I’ll walk away if we have 25 races, says Hamil­ton

Western Daily Press - - Sport - PHILIP DUN­CAN at In­ter­la­gos

LEWIS Hamil­ton has warned For­mula One’s own­ers that he will walk out on the sport if they go ahead with their plans to ex­pand the cal­en­dar to 25 races.

Ear­lier this week, Lib­erty Me­dia, the Amer­i­can con­glom­er­ate which runs F1, an­nounced that a race on the streets of Viet­nam’s cap­i­tal city, Hanoi, will be added to the sched­ule in the 2020 sea­son.

Lib­erty are also keen to ex­pand their port­fo­lio in Amer­ica by adding mul­ti­ple races and re­main hope­ful of taking F1 to Mi­ami within two years de­spite op­po­si­tion lo­cally.

The num­ber of rounds stands at 21, while next year’s cal­en­dar, de­spite pos­sess­ing the same num­ber of races, is set to run into December for the first time in over 50 years.

But Hamil­ton, who this week­end be­gins his ti­tle vic­tory pa­rade in Brazil and is, quite com­fort­ably, F1’s most mar­ketable star, said: “I am not go­ing to be here if it gets to 25 races, that’s for sure.

“It al­ready feels like we are on race num­ber 25 this year, so I don’t think more races is go­ing to be a good thing. I am some­one that re­ally loves rac­ing, but the sea­son is long, it takes a big com­mit­ment, and it is a long time away from our fam­i­lies.

“The sea­sons are get­ting longer, and the off-time is get­ting shorter, so from a com­peti­tor’s point of view the turnaround is short. You start pre­par­ing for next year as soon as the sea­son is so done, so get­ting your mind tuned is very dif­fi­cult.”

The 33-year-old will to­day re­turn to his Mercedes cock­pit for the first time since he clinched his fifth cham­pi­onship a fort­night ago.

The Bri­tish driver, who cel­e­brated his ti­tle tri­umph in Cal­i­for­nia, has failed to win a race af­ter clinch­ing the cham­pi­onship with rounds to spare. In 2015, Nico Ros­berg won the last three races, be­fore Se­bas­tian Vet­tel and Hamil­ton’s Mercedes team-mate Valt­teri Bot­tas claimed a win each last year.

But Hamil­ton is keen to add to his tally of just one vic­tory at the In­ter­la­gos cir­cuit, and sug­gested he will not step aside for Bot­tas, de­spite the Finn giv­ing up his vic­tory for the Briton at the Rus­sian Grand Prix.

Hamil­ton added. “I don’t think Valt­teri will want that. He wants to win in his own way.”

Clive Ma­son/ Getty Im­ages

Lewis Hamil­tonuses an al­ter­na­tivemode of trans­port

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