Maldonado expecting tricky German GP

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Pastor Maldonado is looking forward to next weekend’s German Grand Prix at the Hockenheimring, a track where he has impressed in the past, but has admitted that it could be a tough race for Lotus.

The Venezuelan driver won the GP2 feature race at the track in 2010, and keen on racing at one of his favorite circuits on the calendar.

“I’ve been quite quick there in the past – winning in GP2 – and it’s a fun circuit to drive so we’ll see how it goes,” Maldonado said. “I really like the people there; the fans are great and so many of them come to the race. There is a great atmosphere, particularly in the final few corners with the big grandstands.”

However, Maldonado did concede that it could be a difficult weekend for Lotus, although he was pleased with the engine update from Renault that he used at Silverstone earlier this week.

“There’s potential for it to be a tough weekend for us,” he conceded. “The surface is very smooth, there are some slower corners with strong traction demands out of them as well as several straights where you need as much power as possible.

“Certainly, the latest engine I used at the Silverstone test feels to be much stronger so that will be a benefit.”

Maldonado retired from the British Grand Prix on the penultimate lap of the race, but he has taken the positives out of the race.

“It was a similar story to other races in that we struggled for power so I wasn’t able to fight the cars around me,” he said. “I pushed as hard as I could but it was a difficult race and not what I wanted in front of the Enstone team and our fans.

“I’m disappointed to have not scored points but our car is showing that it can compete at different circuits.”

Hamilton: Abu Dhabi ‘the last race with good-looking cars’ in F1

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Lewis Hamilton believes that this weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will be remembered as the last race with good-looking Formula 1 cars ahead of the introduction of the ‘Halo’ cockpit protection for next year.

Officials from the FIA and F1 Strategy Group confirmed earlier this year that the Halo would be fitted to all cars from the 2018 season in a bid to improve safety standards, with the deaths of Justin Wilson and Jules Bianchi putting head protection high on the agenda for the series’ chiefs.

Hamilton has long made his opposition to the Halo clear, believing it will ruin the look of F1 cars, and echoed his thoughts ahead of the final Halo-less race in Abu Dhabi this weekend.

“It’s the last year of looking good I think in the cars. It’s the last race where the cars will look good,” Hamilton said.

“I think next year, it’s all downhill from there in terms of how they look.

“But safety will go up at least, and maybe it could be successful in some way.”

Hamilton’s F1 title rival Sebastian Vettel was less bothered about the change, believing the field will adjust and move on.

“The cars will look different next year. Everything I’ve seen so far looks different, but on the other hand it is something we all get used to,” Vettel said.

“But no doubt the cars look better now, but we’ll get used to it, and we’ll work on the aesthetics so it can be better. It is less of a big deal.”

Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo shared Vettel’s view, saying: “I don’t think it’s gonna be as dramatic as most people make it out to be.”