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Post-covid ailments worry Hamilton

Although there was great desire to see George Russell at the wheel of the W11 again to make up for the disappointment that Sahkir left him, Lewis Hamilton regained his mount for the weekend in Abu Dhabi. The seven-time world champion, more taciturn than usual, did not show his usual competitiveness, and immediately the whispers began to emerge in the ‘paddock’. While Valtteri Bottas took the obligatory best position on Friday, the two tenths he got from his leader of the ranks surprised locals and strangers. It is worth that ten days of isolation can weigh a lot in a pilot used to never stopping, but the truth is that the non-gestural language and the somewhat lost gaze made him fear that Hamilton has not really overcome the covid infection that him he missed the second appointment in Bahrain.

He himself admitted that something was wrong … but in his car. “I felt like I had been away from the car for a long time. It was very strange. It was about re-familiarizing myself with the car, which was not exactly like when I left it, in the sense that the balance was not the same as it had previously reached, but I am working to get back to where I feel comfortable with it, “he said. That said, it is more than possible that he will be the favorite for pole this Saturday, as he has shown many times that he does not even need to be at one hundred percent to beat his undervalued teammate.

For the rest, it was a strange Friday with few conclusions to draw for this weekend and more tests thinking about 2021. The sensor grills in the Ferraris, a team that is focused on the farewell to Sebastian Vettel this weekend -detail included of his own colleague Charles Leclerc, with a “Thank you Seb” with which he wants to bury the hatchet-, or the paraffin in the Red Bulls showed that the technicians already see the fish more than sold for this campaign and are going to focus in the next one for the rest of the weekend. If it were for some, as if they no longer run.

One of those who would surely sign to return home immediately is Kimi Räikkönen. The Finn saw his Alfa Romeo burn out due to an engine problem, which gave him quite a scare. Without reaching, far from it, what happened with Romain Grosjean, the 2007 champion lacked hands to remove his harnesses and jump out of the car, which he will have to replace for the rest of the weekend. It will not be the only one, since Sergio Pérez, winner a week ago, and Kevin Magnussen, who will live his last race in F1 before going to the American IMSA, will also be penalized for reaching the limit of usable parts in their engine.

For Carlos Sainz it was a strange day. He himself admits that he was surprisingly comfortable with the balance of the MCL35, although his mind is on the cars in red that he will be driving next year. The equality in the middle of the grid invites optimism about your options. Between Lando Norris, his partner, who was fifth, and him, who was twelfth, there were only two tenths. A margin so tiny that any slight improvement can make you jump several places … or fall.

The sensations are, in any case, positive. «The start of the weekend has been better than in the last races. The car has responded well to this track. Even so, every time we put the soft tire on we had difficulties. We have work pending on this compound, because it is the qualifying tire and we have to extract more performance from it given the equality in the times table. The sensations of the day are good, but we have to make sure that we find a little more time with that compound. We will fight to be up there, “he promised.

As a statistical note of the day, this Friday was also the first day of Mick Schumacher in a real ‘formula 1’. After the rain left him without riding with Alfa Romeo in Germany, the ‘Prince’ got into this year’s Haas (he will repeat in the young drivers test) during the first free practice, completing a curious line-up for the American team: his partner was Pietro Fittipaldi. However, despite the luster of similar names on their cars, the car left by Magnussen and Grosjean (he will no longer use it, except in some exhibition) was not up to the task and they ended up at the bottom of the grid, fighting with the Williamses for not being last. Schumacher did 23 laps, with a best time of 1: 41.235 that left him in 18th place.

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