Formula 1 gossip: Hamilton, Hulkenberg, Verstappen, Monza

Lewis Hamilton
Lewis Hamilton is bidding for a third successive world title

Sunday, 27 March

Max Verstappen fears that Mercedes-powered rivals will be a much tougher challenge for his Toro Rosso team in Bahrain than they were at the Australian Grand Prix.(

Haas' sixth-place finish on its debut in Australia "resonated in a very positive way" in America, says team boss Guenther Steiner. (ESPN)external-link

Monza officials are confident that the Italian GP will continue at the historic circuit beyond 2016.(Gazzetta dello Sport, via

Nico Hulkenberg
Hulkenberg smash! Force India driver Nico Hulkenberg tweeted on Easter Sunday: "Let's go bunny hunting! Happy Easter!"

Friday, 25 March

McLaren driver Jenson Button believes he is the "full package" when it comes to delivering on and off the track. (Sky Sports)external-link

Red Bull are encouraged by the progress made by engine supplier Renault over the winter. (

Baku will be the world's fastest street track, according to Hermann Tilke, the designer of the circuit for this season's inaugural grand prix in Azerbaijan. (Eurosport)external-link

Pirelli's new ultra-soft tyres will make their first appearance of the season at the Monaco Grand Prix. (

Williams deputy team principal Claire Williams believes Formula 1 has to find a way of engaging younger audiences. (Independent)external-link

Red Bull's Australian driver Daniel Ricciardo has been surfing for the first time in his life. (Instagram)external-link

Toro Rosso's Dutch driver Max Verstappen has paid tribute to footballing great Johan Cruyff, who died on Thursday. (Twitter)external-link

Max Verstappen

Thursday, 24 March

Despite criticism from fans and pundits, F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone believes the new qualifying format will continue to be used by the series. (La Gazzetta dello Sport)external-link

Operating company Sias says the Italian automobile club president, Angelo Sticchi Damiani, is "doing everything possible" to keep Monza as the country's grand prix host beyond 2016. (

F1 engineer Jock Clear, who holds a leading position with Ferrari, says Michael Schumacher was right to urge the Maranello to sign Sebastian Vettel. (Speed Week via

Mexican driver Alfonso Celis, 19, will drive for Force India in the opening practice session at the Bahrain Grand Prix next week. (ESPN)external-link

Lewis Hamilton
@F1 gave a Twitter shout-out to Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton and dog Roscoe on National Puppy Day

Wednesday, 23 March

Ayrton Senna
Bruno Senna shared a family snap of his late uncle and three-time world champion Ayrton on Monday - which would have been his 56th birthday

World champion Lewis Hamilton says there is "no point" him attending drivers' meetings with F1 race director Charlie Whiting as Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel dominates the agenda. (Sky Sports)external-link

The bubbly sprayed around on the podium in Formula 1 is no longer champagne, but sparkling wine, after a change in sponsor for the 2016 season. (20 minutes - in French)external-link

Ferrari and Mercedes are interested in signing Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo for the 2017 season. (Auto Motor und Sport and Servus TV via F1Today)external-link

There has been a split in strategies for the Bahrain Grand Prix, with Ferrari drivers Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen opting for three sets of the medium compound, while Mercedes pair Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg have gone for one each. (Pirelli Sport on Twitter)external-link

Tuesday, 22 March

Former F1 president Max Mosley says Fernando Alonso would have died if he had suffered a similar crash 20 years ago to the one he experienced at the Australian Grand Prix.(Daily Mail)external-link

Fernando Alonso on instagram
Fernando Alonso's McLaren was launched into the air and came to rest upside down after hitting the back of Esteban Gutierrez's Haas

Alonso posted a photo on Instagramexternal-link of him holding up the Herald Sun front page with the headline 'Luckiest Man Alive'. His accompanying message read: "Time to take the plane and rest couple of days for a full recovery. Thanks to all of you!!"

McLaren team-mate Jenson Button believes F1's controversial halo device would have helped Alonso in his horror crash.(Guardian)external-link

Jenson Button instagram
Jenson Button went on Instagram to thank his fans for their support at Melbourne

Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo refused to watch replays of Alonso's crash while the Australian Grand Prix was suspended to clear debris from the track because he did not want to be thinking twice about making a similar move.(Fox Sports)external-link

World champion Lewis Hamilton says Mercedes has prioritised race starts after both cars were overtaken by Sebastian Vettel off the line at the Australian Grand Prix.(ESPN)external-link

F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone has warned Haas F1 team owner Gene Haas that he will have to spend $1bn (£700m) over four years to be competitive.(Autoweek)external-link

Ayrton Senna's biographer, Ernesto Rodrigues, believes that the three-time world champion would still be involved in motorsport today, if he was still alive, but not as a team boss. The Brazilian, who would have been 56 on Monday, died in a crash during the San Marino Grand Prix in 1994.(

Monday, 21 March

Fernando Alonso says he is "lucky" to be alive after surviving a horror crash in the Australian Grand Prix and posted a picture on his flight back.(Sky Sports)external-link

The Spaniard says he got out of the car quickly so that his mother, watching on television, knew he was safe. (Telegraph)external-link

Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff has revealed that Australian Grand Prix winner Nico Rosberg was nearly forced to retire during Sunday's race with a brake problem.(Fox Sports)external-link

Nico Rosberg poses with Emma Snowsill and Jan Frodeno
Nico Rosberg celebrated his win with Olympic triathlon champions Emma Snowsill and Jan Frodeno

Sebastian Vettel - who lost the lead to Rosberg - says that Ferrari's aggressive tyre strategy probably worked against him. (Straits Times)external-link

Manor have admitted they "let down" rookie Rio Haryanto after he had to retire from his maiden race with driveline problems.(The National)external-link

Sunday, 20 March

Lewis Hamilton
Lewis Hamilton showed support for his former team-mate Fernando Alonso, who was involved in a high-speed crash in Sunday's Australian GP, by tweeting this message to the McLaren driver

Nico Rosberg has apologised for pushing Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton wide at the start of the Australian Grand Prix. (Autosport)external-link

Williams driver Felipe Massa, 34, says Formula 1 drivers may now be listened to after the new elimination-style qualifying format drew widespread disapproval after its debut at the Australian GP. (Autosport)external-link

Three-time world champion Niki Lauda says avoiding a reverse-grid rule is what led to the qualifying format used in Australia. (

Jost Capito, who will leave Volkswagen to become CEO at McLaren, would not rule out a foray into F1 for VW in the future. (Bild via

Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo maintains a gruelling fitness regime, with the 26-year-old Australian training two times a day, six days a week. (Daily Mail)external-link

Esteban Gutierrez and Fernando Alonso were involved in a collision that led to Alonso crashing at high speed into a barrier. Fortunately both drivers were OK

Saturday, 19 March

Red Bull also refuted suggestions it faces losing driver Daniel Ricciardo at the end of the year.(APA via

Three-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton is frustrated by his sport's approach to social media, with rules stopping the Mercedes driver posting videos from the Formula 1 paddock.(Yahoo)external-link

The Briton, 31, was pictured arriving for qualifying at the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne on Saturday in a golf buggy. (Daily Mail)external-link

Former BMW Sauber driver Robert Kubica, 31, says he would love to return to F1, even if the sport is no longer as spectacular.(Radio Sportiva via

Drivers attend post-qualifying press conference
The drivers take their spot before the media after Saturday's qualifying session

Friday, 18 March

Sir Jackie Stewart has urged Lewis Hamilton to apologise for appearing to use a mobile phone on a motorcycle. (Daily Mail)external-link

The prototype halo head-protection device, aimed at shielding drivers from flying debris, is on track to be adopted for the 2017 season, according to race director Charlie Whiting. (Reuters)external-link

Ferrari have spent the most tokens developing their engine over the winter, and Renault the fewest. (Sky Sports)external-link

The FIA is confident it will be able to pick out and penalise any coded messages teams attempt to relay to their drivers under the new radio restrictions. (ESPN)external-link

Ferrari have signed a preliminary deal with two Chinese companies to build a theme park in China. (AFP, via Daily Mail)external-link

Renault driver Kevin Magnussen was photographed at Friday's Australian Grand Prix and seemed to come dressed as a banana

Thursday, 17 March

Aston Martin will return to Formula 1 this season following a 56-year absence, after linking up in a partnership with Red Bull. (Autosport)external-link

Formula 1 boss Bernie Ecclestone would rather Ferrari win the world championship than Mercedes. (Daily Mail)external-link

McLaren's Fernando Alonso has said he would have regrets about leaving Ferrari if the Italian team goes on to win the title this season. (ESPN)external-link

World champion Lewis Hamilton has dodged questions during the Australian Grand Prix press conference about being investigated by New Zealand police for allegedly taking selfies on a motorbike. (Daily Mirror)external-link

Meanwhile, Mercedes' Hamilton has tweeted a videoexternal-link of himself playing golf up a mountain in New Zealand.

Lewis Hamilton tweet

Four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel had named his 2016 Ferrari 'Margherita', but insists it is not named after a pizza. (AFP)external-link

Force India's Nico Hulkenberg says criticism from Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo "made him smile". The pair disagreed over the Halo closed cockpit design. (

Sauber boss Monisha Kaltenborn says the team's financial trouble over the winter caught everyone by surprise. (Eurosport)external-link

Renault and Mercedes have engaged in some social media repartee during Thursday's media day in Melbourne. It started with a Mercedes cameraman gate-crashing driver Jolyon Palmer's photoshoot, and ended with Renault outing Lewis Hamiltonexternal-link for being on his phone during a press conference.

Renault Twitter
Snap-chatting a snap-chatter: Renault tweeted Mercedes in a comical exchange after they caught world champion Lewis Hamilton on his phone during a press conference

Wednesday, 16 March

Renault has unveiled its livery for the 2016 Formula 1 season and the French team will sport their traditional yellow.external-link

Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff says "it will get nasty again" in the on-track battle between his team's drivers, Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg, adding: "When you look at the big boxing matches the fighters create animosity and controversy before the event because that makes people turn on the TV. So we will let these two fight it out on the track." (Guardian)external-link

Meanwhile, Nico Rosberg posted a picture of a huge spider stuck to the back of his car in Australia.external-link

Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo says he will be hoping for rain on Sunday to aid his chances of a podium finish at the season-opening Australian Grand Prix. (The Age)external-link

Force India says it is strong enough financially to pay its bills and keep to its 2016 Formula 1 development schedule, despite speculation about its funding.(Autosport)external-link

McLaren driver Jenson Button has been enjoying the Melbourne sun with a bike ride, posting the below picture on Instagramexternal-link along with the comment: "Another good ride in the bank today, great prep for the season opener."

Jenson Button

Tuesday, 15 March

Red Bull boss Christian Horner says he turned down the chance to sign Mercedes racer Lewis Hamilton as it would not have gone down well with Sebastian Vettel, who was at the team at the time. (Daily Telegraph)external-link

Horner also believes former Ferrari and Mercedes team boss Ross Brawn is the man to save the sport when it comes to implementing F1's rules. (Sun)external-link

World champion Hamilton can deal Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg "a blow from which he might not recover for the entire season" if he gains the upper hand at the first race in Australia, according to 1996 title winner Damon Hill.(Daily Mirror)external-link

It can be a hard life being an F1 driver as Haas driver Romain Grosjean showed when he tweeted a pictureexternal-link of a beach along with the message: "Hello Australia! Sun, sea, swim."

Romain Grosjean on Twitter

Monday 14 March

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton, 31, admits he does not yet know how to handle resurgent team-mate Nico Rosberg, 30. (Daily Mirror)external-link

Commentator Martin Brundle claims Formula 1 is in desperate need for McLaren to return to their place as one of the sport's traditional title contenders. (Daily Mail)external-link

Three-time world champion Niki Lauda says F1's new qualifying format is "really stupid" but the 67-year-old, a non-executive director at Mercedes, adds the Brackley-based team did not want a reversed grid. (Gazzetta dello Sport via Fox Sports)external-link

Retired driver Mark Webber has tipped compatriot Daniel Ricciardo, 26, to achieve his goal of winning a world title, saying the Australian Red Bull driver has "championships in him". (Sydney Morning Herald)external-link

Gene Haas, founder of F1's newest recruits Haas F1 Team, has invited American auto racing team owners Roger Penske and Rick Hendrick to join him at a Grand Prix this year. (Motorsport)external-link

Sahara Force India driver Nico Hulkenberg, 28, tweetedexternal-link a picture of himself enjoying a run in Sydney ahead of the Australian Grand Prix.

Nico Hulkenberg

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