‘F1 security not a worry’
LEWIS Hamilton says he is “confident” security has improved around the Brazilian Grand Prix track for tomorrow’s race at Interlagos.
Last year, members of Hamilton’s Mercedes team were robbed at gun point leaving the track, one of a number of incidents over the race weekend.
Hamilton said: “I have always been safe here in Brazil so I have not approached any races here with safety on my mind.
“But I am confident F1 and the teams have taken action after last year.”
Governing body the FIA says a series of measures have been taken to ensure F1 personnel are at reduced risk leaving the circuit, a time at which incidents have become increasingly common in recent years.
In one of those incidents, former world champion Jenson Button escaped from men with machine guns in 2010.
The FIA measures include increased police numbers and better targeting of the times when the police presence is deployed.
“They took action to try and put things in place to improve it and I am assured,” Hamilton said. “I do feel confident it is improved. We don’t know what’s around the corner but I am hopeful of a positive weekend for everyone.”
Hamilton sealed his fifth drivers’ title at the last race in Mexico. In previous years when he has clinched a championship before the end of the season he has failed to win another race, and he says he is determined to break that pattern.
Mercedes are hoping to tie up the constructors’ championship this weekend, and will do so as long as Ferrari do not outscore them by more than 12 points.
But Hamilton pointed out that Mercedes had lacked competitiveness in the last two races in the US and Mexico.
“If you look at the last two races, we’ve struggled,” he said. “I don’t know how it’s going to be at the next two races and I can’t really explain to you why it’s been so difficult for us the last two races, particularly the last one.
“But I am really hopeful we get in the car this weekend and it feels more normal and we are more competitive,” Hamilton added. “We still have a job to do this weekend, which is to win the constructors’ title so the focus remains exactly the same as it has done the previous races in my mind.”
He said he and the team did not yet fully understand why they had struggled so much in Mexico, where he finished fourth.
“It is not always the case you find all the solutions,” he said. “So I am confident everyone has worked as hard as they can to rectify it and push forward but it might take this race and even the next race before we fully understand it.
“But I think it just points to the fact that there is still even at this time of the year things you can learn from and improve. Or methods you can apply to next year which will be important, so even though they have not been great races they have been steep learning curves for us.”
Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel said: “We try everything we can. We go flat out and try and score more points. We saw in the last race how quickly things can change when you struggle with tyres. We keep our head down and try our best.”