11 The Daily Telegraph Friday 7 August 2020 ** Hamilton ‘not stressed’ over Mercedes contract talks as he focuses on diversity Formula One at Silverstone By Tom Cary Lewis Hamilton says he does “not feel comfortable” sitting down and discussing a new Mercedes deal at the moment, given the ongoing Covid crisis. The six-time world champion is out of contract at the end of this year, but says he is in no rush to agree an extension. “It will get done at some stage so I am not stressed,” Hamilton said. Mercedes confirmed yesterday that Hamilton’s teammate, Valtteri Bottas, would be staying with the team for 2021. “I think consistency is always a good thing for a team,” Hamilton said of his teammate’s extension. “And Valtteri has been such a positive influence on the team.” As for his own contract, Hamilton said he felt it was inappropriate to be negotiating at the moment. “When you think about so many people in the world who have lost their jobs, people unemployed, and to sit down and negotiate a big contract, it doesn’t feel like the most important thing,” he said. “I do want to continue with the team and it is not a big effort for us to sit down and get it done. It is just right now I don’t feel comfortable about it so I am going to wait a little bit longer. He added: “I am not talking to anyone else and I am looking forward to continuing [with Mercedes], particularly as we have just started a new chapter as a team in terms of how we educate ourselves, how we understand what we are going to do to help be more diverse, and more inclusive.” Hamilton – who will be seeking his eighth F1 win at Silverstone at this weekend’s 70th Anniversary Grand Prix – added that he felt this was the most significant period of his life, given the Black Lives Matter movement and his role in pushing for equality. “People often ask where we get our motivation from and there are so many things to take inspiration from, and to be fighting for a championship in a time like this is empowering and exciting with the thought that there could be change to follow,” said Hamilton. Yates calls on UCI to put rider safety first Cycling cycling correspondent By Tom Cary Cycling’s governing body, the UCI, has come under fire for not doing more to protect riders in the wake of an horrific crash at the end of the first stage of the Tour of Poland on Wednesday, leaving one young rider in a coma. Fabio Jakobsen, a Deceuninck-Quick Step rider, was placed in an induced coma and underwent facial surgery lasting 5½ hours after he was sent over the barriers by fellow Dutchman Dylan Groenewegen on a downhill finish in Katowice. In the initial aftermath of the crash, much of the anger was directed towards Groenewegen, but attention soon turned to the UCI, with former sprinter Robbie McEwen questioning the barriers used, which were knocked across the road, taking down a number of other riders. Others pointed to railway tracks and dangerous road furniture immediately on the other side of the barriers. Irish former rider Sean Kelly said that downhill sprints ought to be banned, and another ex-racer, Sean Yates, said: “How many riders have to get seriously hurt before things change? It’s a scandal. The UCI are the ones responsible and they do not address this issue with any seriousness.” The professional cyclists’ union, the CPA, has asked the UCI to open an investigation into the crash, while Groenewegen, who suffered a broken collarbone and was disqualified for dangerous riding, apologised for endangering Jakobsen’s life.
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