Hamilton looks to steer Mercedes to seventh world title at Imola

Lewis Hamilton
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Updated 30 October 2020

Hamilton looks to steer Mercedes to seventh world title at Imola

IMOLA, Italy: Fresh from his record 92nd career win last Sunday, Lewis Hamilton will be the center of attention again this weekend when his Mercedes team aim to seal a record seventh constructors title.

In addition to leading the ‘silver arrows’ bid for unprecedented glory at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, Hamilton will face inquiries about his future following Monday’s unanimous agreement, by all 10 teams, to support the introduction of a salary cap from 2023.

As the six-time champion is out of contract at the end of this season, it is certain that the dramatic cost-cutting measure will have a direct effect on his negotiations with Mercedes as they seek to retain him.

The team has made clear that they see him as an important asset for their brand and the sport as Formula One enjoys rapid growth in younger demographic groups in the digital age.

Hamilton was expected to begin talks on a new three-year deal as soon as Mercedes complete their seventh title success, Covid-19 restrictions notwithstanding.

Both Hamilton and team chiet Toto Wolff said following last Sunday’s race that they intend to stay together with Mercedes next year.

The salary cap was agreed after discussions during Monday’s Formula One Commission video meeting and the plan is due to be confirmed by the World Motor Sport Council.

Wolff has said he would prefer to avoid any delays to a long-term deal and is against going for a one-year extension.

“Covid has really changed the way we do business and I think everything should be done this year,” he said.

“I don’t want to go into any other negotiation midway through next year and drag it on again.

“We all need to concentrate on our work — Lewis driving, me running the team and Ola Kallenius (chairman of Daimler) turning the big wheel.”

As the F1 circus returns to the Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari for the first time in 14 years, and for Italy’s 100th F1 race, Mercedes need 11 points to confirm their record seventh straight title win.

As last Sunday’s Hamilton-Valtteri Bottas 1-2  at Portimao was a fourth this year and they average more than 36 points per race, that may seem to be a formality.

But, without any scheduled practice on Friday ahead of the sport’s first official two-day race weekend, the teams will all be under extra pressure to hit the ground running on Saturday morning.

For Wolff, it is just part of the job as he works with next year and 2022 in mind.

“Everything we do from now on is important for next year,” he said. “And for setting the pace and the roots for the 2022 regulations.”


West Brom sink Wolves to seal Allardyce’s first win

Updated 6 min 7 sec ago

West Brom sink Wolves to seal Allardyce’s first win

  • Allardyce had failed to win any of his first five matches since replacing the sacked Slaven Bilic

LONDON: West Bromwich Albion won for the first time under new boss Sam Allardyce as Matheus Pereira’s penalty double clinched a 3-2 Premier League victory at local rivals Wolves on Saturday.

Allardyce had failed to win any of his first five matches since replacing the sacked Slaven Bilic.

But the former England manager was finally able to celebrate after a pulsating Black Country derby at Molineux.

Pereira put Albion ahead from the spot before goals from Fabio Silva and Willy Boly put Wolves in the driving seat at half time.

Semi Ajayi equalized after the interval and Pereira’s second penalty sealed West Brom’s first win in eight league games.

Albion remain second bottom of the table after their second league victory this term, but are now just three points from safety.

Wolves are winless in six league games and have not beaten the Baggies in 10 years.

It was the first time these two local rivals had met since 2012 when West Brom won 5-1 at Molineux and this was an equally memorable success for the visitors.

West Brom were hit by Covid-19 this week, forcing keeper Sam Johnstone and winger Matt Phillips into self-isolation after positive tests.

David Button replaced Johnstone in goal, while new signing Robert Snodgrass made his Albion debut in Phillips’ absence.

Wolves had won just one of their eight league games since Mexico striker Raul Jimenez suffered a fractured skull against Arsenal in November.

They fell behind in the eighth minute with a self-inflicted wound.

Boly caught Callum Robinson with a rash challenge and, after a VAR review confirmed the foul was just inside the area, Pereira stepped up to convert the penalty.

That made it nine consecutive league games in which Wolves had fallen behind.

Silva’s leveler came in the 38th minute when Albion failed to clear a Romain Saiss cross and Boly’s deft backheel found the teenage forward, who slotted home from close-range.

Sloppy defending was Albion’s downfall again as Wolves went in front five minutes later.

Joao Moutinho’s corner wasn’t cleared by Jake Livermore and Boly slammed his shot past Button from seven yards.

Boly was the first Wolves player to concede a penalty, assist a goal and score a goal in the same Premier League game since Adlene Guedioura in 2011 — also against West Brom at Molineux.

Albion equalized in the 52nd minute when a long throw was flicked on by Kyle Bartley and Ajayi looped his header over Wolves keeper Rui Patricio into the far corner.

A dramatic game took another turn when Conor Coady conceded a penalty with a trip on Robinson and Pereira stepped up to score from the spot again.

Wolves should have finished with a point, but Silva miscued after Moutinho set up a potential equalizer before the unmarked Patrick Cutrone shot over from close-range.