Heavy rain and thunderstorms forecast for Malaysian GP

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The Malaysian Grand Prix is renowned for its hot and humid conditions as well as the occasional rain shower due to the race being held in monsoon season. Following the delays caused by the weather in Australia last weekend, the weather forecast is bleak for teams keen on dry running.

Free Practice 1 on Friday is expected to be hit by heavy rain, which may lead to the teams opting to stay in their garages and hoping for an improvement in conditions. Although the rain will reduce in intensity for the second practice session a few hours later, showers will persist.

Similar conditions are forecast for FP3 and qualifying on Saturday, but as rain is so common in Sepang, the marshals should be able to ensure that qualifying goes ahead as normal to avoid a delay like last weekend.

On Sunday, the rain will subside throughout the day, but thunderstorms are forecast to hit Sepang during the race.

The Malaysian Grand Prix was hit by rain in 2012, causing a red flag delay until conditions improved. Once the race restarted, Fernando Alonso excelled in the wet conditions to take the win ahead of a charging Sergio Perez. In 2009, the race was red flagged after 31 laps, with the red flag delay becoming permanent, resulting in half points being awarded and Jenson Button being declared the winner. This is a situation the teams and fans will be keen on avoiding this weekend.

‘No desire’ for Lewis Hamilton to race in Indianapolis 500

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Lewis Hamilton has ruled out a future appearance in the Indianapolis 500, saying he has “no real plans” to do any serious racing once his time in Formula 1 is over.

Former teammate and current McLaren driver Fernando Alonso took part in the 101st running of the Indy 500 in May, qualifying fifth and running high up the order before retiring late on with an engine issue.

The F1-to-IndyCar crossover proved to be one of the biggest motorsport stories of the year, and has stirred the imagination of other drivers to make a similar step into other events in the future, including the 24 Hours of Le Mans which is known to be on Alonso’s radar as well as that of Haas racer Romain Grosjean.

Three-time F1 world champion Hamilton admired 2017 Indy 500 winner Takuma Sato’s victory ring when on the podium at the Japanese Grand Prix earlier this month, trying it on and joking it may spur him to enter the race to try and win the jewelry.

Speaking ahead of this weekend’s United States Grand Prix in Austin, Texas, Hamilton stressed he made the comment in jest, saying he holds not interest in entering the ‘500.

“Honestly it hasn’t inspired me to do the Indy 500,” Hamilton said.

“I’ve always respected it and appreciated it. I got to watch part of it when Fernando did it which I thought was super exciting. I love the idea of drivers being able to do more than one series.

“Just the other day I got to drive an F1 car on an oval circuit which was interesting. I have a huge amount of respect for those drivers as it is quite scary approaching those banks at the speeds that they do.

“I personally don’t have a desire to drive it. Maybe one day I will go out and have some fun.

“I have a lot of opportunities to do those kinds of things, but no real plans to do anything serious.”

Hamilton has previously said he would like to try a NASCAR race for fun one day, but has made clear his plan after his F1 career is over is to distance himself from racing in order to pursue other interests.