Mayor of London ‘keen to listen’ to F1 street race idea

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The Mayor of London is “keen to listen” to any possible proposal for a Formula 1 race in the UK capital following the success of the live demonstration on Wednesday.

F1 Live London saw 19 of the 20 current drivers and a number of the sport’s other iconic racers take part in a special demonstration around Trafalgar Square and Whitehall, incoporating some of the city’s most recognizable landmarks.

The showcase came 24 hours after Silverstone, the current host of the British Grand Prix, announced that it would be breaking its current contract after 2019 in a bid to negotiate a better deal.

As a result, fresh hope has been given to the idea of a London street race, something imagined for many years by F1 officials.

Speaking to BBC London Sport, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said that he would be receptive to the idea of a race.

“If F1 want to speak to me I am keen to listen,” Khan said.

“My ambition is for London to carry on being the sporting capital of the world.

“There are some hurdles to overcome, but I am certainly interested in the future in having F1 in London.”

London’s most recent motorsport event was its Formula E race at Battersea Park, which was scrapped after two years due to local pressure.

A recent law change in the UK also now permits motorsport events on closed public roads, giving more momentum to dreams of a London Grand Prix.

Valtteri Bottas on Silverstone pole; Nico Hulkenberg a surprising third

F1 Bottas Hamilton Silverstone
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Valtteri Bottas nipped Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton in Silverstone qualifying Saturday to maintain the team’s hammerlock on F1 results this season while Nico Hulkenberg was a surprise in third.

Hulkenberg is filling in for Sergio Perez for the second consecutive race while the Racing Point driver recovers from coronavirus.

It’s the best F1 start since 2016 for Hulkenberg, who was left without a full-time ride after the 2019 season. He finished 20th at Silverstone last week when an engine problem on the grid prevented him ftaking the green.

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“The last seven to eight days have been crazy,” Hulkenberg said after qualifying. “This weekend I felt much better prepared. Q3 was just head down, full beans, and give it whatever I had.

“I’m a bit surprised to be standing here, but there’s a big smile on my face.”

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen qualified fourth and will be among the field trying to derail the Mercedes duo that has won the first four races of an F1 season delayed because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“Feels good,” Bottas said after nipping Hamilton by a few hundredths of a second on his final lap for his 13th career pole position. ” I just love qualifying especially, when it goes well. Proud to drive this car. The race pace is there, so our first job is to get a good start off the line tomorrow and go from there.”

The impressive lap came two days after Bottas, who won the season opener in Austria, announced a one-year contract extension with the team.

Mercedes also is set to begin negotiating a new deal with Hamilton, who has won the past three races in F1 but was disappointed Saturday.

“Valtteri did a great job, but for me, it wasn’t a perfect last lap,” he said. “I don’t think many teams will be doing a one-stop race tomorrow so let’s wait and see how things turn out.”