Hamilton late after oversleeping, but soon resumes normal service

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When Lewis Hamilton scampered into the paddock on Thursday morning, he was graced with a number of puzzled faces and quizzical looks that said “aren’t you meant to be in the car?”.

Indeed, he was. Just as the green light went on to start the first practice session in Monaco, Hamilton was arriving by speedboat at the circuit. Very James Bond.

Turns out he had overslept. Not so James Bond.

After failing to find his pass (again), he eventually found a way into the paddock, and quickly suited up to begin his session. Come the end of FP1, he was at the very top of the timesheets ahead of teammate Nico Rosberg, and was very pleased with his performance.

“The car is still a work in progress but it felt really good out there today,” Hamilton explained. “I had a good first session and was then really pleased to get those last few laps in the dry this afternoon which was a big plus.

“I’m feeling pretty set for Saturday, there is still some work to do but we have tomorrow to look into that and finish all our preparations for the weekend.”

Hamilton is chasing his fifth straight win this weekend, but he has not reached the podium in Monaco since winning the race back in 2008. Nevertheless, he feels that he could break this barren spell thanks to the speed of the W05 car.

“I just love racing here,” he said. “This track is one of the coolest ever, and it was great to see all of the fans here already enjoying themselves. It’s such a classic race, and I’ve been trying to win here again since 2008, so I’m hoping this is the year as we have such a great car.”

If Lewis is to make it five in a row, a good qualifying performance on Saturday will be crucial given that overtaking comes at a premium in Monaco.

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.