Hamilton denies Ecclestone’s ‘Red Bull deal’ claim

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Lewis Hamilton denies Bernie Ecclestone’s claim he had a chance to join to join Sebastian Vettel at Red Bull this year.

According to Ecclestone talks were held at the British Grand Prix last year for Hamilton to replace Mark Webber at the team. But Red Bull owner Dietrich Mateschitz opted to give Webber, who won the race, first refusal on the drive.

Hamilton said he didn’t know what to make of Ecclestone’s claim: “I think he said something about me talking to Red Bull?”

“I said to my management team to speak to all the teams and give me what the best options were. There was no particular one that I was pushing for more.”

Ecclestone said Vettel would have no objections to sharing a team with a driver of Hamilton’s caliber: “Sebastian wouldn’t have cared if Lewis had signed for the team.”

It’s the second time in five days Hamilton has distanced himself from remarks made by Ecclestone.

Heading into the Malaysian Grand Prix Ecclestone claimed that Hamilton would rather have taken a year’s sabbatical from racing than spend another season at McLaren.

“I don’t think I would leave this sport unless I didn’t have a good feeling about it, or a smile and an energy when I got in the car. I love racing, so there is no need to stop,” was Hamilton’s response to that suggestion.

However he did add: “I think Bernie has a better memory than me.”

Social roundup: Racing world largely outraged by Verstappen penalty

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The discussion over Max Verstappen’s post-race five-second time penalty assessed in Sunday’s United States Grand Prix, issued when he tried to the inside of Kimi Raikkonen at the Turns 16, 17 and 18 carousel complex at Circuit of The Americas, will roll on far beyond today.

The debate today largely centered over consistency in adjudication and application of the rules, track limits themselves (always a sore subject at COTA given its wide runoff areas) or whether there should be permanent stewards.

In the immediate aftermath, though, Twitter lit up with outrage over Verstappen being assessed a five-second post-race time penalty.

Here’s a mere sampling of the reaction, below.