Jos doesn’t see a repeat of Hamilton, father split

Jos Verstappen is confident his relationship with his son Max won’t deteriorate over time, saying he does not think they will go down the same road as Lewis Hamilton and his father Anthony.

Former F1 driver Jos has played a crucial role in his son’s meteoric rise and he remains an ever-present figure in the Red Bull garage at race weekends.

There are a lot of similarities between the Verstappens’ relationship and that of the Hamiltons during Lewis’ first few years in Formula 1 with Anthony acting as his son’s manager.

However, when Lewis decided to split from his father in 2010 by signing with a management company, it affected their personal relationship.

The Hamiltons have made up, but Jos doesn’t think his relationship with Max will ever hit that point.

“I think we will not come to that point that he thinks that way, because I really leave him, I let him do his own things,” Verstappen Sr told F1’s ‘Beyond the Grid’ podcast.

“But I always have my ears open and things like that.

“And also I’m not there to only do the complaining; ‘Oh Max, you shouldn’t do that…’ no. I also tell him what is good.

“We also have Raymond [Vermuelen, Max’s manager] in place, he speaks with him. We have a very good relationship also in private.”

Verstappen Jr’s long-term future is yet to be decided and he has made no secret of the fact that he not only wants to challenge for regular race wins, but also the Drivers’ Championship.

Jos says the fact that they are clear about their goals makes life easier.

He added: “It’s very good, we never have issues. And I think also it’s because we’re straightforward. We say what we think. With Helmut [Marko] and us there is never an issue.

“He also feels that we understand what we’re doing. If the driver does well it makes your life a little bit easier with Helmut. He’s also here to win; he’s not here to finish second.”

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Ocon: Year out has made me a better driver

No Formula 1 driver wants to spend a year on the sidelines, but Esteban Ocon believes the knowledge and experience he gained while out has turned him into a “better package” and made him “more hungry”.

After spending two seasons at Force India/Racing Point, the Frenchman lost his race seat to Lance Stroll.

He then looked set for a move to Renault, but that deal collapsed at the last minute and he ended up taking the role of Mercedes reserve driver.

However, patience was a virtue as he will be back on the grid in 2020 as he has signed a multi-year deal with Renault.

Asked by Autosport.com what he gained as a reserve driver, the 23-year-old replied: “A lot of things.

“I didn’t drive as much as I would have liked to. Back in those days you could test the cars and drive millions of kilometres before getting back in it.

“I’ve done that in the simulator. I did test all the parts that the team put on the weekend.

“So I am aware of all the latest news of the current generation of cars. I think that’s a positive thing.

“On the other side not being driving I could also learn the other part of the world of F1, which is more experience, more knowledge for me and more things learned for the future.

“Seeing what the team expect from a driver, some things you cannot think about when you are racing. Because you don’t hear the people speaking internally and all that.

“As Toto [Wolff] always says, the more things you see and the more knowledge you have for the future, the more experience that makes in the end.

“And that makes you a better athlete, also a better driver in the end, a better package.”

Spending time outside the cockpit also means he has renewed hunger ahead of the 2020 campaign.

“This year has been tough mentally and on the emotion side as well, seeing those guys go so well and me being on the sideline,” he added.

“It’s not something that’s particularly great.

“But I think it can only make you stronger and more keen to come back, and I’m more hungry for when I come back.”

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Correa remains in an induced coma

There has been a slight improvement in Juan Manuel Correa’s condition as his “lungs have gradually recovered”, but he remains in an induced coma.

The Formula 2 driver suffered fractures to both of his legs and a minor spinal injury during a horror crash that killed Anthoine Hubert at Spa on August 31.

The 20-year-old has spent the past few weeks in Intensive Care in a hospital in the United Kingdom and there has been some positive news with regards to his lungs, but they are still not strong enough to withstand surgery.

“Juan Manuel remains in the Intensive Care Unit in a state of induced coma. Although his lungs have gradually recovered, his respiratory functions continue to be assisted by ECMO and a breathing ventilator,” a statement said.

“Juan Manuel’s leg injuries remain an important concern and will undergo immediate surgery once his lungs are strong enough to withstand the procedure.”

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Third DRS zone added to Singapore GP circuit

Drivers will have three opportunities to use DRS at the Singapore Grand Prix this weekend after the FIA added another zone to the Marina Bay Street Circuit.

It is notoriously difficult to overtake on the road circuit and the FIA has given drivers another helping hand in an attempt to liven up the on-track action.

The new DRS detection point will start just after Turn 12 with the activation zone on the exit at Turn 13.

The first Drag Reduction System zone on the track comes on the long straight just after the Turn 5 exit while the final opportunity to use DRS is on the start/finish straight with the DRS detection point situated after Turn 21.

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Binotto: Ferrari boss role ‘more enjoyable than expected’

Life as Ferrari team principal is never easy, but Mattia Binotto says the first few months of his tenure have been “more enjoyable than expected”.

Binotto was chosen as the man to take the Scuderia forward at the start of the year as he replaced Maurizio Arrivabene, who spent four years at the helm.

However, it wasn’t the easiest of starts to life as team boss as Ferrari struggled to match Mercedes with the German manufacturer winning nine of the first 10 races.

But despite the early season struggles, Binotto “enjoyed” life in the fast line.

“I would say it is more enjoyable than what I was expecting, rather than difficult,” he told the official Formula 1 website.

“The reason why it is enjoyable is because I think we have got a great team and a great team spirit and that is somehow giving to the team principal the right confidence and boost – and again our tifosi.”

Charles Leclerc came closest to winning for Ferrari during the opening races, but an engine failure at the Bahrain Grand Prix saw his hopes disappear.

Ferrari and Leclerc had to wait until after the summer break before it finally clicked as the Monegasque driver won at Spa and followed it up with victory in front of their home fans at Monza.

Binotto added: “The first part of the season has been difficult and somehow to manage the situation is never easy.

“It’s true with the fans, with the media and it’s true within the team. But somehow that will make us even stronger in the future by making sure that we have been able and capable of managing the start of this season.”

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Hamilton: Hubert death ‘hit depths of my soul’

Two weeks after Anthoine Hubert tragically lost his life, Lewis Hamilton has revealed that the Frenchman’s death “hit me in the depths of my soul”, adding that people sometimes forget that motorsport remains a “dangerous sport”.

F2 driver Hubert died after he was involved in a high-speed collision with Juan Manuel Correa in Belgium. Correa remains in hospital with the last update from his family saying his condition has “improved slightly”.

After the crash, Hamilton took to social media to pay tribute to the 22-year-old Hubert.

He wrote: “All these drivers put their life on the line when they hit the track and people need to appreciate that in a serious way because it is not appreciated enough. Not from the fans nor some of the people actually working in the sport.”

The five-time World Champion again took time out during a media session to highlight the dangers of the sport.

“That’s why I posted the things [on social media], because it’s not impossible,” he told Motorsport.com. “I’ve experienced that [before].

“Obviously we had that in Japan [with Jules Bianchi in 2014], we had that experience, but then I had another 11-year-old [Daniel Spence] die on the race weekend [during karting in 1994], when I was racing as a kid. So I’d experienced it before. And for a driver it really hits you hard.

“I don’t know how it was for the other drivers, but for me, ‘woah’, it hit me in the depths of my soul. It was really hard. For the rest of that day and then the evening, I couldn’t go to sleep, I just couldn’t believe what had happened that day.

“I guess your mind is just working overtime, trying to get used to the reality of what has happened. And also to the fact that, look, we lost Charlie [Whiting] this year and Formula 1 just continues on, we lost Niki [Lauda] and the world just goes on. It’s sad, I think, that that’s how life is.”

Asked to elaborate on those views, he reiterated that while motorsport is slightly “safer”, there is always a “potential possibility”.

“I think that’s just in general in the world,” he continued.

“I think you go to a sporting event, which is such a great great event, but people turn up for the fun weekend. Some of them may not have even contemplated the fact that it’s a dangerous sport, these guys could have an incident like that – because it doesn’t happen so often.

“Back in the day, when it was happening all the time, it was ‘ah, these guys are superheroes, it happens all the time, he dodged death!’. But whilst we are in a safer period of time in the sport, it is still there, still a potential possibility.

“I think just in life, as humans, I think we take lots of things for granted. All of us do. Even I do. It’s just the way we are tuned.

“I arrive to my engineers and it’s just a part of our weekend. We go through our cycle, I get in and I come out tired, it’s just the norm. And if I get in, I crash, and I get hurt, it’s ‘oh my god’. All of a sudden it’s a shock. I’m conscious of when I get in, that my days are numbered, you know?”

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Vettel, Ferrari not surprised by Leclerc’s rise

The outside world might be surprised by Charles Leclerc’s performances this season, but Sebastian Vettel says Ferrari knew he had the potential.

Leclerc has taken to life at the Scuderia like a duck to water as he has often out-performed his more established team-mate Vettel during his debut season with the Italian outfit.

The Monegasque driver won his maiden F1 race at the Belgian Grand Prix and then followed it up with Ferrari’s first win on home soil at Monza since 2009.

The back-to-back wins have seen him move ahead of Vettel in the Drivers’ standings and put the German under a bit more pressure.

Vettel, though, says Leclerc’s potential was clear to see since his academy days.

“I think it is positive that he has surprised people outside but inside he has been with the Ferrari driver academy for a while,” he is quoted as saying by Crash.net.

“It was clear to see that he had a lot of potential and he had a very strong rookie season with Alfa so I think it is good to see that he was right on the pace straightaway.

“From a team point of view I think it is important that we work together not against each other, that seems to work so that is important otherwise it would be a waste of energy. Those are key.

“It was a big weekend for him [in Belgium] even though it was overshadowed by the circumstances and the passing of Anthoine [Hubert].”

Leclerc’s victories at Spa and Monza have helped Ferrari to open a handy gap between themselves and third-placed Red Bull in the standings, but both teams are still well adrift of first-placed Mercedes.

For now, Vettel just wants both drivers to “push in the right direction” with the hope that “one day” they can battle it out for top honours.

“We are trying to work together to push the team as our car is not where we want it to be,” he said. “We don’t have the car or ability to win every race so that is our objective so it serves both of us if we push in the right direction.

“I believe one day we will have that car and then we can fight it out.”

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