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‘F1 Live’ London event to feature car demo, education, music

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Ahead of this week’s British Grand Prix, Formula 1 is taking to the heart of London first for a new “F1 Live” event that features a mix of drivers, education and live music.

New F1 owners Liberty Media have sought greater fan engagement as part of its longer term strategy and such an event like this, to be held in Trafalgar Square with a car parade in Whitehall, seems to match those goals.

It will be the first time all 10 teams will have a car in action at a demo event outside a race weekend, which at Silverstone is a rare four-day affair anyway with some F2 and GP3 action shifted to Thursday.

Alas, the F1 Schools and Innovation Showcase will run from noon to 4 p.m. before the F1 Live London Show and Parade from 5:30 to 9 p.m. F1 will stream the event both on its website and its YouTube page.

The Schools and Innovation Showcase is designed to help children, young adults, teachers and parents learn about F1 careers and opportunities in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM). These type of events are common in the U.S. as a couple manufacturers in sports cars and occasionally drivers in IndyCar have helped to teach the next generation about these skills, but not so much in F1.

That’s the precursor before the F1 Live London Show and Parade, with both show cars and live action to take place along with live music.

“F1 Live London is the most striking example yet of Formula 1’s evolution this year,” Sean Bratches, Managing Director, Commercial Operations at F1 said in a release. “We feel there is no better way to celebrate the exciting season we have had so far than to have this landmark event in London on the eve of the British Grand Prix. This is all about giving our fans the opportunity to get closer to the teams, cars and drivers they love.”

London Mayor Sadiq Khan added, “F1 Live London is a brilliant opportunity to show young people in our city that learning about science and engineering can provide them with fantastic careers, and can be great fun. It will also bring fans of all ages and backgrounds together to celebrate a sport they are passionate about and in which Britain is a world leader.”

The FIA Formula E Championship, which held races in London’s Battersea Park as well as a street demo itself earlier in its history, couldn’t resist the opportunity to note it’s been on London’s streets before.

Lewis Hamilton takes F1 pole in dramatic Russian GP qualifying

Russian pole Lewis Hamilton
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SOCHI, Russia — Lewis Hamilton took a step closer to equaling the Formula One win record Saturday by clinching pole position at the Russian Grand Prix, after narrowly avoiding early elimination when Sebastian Vettel crashed.

Hamilton charged to a track-record time of 1 minute, 31.304 seconds, beating the Red Bull of Max Verstappen by 0.563 for his fifth straight pole position. Hamilton can achieve his 91st career win in the race on Sunday, matching the record held by Michael Schumacher.

Hamilton’s Mercedes teammate, Valtteri Bottas, was beaten into third by Verstappen’s fast run at the end of the session and was .652 off Hamilton’s time.

The long run from the grid to the first significant turn means Bottas could yet threaten to overtake Hamilton at the start Sunday using the slipstream from his teammate’s car.

“It’s nice being on pole but here is probably the worst place to be on pole,” Hamilton said.

“This year you’re seeing that our cars are more draggy and there’s more tow this year than we’ve seen in other years. So I generally expect one of (Verstappen and Bottas) to come flying by at some point. I think I’m just going to focus on my race and run the fastest race I can.”

Bottas earned his first win at the 2017 race in Russia after starting third and overtaking the two Ferraris ahead of him at the start.

Verstappen and Bottas both start the race on medium tires, which could give them an edge in terms of pit strategy over Hamilton, who is on soft tires, which wear much faster.

“I’m just going to have to nurse those tires for as far as I can. These guys, if they get by, they’re going to be pulling away,” Hamilton said.

Verstappen said he was delighted to start second.

“I wasn’t expecting that and of course it’s great for us. If we can get a good start tomorrow you never know what can happen,” he said.

Vettel lost control of his car over the kerb on the inside of the 90-degree, right-hand turn four and spun into the wall, before the Ferrari bounced back onto the track. Teammate Charles Leclerc was following closely behind and narrowly missed the wrecked car, driving over its discarded front wing.

“Oh my God, that was very, very close,” Leclerc told his team over the radio. Leclerc qualified 11th and Vettel 15th as Ferrari failed to reach the top-10 shootout with either car for the third time in four races.

Vettel’s crash meant the red flag was waved while Hamilton was trying to set his first valid lap time to make the third session – after his first attempt was earlier ruled out for going off the track.

After the track was cleared and the session restarted, Hamilton had to rush his out-lap to make it over the line in time for another flying lap with just a second to spare.

“It was horrible,” Hamilton said. “Heart in the mouth.”

Hamilton was also asked to report to race stewards over another incident in which he went off the track in the first part of qualifying. No further action was taken. It was found Hamilton didn’t gain an advantage because the lap time wasn’t counted.

Hamilton is the runaway championship leader with a 55-point advantage over second-place Bottas and 80 over Verstappen. If he can earn four more pole positions in the last seven races, he would be the first driver to 100 in F1 history.

Earlier in the third and final practice Saturday morning, Hamilton set the pace with a time of 1 minute, 33.279 seconds that was 0.776 better than his Mercedes teammate Bottas, who had been quickest in the first two sessions.