we felt like no matter what we did we were going to finish 19th or 20th.

“We went into the race starting our race, taking a bit of time to build the tyres up into a nice window, and when you start last you can afford to do that.”

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Australian Grand Prix might be ‘good as it gets for a while’ for McLaren admits Lando Norris

Lando Norris says McLaren’s finish at the Australian Grand Prix could be as “good as it gets” for the Formula 1 team for a while.

Norris and teammate Daniel Ricciardo bagged points in Melbourne last Sunday, finishing fifth and sixth respectively. It was the best weekend McLaren have had so far this season with Ricciardo picking up his first points of the campaign and Norris grabbing his highest finish. The British driver ended in seventh in Saudi Arabia and 15th in Bahrain.

But Norris has curtailed McLaren fan hopes of the Australian race being a springboard and says the reality is the team won’t achieve much more in the near future.

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Max Verstappen has ‘no reason to believe’ he can defend his F1 title

Formula 1 world champion Max Verstappen admits he has ‘no reason to believe’ he can defend his title in 2022.

The Dutchman, who dramatically pipped Lewis Hamilton to the 2021 championship in Abu Dhabi last year, has suffered reliability problems in both Bahrain and Melbourne which have seen him fail to finish.

He did clinch victory at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix but two DNFs have left him sixth in the drivers’ championship, a huge 46 points off runaway leader Charles Leclerc just three races into the season.

And Verstappen, who has been left extremely frustrated by his team’s inability to provide him with a car which can make it to the finish, insists the championship is not even on his mind at this moment in time.

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Max Verstappen ‘goes over the limit’ and ‘wants too much’, Red Bull boss claims

Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko believes Max Verstappen’s tendency to go “over the limit” is why he hasn’t qualified in pole position this season.

Charles Leclerc has been at the front of the grid twice, in Bahrain and Australia, with Verstappen’s teammate Sergio Perez achieving pole for the first time in his career in Saudi Arabia. Marko seems frustrated with the Dutchman, admitting he believed his first Formula 1 title would calm the driver’s nerves.

“He goes over the limit, he wants too much,” he told formula1news.co.uk. “That didn’t work out here [in Melbourne] in the last sector.

“We thought that with the World Championship title there would be some calmness from him, but he probably needs another title so that he doesn’t go into qualifying with so much pressure.”

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Ferrari not planning any car upgrades before Emilia Romagna Grand Prix

Ferrari are not looking to make any upgrades on their car ahead of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix next weekend, according to team principal Mattia Binotto.

The Scuderia have set the benchmark for the opening three races of the season, winning in Bahrain and Australia and leading both the drivers’ and constructors championships.

And they do not appear to be in a hurry to improve upon their high-performing car ahead of the trip to Italy at the end of the month.

The Emilia Romagna Grand Prix marks the return of the sprint race. This means there will only be one hour of practice on the Friday followed by qualifying.

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George Russell fears there will be no substantial improvements for Mercedes any time soon

Mercedes driver George Russell says he isn’t expecting “substantial” improvements to be made on the team’s car “anytime soon”.

Toto Wolff’s team have been behind the pace all season and haven’t won a race yet. Lewis Hamilton managed a podium in Bahrain and Russell bagged his first top-three finish in a Mercedes at the Australian Grand Prix over the weekend but a drivers or constructors title may be out of reach this campaign.

“Unfortunately, there’s nothing substantial in the pipeline anytime soon,” Russell said. “It’s not going to happen overnight. It’s going to take a number of races.”

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Toto Wolff reveals why he is ‘very optimistic’ about Mercedes’ prospects this season

Toto Wolff believes there is reason to be “very optimistic” about Mercedes after an encouraging performance at the Australian Grand Prix.

Despite again struggling to match Red Bull and Ferrari’s pure speed, George Russell and Lewis Hamilton were able to capitalise on the struggles of Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz to record third and fourth-placed finishes respectively.

Both drivers, and team principal Wolff, have spoken openly of their lack of belief in the car, which has struggled with “porpoising” amid wider performance problems in the opening skirmishes of the 2022 Formula 1 season.

Yet Mercedes are second in the Constructors’ Championship after three races, and new recruit Russell is the closest challenger to Charles Leclerc, who leads the chase for the world title by 34 points after taking his second victory of the season in Melbourne.

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The F1 photographer who captured Max Verstappen’s dramatic world title win

As the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix meandered towards a seemingly anticlimactic finish, photographer Mark Thompson watched on from a deflated Red Bull garage anticipating an early night.

“With 15 minutes to go I was in the garage thinking ‘we’re not going to win this’,” he remembers. “You’re almost in neutral, you’re thinking this is an early night, that’s the way it goes. Then, bang! All of a sudden we were winning and everything went mental. It went absolutely crazy.”

Thompson is no stranger to the chaos of F1 having photographed every grand prix for 24 years (“which is either really cool or really sad,” he says, “whichever way you look at it”) before Covid ended his streak.

You can read the full behind-the-scenes interview with Mark here:

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A ‘liability’ who was ‘disrespectful’ to the drivers - Toto Wolff slams ex-F1 race director Michael Masi

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has slammed former F1 race director Michael Masi, calling him a ‘liability’ who was ‘disrespectful’ to the drivers.

Masi’s handling of last season’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix cost Lewis Hamilton an eighth world title and led to his dismissal from the role in the off-season by the FIA for breaking the rules - something that Wolff won’t be losing any sleep over.

Wolff said: “It is quite interesting because I had lunch with him [Masi] on the Wednesday before the race [Abu Dhabi], and I said to him that ‘I really want to tell you, without patronising you, that you need to take criticism on board and develop from there. Lewis does it every day, but you are guy who always seems to know better’.

“It wasn’t about influencing him but really giving my honest feedback that he shouldn’t block outside opinion as simply being wrong.

“You hear from the drivers and how the drivers’ briefings were conducted [by Masi] and some of the guys said it was almost disrespectful how he treated some of them.

“There is a promoter of one of the races in the Middle East who said he was so relieved he had gone because he got so much abuse from him. He was just immune to any feedback and even today he has not properly reflected that he did something wrong.

“He was a liability for the sport because everybody kept talking about Abu Dhabi and the race director, and the race director should not be somebody that people talk about, but someone who does the job and makes sure the race is run according to the regulations.”

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Martin Brundle praises George Russell’s ‘classy, fault-free driving’ in battle with Lewis Hamilton

Martin Brundle has praised George Russell for his “classy” and “fault-free” early season performances after the Mercedes driver climbed to second in the Drivers’ Championship standings.

Russell secured his first podium at Mercedes at the Australian Grand Prix, beating teammate Lewis Hamilton to third after a timely pit stop during a safety car enabled him to gain race position.

The 24-year-old has finished in the top five at each of the three races to start the season despite significant performance issues for the German outfit.

The British driver arrived to partner compatriot Hamilton at the start of the season from Williams, and has thus far out-performed the seven-time world champion.

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