Formula One
Aug 23

Hamilton Finds No Grip In Practice At Spa

Lewis Hamilton struggled in practice at Spa-Francorchamps. (Photo: Getty Images)

struggled in practice at . (Photo: Getty Images)

Lewis Hamilton had a difficult first day at Spa, finishing FP2 only 12th and some 1.420 seconds off pace-setter after struggling to find one-lap speed.

Hamilton, who came to Belgium on the back of his Hungarian GP win, said he lacked grip with the low downforce specification used at Spa.

“We have some work ahead of us this evening to get the car feeling just right, but overall today was a reasonable start to the weekend,” he said. “The car feels very different here with the low downforce setup, compared to at the last race, and we need to refine a few areas to get the balance sorted.

“We were able to get some good long-run work done today, and that’s the most important thing for the race. We’ve got time to make the changes required, so I’m optimistic that tomorrow will see an improvement.”

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Aug 23

Vettel Leads P2 At Spa; Alonso Paces P1

Sebastian Vettel showed the way in P2 at Spa-Francorchamps. (Photo: Getty Images)

showed the way in P2 at . (Photo: Getty Images)

Sebastian Vettel posted the fastest time before his rear tire punctured in Friday’s second practice at the .

The three-time defending champion had to stop with about 20 minutes of the session remaining when his right rear tire popped and the loose rubber flapped around as he made his way back to the pits.

The German had earlier clocked 1 minute, 49.331 seconds, which was .059 quicker than teammate and .818 faster than Lotus driver Romain Grosjean. While it was not immediately clear what caused the puncture, it could be unwelcome news for Pirelli given the furor surrounding its fast-shredding tires throughout the season. With his session over, Vettel stood alongside officials in the garage as they studied the car’s data.

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Aug 22

Button Still Waiting On 2014 McLaren Contract

BUDAPEST, HUNGARY - JULY 26: Jenson Button of Great Britain and McLaren prepares to drive during practice for the Hungarian Formula One Grand Prix at Hungaroring on July 26, 2013 in Budapest, Hungary.

Photo Credit: Mark Thompson/Getty Images

made it clear Thursday that he does not have a contract with for 2014 – but insisted that he fully intends to stay on.

Button has an option to continue, but when asked about it he indicated that he didn’t know why there had yet to be confirmation that it will be taken up.

“I think I have a contract for next year, but I don’t think it’s got a signature on it yet,” Button said. “I really want to be here next year. You might think that’s strange after this season, but I think this season is good for us in a way. We’ll be a much stronger team this year. But as you say, you haven’t heard the confirmation of that yet from the team. I think you’ll have to wait for that.”

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Aug 22

Horner – We’re Still Deciding 2014 Driver Lineup

Christian Horner is the team boss at Red Bull Racing. (Photo: Getty Images)

is the team boss at Racing. (Photo: Getty Images)

Christian Horner insists that Red Bull still hasn’t made its mind up on a replacement for , despite strong suggestions in the paddock that Daniel Ricciardo will get the job.

Horner has always preferred the option of an experienced driver, while others in the camp want to promote a Red Bull protégé.

“We’ve always said we’re going to take the summer to consider what the options are,” Horner told BBC Radio. “We haven’t been short of options, and of course it’s a fundamental decision as to who will replace Mark, and it’s important we make the right decision. A decision will be made by the end of the European season.”

Regarding who might now be on that list, he said: “I’m not going to tell you that, am I? There are plenty of options. We’re in the fortunate position of where there are an awful lot of drivers who’d obviously like to drive a Red Bull car. We’ve also got two very talented youngsters in the junior team. We’ve had a good look at Daniel Ricciardo at a recent test, who did a very good job, but before we finalize it, we’re going to use the time prudently to make sure we make the right decision.”

Meanwhile, Horner was coy on the prospects for , despite the Finn’s management last week ruling him out of the RBR running.

“Kimi’s a great driver, and, for sure, he’s going to be in in one of the top teams next year. We just have to wait and see which one.”

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Aug 22

Ferrari Still In F1 Title Fight, Alonso Insists

Fernando Alonso drives his Ferrari. (Photo: Getty Images)

drives his . (Photo: Getty Images)

Fernando Alonso is adamant that Ferrari is still in the title fight, but stressed that everything will turn on the next few races.

Alonso has lost momentum in recent weeks, and the gap to leader has grown.

“The title will be decided by what the performance of the cars is in next four races, in my opinion,” Alonso said on Thursday at . “We have Spa, medium downforce, Monza, light downforce and Singapore, maximum downforce. These three circuits, with three completely different setups and configurations of the cars, will tell us which is the main contender for Vettel. He is the big favorite. Who will catch him or put him in some difficulties, we will see.

“After the form of Lewis (Hamilton) in Hungary, he at the moment can chase for the title. (Kimi) Raikkonen will always be there, because Lotus with the tire degradation that they have will always be a contender on Sundays. We hope and we believe that Ferrari will win that group. We work for that with some changes that we have made in the car for this race.

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