Hamilton re-affirms ‘100 percent faith’ in Mercedes after Malaysia retirement

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Lewis Hamilton says he has “100 per cent faith” in his Mercedes team after being forced to retire from Sunday’s Malaysian Grand Prix with an engine failure.

Hamilton arrived in Malaysia trailing Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg in the Formula 1 drivers’ championship by eight points, but looked poised to reclaim the lead when enjoying a 20-second buffer over the field at Sepang.

Hamilton’s hopes were ended when his engine failed at the beginning of lap 40, catching fire and forcing the Briton to retire.

After the race, Hamilton expressed his dismay at suffering yet another engine issue in 2016, having previously been affected in China and Russia.

“It definitely is tough to see all those points disappear when you’ve worked so hard to get them,” Hamilton told NBCSN.

“It’s a very odd feeling right now and be positive and say everything’s great. I’m the only one with Mercedes engines that have been failing this year out of all the engines, which doesn’t sit right with me.”

Hamilton later took to Facebook to post a message to his fans, expressing his support and faith in the Mercedes team.

“Today, the pain is indescribable, but I truly believe God never gives you more than you can handle,” Hamilton wrote.

“I want to say a huge thank you to the fans who stood on their feet in the blazing hot sun, or from their sofas at home, watching and supporting me this weekend. I’m so grateful.

“I have 100% faith in my team, they have worked so hard both at the track, and factory, and I want to say a HUGE thank you to them. I know we’ve had all these problems but it’s not how we fall, it’s how we get up.

“It’s not how we are in moments of comfort than define us, but how we are in the face of adversity. We are champions and that’s how we will move forward.

“I will, we will, NEVER give up!”

Hamilton heads to the next race in Japan trailing Rosberg by 23 points in the drivers’ championship.

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

24 Hours of Le Mans
JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIER/AFP via Getty Images
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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.