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F1 champion Lewis Hamilton to be more ‘strategic’ with social media after incident

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SILVERSTONE, England (AP) — Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton plans to be more “strategic” on social media after provoking outrage for chastising his nephew for wearing a princess dress.

The Mercedes driver made his first public appearance since posting the Instagram video on Thursday, launching his car for the new season at Silverstone circuit.

In the video posted around Christmas with his nephew, Hamilton said “Why are you wearing a princess dress?” before telling him that “boys don’t wear princess dresses!” The criticism led to Hamilton retreating from social media and deleting the contents of his accounts.

“We had already planned at the end of the year to start a clean slate, and it just so happened that it was an opportunistic time to change it,” the four-time world champion said. “Moving forward, there is a balance you have to strike. I have been very open with my life for several years and it is always difficult to make a change because I have enjoyed being open.

“But we are living in strange times where things are magnified a lot more than they were in previous years. It is a critical time for the world. I will continue to show the world what I am doing, but it is about being more strategic in what I do show and don’t show.”

Hamilton does still see social networks as “the gateway to connect to fans.”

“So it will be a part of my life,” the British driver added. “As to how deep I will go, we will see.”

Following Thursday’s unveiling of the new Mercedes F1 racer, Hamilton takes part in winter testing in Barcelona next week ahead of the season opener in Melbourne on March 25.

The 33-year-old Hamilton is entering the final season of his three-year contract but talks are underway about a new deal with Mercedes executive director Toto Wolff.

“It is just the details,” Hamilton said, “so hopefully it’s done before the start of the season, before the first race, but there’s no rush, and no panic.

“I am not feeling pressure from other drivers and Toto has no reason to believe I am speaking to anyone else. In the six years I have been here, I have not spoken to another team and that shows how committed I am.”

IndyCar’s Vasser-Sullivan expand into IMSA for 2019

James Sullivan and Jimmy Vasser. Photo IndyCar
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Not even one year after returning to the IndyCar ranks, Vasser-Sullivan Racing is taking AIM at the IMSA world, you might say.

While team co-owners Jimmy Vasser and James “Sulli” Sullivan will continue to partner with Dale Coyne Racing on the IndyCar side, they expanded their holdings Tuesday, announcing a partnership with AIM Autosport to campaign a new two-car Lexus-backed RC F GT3 effort in IMSA’s GT Daytona class.

The new team – named AIM Vasser-Sullivan – will replace 3GT Racing, which was part of Lexus’ sports car program launch in 2016. It will announce its two drivers in the coming weeks, the team said.

“Sulli and I are excited and looking forward to entering a new chapter in our racing careers,” Vasser said in a media release. “I have driven sports cars before, but my career was pretty much limited to the 24 Hours of Daytona, including a ‘class’ win in 1992 and second overall in 2008.

“The AIM Vasser Sullivan team, with the support of Lexus and our sponsors, has the tools to get the job done and we are looking forward to this new challenge.”

Lexus has made significant progress in its first two seasons in IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship competition, having earned a combined two race wins, five poles and finished third in the 2018 GTD Manufacturer point standings.

Vasser and Sullivan were part of the ownership group of KVSH Racing in IndyCar from 2011 through 2016 before the organization folded.

They also owned Tony Kanaan’s 2013 Indianapolis 500-winning car.

After sitting out the 2017 season, Vasser, a former CART champion, and Sullivan rejoined forces this past February, just before the start of the 2018 IndyCar season, partnering with Coyne to form a satellite team led by driver Sebastien Bourdais, who previously drove for KVSH.

Bourdais kicked off the new team’s effort with a win in the season-opening Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. He finished seventh in the overall season standings.

AIM Vasser Sullivan will have two home bases for its IMSA program: AIM’s current facility in Woodbridge, Ontario, Canada, as well as a new U.S. shop in Charlotte, North Carolina.

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