Vettel and Ricciardo both looking for areas to improve

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Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo have both come away from the first two practice sessions for the Canadian Grand Prix feeling that there is more to come from Red Bull.

Vettel finished fourth in FP1 and third in FP2, but his lap time in the second session was limited due to a gearbox problem. The German driver was pleased to rank so highly on the timesheets, although he feels that the gap to Mercedes is still ominous.

“It was a bit of a shame to lose some laps,” he said. “We had something with the gearbox, but fortunately we got it checked and went out again. It meant that we were maybe a bit off the rhythm compared to some of the others, but it seemed to be alright and we still got some good laps completed.

“I think there’s still a lot if improvement we can do, the Mercedes is very quick, but it was okay as a start to the weekend.”

His lap times during his long run were just a few tenths shy of Nico Rosberg’s efforts in the Mercedes, but teammate Daniel Ricciardo was less fortunate. He finished FP2 down in 12th place, some 1.5 seconds down on Hamilton at the top.

“The driving was good today, but looking at the time sheets we’ve got some work to do,” he admitted. “We got some good references to go by and we need to put some work in tonight.

“I enjoy driving around here and there are a lot of fans in the grandstands. It seems that we’re close to some of the other teams, so we’ve just got to extract as much from the cars as we can over the weekend.”

Ricciardo’s pace during the long run was not quite on a par with Vettel’s, and he may face an uphill struggle to extend his podium streak to three races in Canada.

Despite their struggles, both of the Red Bull drivers appear to be well-placed for this weekend’s race, and a top three finish for the defending world champions is certainly on the table.

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 of 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.