Coulthard backs Hamilton to adapt quickly

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Former Formula One driver David Coulthard has backed Britain’s Lewis Hamilton to adapt quickly to the regulation changes next season, and even go on to win the drivers’ championship should Mercedes provide him with the right car.

Hamilton left McLaren – Coulthard’s old team – at the end of 2012 in a move that many believed would not work out. However, he had the last laugh as he won one race with Mercedes and scored a string of podium finishes whilst McLaren struggled with a troublesome car. Now, Coulthard is backing the Briton to fare even better in 2014.

“Lewis Hamilton is a world-class driver and I have seen nothing to suggest that he is incapable of adapting,” he explained to The Daily Telegraph. “His win in Hungary proved that he could work the tires, drive quickly and sensibly, and claim wins in this formula.”

Coulthard was also quick to praise Hamilton’s teammate, Nico Rosberg, but the one-time world championship runner-up believes that he would not be able to beat the Briton across the course of a season.

“Rosberg has proved a handful for him – perhaps more than many people expected – and the German enjoys the mental challenge of this new style of racing. But I am sure that if Mercedes give Lewis a car with which he is comfortable, he can win his second title.”

Hamilton has appeared at ease within the Mercedes setup, and the team is widely thought to have extensively planned for the regulation changes next season in a move that could give the Silver Arrows an edge over Red Bull in 2014.

Williams confirms Kubica and Sirotkin for Abu Dhabi F1 test

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Williams has confirmed that Robert Kubica will enjoy his third Formula 1 test outing with the team at the end-of-season running in Abu Dhabi next week as rumors grow regarding a possible race seat for 2018.

Almost seven years after his last F1 start, Kubica’s remarkable return from severe injuries sustained in a rally accident saw him enjoy two private tests with Renault before completing running with the team in a 2017-spec car in Hungary over the summer.

Reservations over Kubica’s capabilities prompted Renault to pass on giving him a seat, instead opting to hire Carlos Sainz Jr. for next year, only for Williams to become an alternative for the Pole.

Kubica tested a 2014-spec Williams at both Silverstone and the Hungaroring in recent months, and will now sample a 2017 car when he tests at Abu Dhabi’s Yas Marina Circuit next Tuesday and Wednesday.

Kubica will share track time with regular Williams racer Lance Stroll and Russian youngster Sergey Sirotkin, who has worked with Renault over the past two years but also missed out on a 2018 seat.

“Williams Martini Racing is pleased to confirm it will run Robert Kubica and Sergey Sirotkin for the Abu Dhabi Pirelli tire test, alongside current race driver Lance Stroll,” a statement from the team reads.

“The Pirelli tire test will take place over two days at the Yas Marina circuit during the week following the 2017 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

“On day one Robert Kubica will drive the FW40 in the morning session, before Lance Stroll takes over in the afternoon.

“On day two Sergey Sirotkin will drive in the morning and afternoon sessions before handing over to Robert in the late afternoon.

“The test is aimed at evaluating 2018 candidate tires on behalf of the Formula 1 tire supplier Pirelli.

“Williams is excited to have this opportunity to assess the new tyres across such an interesting range of drivers: Lance, as confirmed race driver for 2018, Robert with his huge experience, and Sergey as a very promising young talent in Formula 1.”

Williams denied earlier this week it has signed Kubica to partner Stroll for 2018, but indications are the deal looks very likely to go ahead, subject to the relevant paperwork and contracts being finalized.