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Arjun Maini set for debut at LeMans



Arjun Maini will be the third Indian after Narain Karthikeyan and Karun Chandhok to take part at Le Mans.

New Delhi: Indian racer Arjun Maini will compete at the iconic 24 Hours of Le Mans this weekend.

Maini will compete in the LMP2 category, which has 19 other entries, for British team RLR Msport. The 21-year-old will share racing duties with gentleman driver John Ferraro and the experienced Frenchman Norman Nato.

The Bengaluru-based driver is racing in European Le Mans this season. The other Indians who have been part of a Le Mans weekend are Narain Karthikeyan and Karun Chandhok.

“Competing in one of motorsport’s biggest races is crazy! The atmosphere during testing alone was something special and I can hardly wait for the actual race weekend.

“The biggest challenge I will face is the fact that I will be in the car much longer than in any of my previous races and I hope to be as consistent as possible as this will be key is gaining a good result,” he said.

The 24 Hours of Le Mans is one of the biggest races in the year. With over a 150 drivers racing across various classes and a history that dates back to 1923, the race sees a footfall off over 250,000 people during the weekend.

Run on the historic Le Sarthe race circuit, which is known for its long back straight where cars can reach over 300 kmph, modern day competitors complete over 5000 kilometers during the 24-hour time period.


Hamilton rules Silverstone for sixth British GP win



Lewis Hamilton leads the drivers championship by a big margin.

London: Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton took victory in a superb Formula 1 British Grand Prix at Silverstone on Sunday, in a race which featured several multi-car battles and a mid-race collision between Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel and Max Verstappen of Red Bull.

Starting second behind teammate Valtteri Bottas, Hamilton benefited from a fortuitously-timed safety car period to leapfrog the Finn in the pit lane on his way to a record sixth win in the British Grand Prix.

“What a day! I love you, Silverstone! You think you’d get used to something like that, but it feels like the first time,” said Hamilton after a win that was his 80th in Formula 1.

The Briton appeared to have more grip than his teammate in the early stages of the race, and looked as if he had made it past the Finn at Luffield on lap 4, though Bottas countered strongly and retook the lead a few corners later at Copse.

At this stage it looked as if Bottas might have seized the initiative in the race, as Hamilton then dropped back from his teammate before electing to stay out longer when Bottas came in for his first pit stop on lap 17.

Though his team couldn’t have known it at the time, this decision ultimately proved a race-winning one, as a spin for Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi on lap 20 necessitated the introduction of the safety car, which slowed the pack up and allowed Hamilton to emerge from his pit stop ahead of Bottas and into a lead he was never to lose.

But while the Mercedes duo were embroiled in their own private battle at the front, behind them the Ferrari and Red Bull drivers thrilled the 150,000-strong Silverstone faithful with a titanic four-way scrap for more than half the race.

After having dueled for the lead of the Austrian Grand Prix a fortnight ago, Verstappen and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc reacquainted themselves with each other at Silverstone, drawing audible gasps from the crowd as they passed and repassed each other every which way in the first portion of the race.

Once the safety car had been withdrawn, Verstappen passed teammate Pierre Gasly to find himself in fourth place behind Vettel, but after having made a daring move around the outside of the German on lap 38, Vettel appeared to lock his front brakes and crashed into Verstappen.

Miraculously, both cars were able to continue, though a damaged front wing and a ten-second time penalty for Vettel dropped the Ferrari driver out of serious contention.

This incident promoted Leclerc into a fine third, after the Monegasque had made a brilliant move around the outside of Village on Gasly, who took fourth. Verstappen salvaged fifth place ahead of the McLaren of Carlos Sainz, who did well to come up from 13th on the grid.

Daniel Ricciardo finished seventh for Renault, ahead of Kimi Raikkonen’s Alfa Romeo, the Toro Rosso of Dany Kvyat, and Ricciardo’s teammate Nico Hulkenberg.

Hamilton’s win sees him extend his lead at the top of the drivers’ championship to 197 points, with Bottas second on 166 and Verstappen third with 126. In the constructors’ championship, Mercedes’ lead extends to 407 points, ahead of Ferrari on 243 and Red Bull on 191.

The next round of the 2019 Formula 1 season is the German Grand Prix at Hockenheim on July 28.

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Hamilton eyes victory in Austria as tribute to Niki Lauda




Lewis Hamilton is taking steady steps towards his sixth career world title, just one short of F1 legend Michael Schumacher's record.

Spielberg (Austria): Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton is looking to pay tribute to late three-time Formula One world champion Niki Lauda with a victory at the Austrian Grand Prix (GP) this weekend.

Hamilton is taking steady steps towards his sixth career world title, just one short of F1 legend Michael Schumacher’s record.

A win at the Red Bull Ring racing circuit in Austria could act as a fitting tribute to Lauda, who was born in Vienna in 1949 and whose photograph was present on the opening page of Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport’s website on Thursday.

The 34-year-old Briton drew level at the end of last season with Argentine great Juan Manuel Fangio on five world championships and helped Mercedes win its fifth consecutive constructors title.

Hamilton currently leads the standings with 187 points, 36 ahead of teammate Valtteri Bottas of Finland and 76 in front of Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel of Germany.

The 34-year-old took his 79th race victory this season at last Sunday’s French Grand Prix, leaving him only 12 wins away from equalling the all-time record of Schumacher, who has not been seen in public since December 2013 when he suffered a serious head injury in a skiing accident in the French Alps.

Mercedes, winner of the past five F1 constructors’ titles, has extended its lead over second-placed Ferrari by 140 points in the standings after winning all eight races this season.

If it wins in Austria, Mercedes will equal the all-time record of 11 successive victories set by McLaren in 1988.

Meanwhile, Vettel is hoping to end Ferrari’s 16-race winless streak on Sunday in Spielberg.

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Lewis Hamilton claims commanding win in French GP



Lewis Hamilton is the runaway leader in the drivers standings. Text: Formula One

Paris: Lewis Hamilton’s immense run of form continued on Sunday as the reigning world champion took a commanding lights-to-flag victory in the 2019 French Grand Prix, his sixth triumph in eight races this season.

The Mercedes driver built a rhythm through the weekend, culminating in a brilliant pole position on Saturday, which he converted with ease on Sunday afternoon at a scorching Circuit Paul Ricard, crossing the line 18 seconds clear of team mate Valtteri Bottas.

With his 200th career points finish, Hamilton extends his lead over the Finn to 36 points.

It was Mercedes’ eighth successive victory of 2019, and their sixth one-two, maintaining their unbeaten record.

Charles Leclerc completed the podium after a lonely race to third – though he did give Bottas a fright in the final two laps after benefitting from a late Virtual Safety Car to put the Mercedes driver under pressure.

Leclerc’s Ferrari team mate Sebastian Vettel could only recover two positions from a poor qualifying session to cross the line fifth but he did secure the fastest lap, and the bonus point that comes with it, on his final lap, having boxed the previous lap for softs.

Max Verstappen finished where he started in fourth, while Carlos Sainz finished an impressive sixth.

His McLaren team mate Lando Norris was set for seventh, but a late hydraulics issues meant he slipped into the clutches of Daniel Ricciardo, who forced his way through on the last lap.

Norris had to go off track and dropped behind Kimi Raikkonen and Nico Hulkenberg, limping across the line 10th.

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