Lewis Hamilton crew held up by Brazil gun ban­dits

Sunday Mirror (Northern Ireland) - - News - BY PA­TRICK HILL pa­trick.hill@sun­daymir­ror.co.uk

FOR­MULA ONE cham­pion Lewis Hamilton last night ex­pressed his anger after his sup­port team were am­bushed by a gun-tot­ing gang.

Shots were fired and one of the star’s back­room staff had a gun held to his head dur­ing the rob­bery after a fi­nal prac­tice ses­sion ahead of today’s Brazil­ian Grand Prix.

Mil­i­tary po­lice were last night hunt­ing for the ban­dits, who sur­rounded a mo­tor­cade close to

Sao Paulo’s In­ter­la­gos cir­cuit at

8pm on Fri­day night. The raiders held up the Mercedes team minibus and tried to rob a car be­long­ing to the FIA, the sport’s gov­ern­ing body, but the driver man­aged to flee.

Hamilton, who secured his fourth F1 driv­ers’ cham­pi­onship two weeks ago, yes­ter­day tweeted: “Some of my team were held up at gun­point last night. Shots fired, gun held at one’s head. This is so up­set­ting to hear. This hap­pens ev­ery year here. F1 and the teams need to do more. There’s no ex­cuse.” Mercedes’ di­rec­tor of com­mu­ni­ca­tions Robert Mo­ran said: “Some men ac­costed them and stole their be­long­ings. The im­por­tant thing is noth­ing


Shots were fired. A gun held at some­one’s head. This is so up­set­ting to hear LEWIS HAMILTON

hap­pened.” Matteo Bon­ciani, FIA com­mu­ni­ca­tions di­rec­tor, was in the at­tacked car. He said: “Three men hit the win­dows with weapons. But the driver re­acted with pro­fes­sion­al­ism.”

In 2010, Jen­son But­ton was tar­geted by gun­men as he left the same track.

For­mer F1 boss Bernie Ec­cle­stone’s mother-in-law Apare­cida Schunck, 67, was kid­napped in Sao Paulo in July last year. A £28mil­lion ran­som was de­manded but she was re­leased un­harmed.

Yes­ter­day Hamilton crashed out of qual­i­fy­ing on his first lap and will start today’s race at the back of the grid.


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