Grosjean expecting strong second half of season

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Romain Grosjean is keen on putting an indifferent first half of the season behind him as Formula One returns from its summer break at Belgium next weekend. The French driver is confident that Lotus will not only be strong at Spa-Francorchamps, but also for the rest of the season with the remaining nine circuits suiting the E21 car.

Speaking about Spa in the team’s race preview, Grosjean said: “It should fit our car pretty well. In fact, the second half of the season looks good overall in terms of how the tracks should suit the E21. Hopefully we’ll have everything we need to win races.”

Grosjean has fond memories of Spa, despite receiving a one-race ban for causing an accident at the start of last year’s Belgian Grand Prix.

“I’m looking forward to it as it’s a special track and I also won the GP2 Series title there in 2011, so it’ll be good for me to be back there again.

“If we have the pace we displayed in Budapest at a more normal circuit with better overtaking opportunities – and a bit wider track too – then I think good things could well be possible.”

The team is expected to use its passive DRS device in Belgium that should give Grosjean and teammate Kimi Raikkonen a straight-line speed advantage at one of the fastest tracks on the calendar.

Lewis Hamilton comes home to Mercedes factory after fourth title

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On Monday, the Formula 1 schedule finally allowed teams to be in Europe before heading to Abu Dhabi for this weekend’s season finale.

And as such, that provided a window for now four-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton to return to the Mercedes AMG Petronas factories in Brackley and Brixworth to be celebrated for taking the driver’s title, as Hamilton an Valtteri Bottas delivered Mercedes its fourth straight constructor’s title.

Hamilton was at Brixworth, the home ofΒ Mercedes-AMG High Performance Powertrains (HPP) and its highly successful Mercedes-Benz Power Units first before heading to Brackley, where he was welcomed with a “guard of honor” as the entire team came out to greet him.

The champion was overwhelmed at the response and the welcome.

“This a very emotional day. I was not expecting this, thanks everyone for the warm welcome,” he said. “Today is something that I will never forget, turning up at the front gate of the factory and seeing everyone out on the street to welcome me – I’m blown away.

“This has been an incredible year, it’s been an incredible journey together. There’s a huge amount of respect and appreciation I have for everyone. I’ve been in the sport for a long time now, but to see the work ethic in Brixworth and Brackley really inspires me. Every time I come around, I see everyone operating at 100%, which encourages me to bring my best performance.

“Thank you all for helping me achieve my dreams, it would not have been possible without you. This is the best championship year, because we’ve been fighting another team and because we’ve had the difficulties and challenges we’ve had – that just makes it so much greater.”

A social roundup of images and videos are below, all via Hamilton and the Mercedes team on social media.