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Hamilton: Mercedes meeting ‘doesn’t really change anything’ with Rosberg

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Lewis Hamilton believes that the statement issued following Mercedes’ meeting concerning his on-track battles with teammate Nico Rosberg “doesn’t really change anything” in terms of defining his own destiny in races.

Hamilton and Rosberg clashed on the final lap of last weekend’s Austrian Grand Prix, prompting Mercedes Formula 1 chief Toto Wolff to suggest that team orders may be used in the future to prevent a repeat.

Following meetings involving Hamilton, Rosberg, Wolff and technical team boss Paddy Lowe on Thursday, Mercedes issued a statement confirming that its drivers remained free to race.

However, Mercedes confirmed it has “strengthened our rules of engagement to include much greater deterrents to contact between our cars.

“With these in place, we will trust our drivers to manage the situation between them on track. Their destiny is in their own hands.”

Speaking in Thursday’s FIA press conference ahead of the British Grand Prix, Hamilton said that he does not feel anything has changed in that regard.

“In all honesty, I think our destiny has always been in our hands,” Hamilton said.

“It doesn’t really change anything. We’re still able to race which is a positive.

“No team orders, which I think is great for the fans, so I think everyone should be excited.”

When asked about the deterrents Mercedes cited in its statement and whether they were scary, Hamilton replied: “I guess I should say yes…”

Hamilton was asked if moves such as those he pulled on Rosberg in last year’s Japanese Grand Prix and the United States Grand Prix in Austin – in both he forced Rosberg wide – would still be allowed.

“Everything that’s been said is private and confidential,” Hamilton replied.

“But we’re still able to race. Obviously in all of those races, the stewards deemed me racing, so I will still race like that.”

Hamilton was also asked about the incident with Rosberg at the 2014 Hungarian Grand Prix and whether he would go against team orders to stay ahead on-track. Hamilton was asked to let Rosberg through, but said he would only do so if he got close enough behind.

“Oh buddy… You’re feeling a certain way,” Hamilton replied.

“You’ve got to let it go buddy, that’s a couple of years ago.

“I would [move aside]. It’s my job. It’s what I’m paid to do. It’s what’s in our agreement.

“If you go back to 2014 and understand our [radio] transcript, I didn’t say no. I said I wouldn’t get in the way.”

Toyota No. 8 car wins the 24 Hours of Le Mans for third consecutive year

24 Hours of Le Mans

LE MANS, France — Toyota Gazoo’s No. 8 car comfortably won the 24 Hours of Le Mans by five laps Sunday to secure a third straight victory in the prestigious endurance race.

It was also a third consecutive win for Swiss driver Sebastien Buemi and Japan’s Kazuki Nakajima driving. Brendon Hartley was the other driver, having replaced two-time Formula One champion Fernando Alonso.

Buemi and Hartley sat on the side of the car as Nakajima drove toward the podium. Hartley won for a second time after tasting success with the Porsche LMP Team in 2017 before an unhappy season in Formula One.

The Swiss team’s Rebellion No. 1 featured American driver Gustavo Menezes and Brazilian Bruno Senna – the nephew of late F1 great Ayrton Senna.

It finished one lap ahead of Toyota Gazoo’s No. 7, with Rebellion’s No. 3 finishing in fourth place.

For much of the race it looked like Toyota’s No. 7 would win after leading comfortably from pole position. But late into the night the car encountered an engine problem and the 30-minute stop in the stands proved costly.

The race was first held in 1923. A total of 252,500 spectators attended in 2019, but there were none this year when the race started three months late because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“We miss the fans,” New Zealander Hartley said. “I look forward to seeing all the fans again.”

In other divisions:

United Autosports won the LMP2 division with the entry of Filipe Albuquerque, Paul Di Resta and Phil Hanson.

–In LMGTE Pro, the victory was claimed by Aston Martin Vantage AMR of Maxime Martin, Alex Lynn and Harry Tincknell (who drives for Mazda in the DPi division of IMSA).

–TF Sport won the LMGTE Am class.

The Toyota No. 7 took pole after former F1 driver Kamui Kobayashi narrowly edged out the Rebellion No. 1 team in qualifying.

In damp and humid conditions Mike Conway got away cleanly from the start, while Senna held off Buemi.

After nearly seven hours, Toyota’s No. 8 fell back after a 10-minute stop in the stands to fix a brake-cooling problem on Kazuki Nakajima’s car. Rebellion’s No. 1, driven by Frenchman Norman Nato, took advantage to move into second place behind Toyota’s No. 7.

Then came the decisive moment at 2:40 a.m. as the No. 7 – also featuring Argentine Jose Maria Lopez – encountered a turbo problem. When the car came back out it was back in fourth.

“We had a few problems early in the race,” Nakajima said. “Later they had a bigger issue than us.”

Rebellion’s No. 1 encountered a problem on the hood at around 9 a.m. and the change took six minutes, allowing the Rebellion No. 3 (Nathanael Berthon-Louis Deletraz-Romain Dumas) to close the gap.

It was becoming a tight battle between the two Rebellion cars behind Toyota’s No. 8.

At 12 p.m. Rebellion No. 3 with Dumas behind the wheel was only one second ahead of No. 1 driven by Menezes. Then both cars came in for a driver change with Deletraz swapping for Dumas on a lengthy stop, and Nato for Menezes as Rebellion No. 1 suddenly moved ahead of its team rival.

Dumas, a winner in 2016 with Porsche, appeared unhappy at the strategy decision to bring his car in first and the length of the stop. There were tense explanations in the team garage.

Colombian Tatiana Calderon, an F1 test driver with Alfa Romeo, was in the Richard Mille Racing Team in the LMP2 category. She was joined by German Sophia Florsch – an F3 driver – and Dutchwoman Beitske Visser. They placed ninth out of 24 in their category.