World news – UA – Hamilton aims for record 92nd win in F1 return to Portugal – France 24


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Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes look to continue their record progress as Formula 1 escapes in search of autumn sunshine at this weekend’s Portuguese Grand Prix at the Algarve International Circuit

Two weeks after shivering at the Nurburgring where the six-time champion equalized Michael Schumacher on 91 wins, the traveling circus is also hoping to avoid contact with the growing second wave of Covid-19 across Europe

Local organizers of the race, which marks Portugal’s return to the calendar for the first time in 24 years since Jacques Villeneuve’s moving victory at Estoril in 1996 and Portimao’s debut as an F1 racing circuit, said there would be 27,500 spectators to watch each day under strictly controlled conditions

Just over a week after Canadian Racing Point driver Lance Stroll was revealed to have tested positive for coronavirus after falling ill and missing the Eifel Grand Prix, there is a understandable concern to so many participants

The allure of seeing Hamilton win a record 92nd race and Mercedes win an unprecedented seventh Constructors’ Championship is a major draw, although the team’s triumph and celebrations are likely to be delayed for at least one week at the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix in Imola

Hamilton has a simple goal of securing their record-breaking victory, but Mercedes must beat Red Bull by 40 points, a feat that would require near-perfect performance and a flop from Max Verstappen

If Hamilton triumphs, he would be the second driver to win the record for most Grand Prix races in Portugal – with quadruple French champion Alain Prost topping Jackie Stewart’s total of 27 victories at Estoril in 1987

To be successful in a Mercedes team, Valtteri Bottas would also have to be at his best and have better fortune than in Germany where a power supply failure dampened his title hopes.

Team leader Toto Wolff, who this week dismissed suggestions he planned to plan his own F1 outfit, said Mercedes had identified a « failing electrical component » as the problem

Few of today’s F1 drivers have raced the hilly Portimao track other than some in junior formula races, but Hamilton has normally impressed with his ability to learn and shine on new circuits

Stroll’s likely return has been backed by his Racing Point boss Otmar Szafnauer as he, along with everyone in the squad, tested negative ahead of this weekend’s competition

« All of the Eifel Grand Prix team returned to the UK via a private charter flight and all tested negative on arrival and again in a pre-event test for the Portuguese Grand Prix « , said Szafnauer

Stroll became the second Racing Point driver to contract Covid-19 this year, with Sergio Perez missing both races at Silverstone in July

In a statement regarding participation, the Portuguese government said the circuit has a capacity of 90,000 people and fans will be seated with « safe spacing » in sectors of around 800

A team hoping a return to Portugal will bring a change of fortunes will likely be Williams who won four of the last five races held at Estoril, including 1996 when Villeneuve led teammate and world champion Damon Hill home in a famous -two

Williams, under new American ownership following the Williams family’s decision to sell, is pointless this season

Formula 1, Portuguese Grand Prix

News from around the world – UA – Hamilton aims for a record 92nd win in F1 return to Portugal – France 24



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