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Lewis Hamilton says he’s not distracted by ‘Paradise Papers’

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SAO PAULO (AP) Being linked to tax avoidance in the “Paradise Papers” will not distract Lewis Hamilton from his job.

The four-time Formula One champion said Wednesday that his “core values” are intact despite being named in the papers, which show he avoided paying more than $4 million in taxes for a private jet.

Hamilton, who won his fourth F1 title on Oct. 29 in Mexico, is in Sao Paulo for this weekend’s Brazilian Grand Prix.

“I’ve come from this great period of time with my family and friends that have this huge wave of positivity. Nothing can really dent that,” the Mercedes driver said. “I am solely focused on the race this weekend, and we have two races to go. That doesn’t distract me from my core values and what I am here to do.”

Hamilton’s lawyers noted in a statement that registering a jet in the tax haven of the Isle of Man is legal.

The “Paradise Papers” revealed that Hamilton was given refund of more than $4 million after his Bombardier Challenger 605 was imported to the Isle of Man in 2013.

The papers also name several leading figures in politics, business and art.

At 32, Hamilton is closing in on Michael Schumacher’s record of seven F1 titles. But he said wasn’t interested in chasing that mark.

“It has never been my desire,” Hamilton said. “I still have time ahead of me. The question is to see exactly what I want. I never had the dream to chase Michael.”

After the news conference, Hamilton autographed a miniature Mercedes with boyhood idol Ayrton Senna painted on it.

Vivianne Senna, sister of the late three-time F1 champion, said she and the family will cheer for Hamilton on Sunday.

“We can see your passion for Ayrton is real,” she said. “That is why we from the Senna family will be always on your side, too.”

Eriksson snatches Macau Formula 3 pole from Norris

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Joel Eriksson snatched pole position for Saturday’s qualifying race ahead of the Macau Grand Prix after a thrilling fight with McLaren youngster Lando Norris and Ferrari junior Callum Ilott.

Norris headed into the second stage of qualifying on provisional pole after lapping almost a second faster than any other driver in Thursday’s first opening session, and remained in contention early in Q2.

Norris was the first driver to dip into the 2:10s with a time of 2:10.744, only for Eriksson to go 0.024 seconds faster minutes later and snatch pole away.

Despite a later effort to try and reclaim pole, Norris was unable to improve his time, and opted to remain in the pits for the final five minutes of the session after using up his allocated tires.

Ilott was the final driver to put in a serious bid for pole position, falling 0.09 seconds short with his final qualifying lap to sit third on the grid for the qualifying race.

Maximilian Gunther claimed fourth place for Prema Powerteam ahead of Ferdinand Habsburg and Dan Ticktum, with Mick Schumacher taking P7.

Yuhi Sekiguchi wound up eighth despite a late crash that brought out a red flag, while Sergio Sette Camara and Guanyu Zhou completed the top 10 positions in qualifying.

Saturday’s qualifying race will help form the grid for Sunday’s main event, the 64th Macau Grand Prix.