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Ferrari threat makes F1 battle ‘more exciting than ever’ for Hamilton

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Lewis Hamilton says the battle for supremacy in Formula 1 is “more exciting than ever” after enjoying a close fight with Ferrari rival Sebastian Vettel for pole position in qualifying for the Chinese Grand Prix.

Three-time champion Hamilton has led Mercedes’ dominance of F1 since the introduction of V6 turbo hybrids in 2014, with the German marque winning every title available in the past three seasons.

Hamilton spent much of the time fighting solely against teammate Nico Rosberg, with rival teams unable to pose a serious threat to Mercedes.

Following an overhaul of the technical regulations for 2017, Ferrari has emerged as a contender at the front of the pack once again, with Vettel beating Hamilton in a straight fight at the opening race of the year in Australia.

Hamilton and Vettel faced off once again for pole in China on Saturday, with the Briton emerging victorious by less than two-tenths of a second. It marked his sixth consecutive pole position, and was also his sixth in China.

“The Ferraris have looked so fast through practice this morning and each qualifying session so we knew it was going to be close, and it would mean we’d have to pull out all the stops and really have a perfect lap, a solid lap,” Hamilton said after qualifying.

“I managed to just chip away at it from session to session, no major issues. My last lap was my best lap which is always the play. Sometimes it’s in another session. The lap started off not as good as perhaps Q1’s first lap, but the rest of the lap got better and better. I think it may have been tire temperatures or something, who knows.

“[It] felt strong, and then obviously coming into the last corner knowing I’m up a couple of tenths, it’s always nervous coming into Turn 14 because you want to brake late and gain some, but you don’t want to lose everything you’ve gained, and do the last corner, coming across the line, and then just waiting after that to see what everyone else had done. These guys were behind still finishing off their laps.”

Hamilton gave his thanks to his Mercedes team, saying its efforts were more crucial than ever during the fight against Ferrari, something he relishes.

“Very, very happy, super grateful for the huge efforts the team have put in to keep us in the fight. It’s more exciting than ever for me because we’re really fighting these guys,” Hamilton said.

“It’s amazing, and I think that’s what racing is all about. It really pushes you to have to raise the bar every time you head out which I love.”

Andretti United team names drivers for inaugural Extreme E season

Extreme E drivers Andretti
Extreme E
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The Extreme E team formed by Andretti Autosport and United Autosports named Catie Munnings and Timmy Hansen as its drivers Monday for the series’ inaugural 2021 season.

Munnings is a successful veteran of rally series. Hansen is a past winner and champion in the World Rallycross Championship.

They both will race in the environmentally conscious electric SUV series that will hold events in five areas around the world that are threatened by climate change. Chip Ganassi Racing and six-time Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton also are fielding cars in Extreme E, which will feature male and female co-drivers on every team.

Catie Munnings

“I’m so excited to join Andretti United Extreme E,” Munnings said in a release. ““I was really intrigued when I first heard about Extreme E, I just knew I had to be involved. The male / female racing partnership is a fantastic and exciting new concept. The season has incredible locations and the racing will be very exciting. It will be a new challenge for the teams and drivers, and I’m so thrilled to be working with such a strong team.

“The championship is a really innovative concept, it’s combining motorsport and science and will produce an important legacy in each race location. Bringing the platform that motorsport has in line with the awareness that the planet needs right now is awesome and a really important message.”

Timmy Hansen

Said Hansen: “Going into the Extreme E will be a new chapter in my career, one that I am extremely excited about. It is something brand new, not only for me, but the whole of motorsport. The format is something

we’ve never seen before. I’m also delighted to be able to carry the message of something bigger – talking about the environment and doing something good for the world – that’s something that really drives me. It’s going to be a big adventure in life to see these locations and I’m going to do my best in carrying this responsibility and hopefully making people aware of the challenges we have in the world, together with our passion for racing.”