HAMILTON GUN PANIC

The People - - NEWS FEATURES & - By Pa­trick Hill

F1 cham­pion Lewis Hamilton last night lashed out after his sup­port team were am­bushed at gun­point.

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

Hamilton, who secured his fourth F1 driv­ers cham­pi­onship at the Mex­ico Grand Prix two weeks ago, yes­ter­day tweeted: “Some of my team were held up last night. Shots fired, gun held at one’s head. This is so up­set­ting. This hap­pens ev­ery year here. F1 and the teams need to do more.”

Mil­i­tary po­lice were last night hunt­ing for the ban­dits, who sur­rounded a mo­tor­cade near Sao Paulo’s In­ter­la­gos cir­cuit at 8pm on Fri­day.

Raiders held up the Mercedes minibus and tried to rob a car be­long­ing to the FAI, the sport’s rul­ing body, but the driver es­caped.

Matteo Bon­ciani, FIA com­mu­ni­ca­tions chief, was in the car. He said: “Three men hit the win­dows with weapons. But the driver was very pro­fes­sional.”

In 2010, Jen­son But­ton was tar­geted by gun­men at the same track. His po­lice driver fled in traf­fic.

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

Hamilton crashed out of qual­i­fy­ing and will start the race today at the back of the grid.

FURY: Champ Lewis

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