In Brief

F1: Lewis Hamilton wants ‘epic’ title battle with Red Bull

Mercedes’ world champion is ready for the challenge from Red Bull and Ferrari

Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton hopes that Red Bull can compete with Mercedes and Ferrari for the titles this coming season.

Hamilton expects Ferrari ace Sebastian Vettel and Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas to provide his biggest competition in 2019. But he also believes that if Red Bull can improve their reliability then their new Honda-powered car could make Max Verstappen a title challenger.

When asked who his biggest rivals will be in 2019, British star Hamilton told F1.com: “I would imagine it’s going to be Sebastian and Valtteri alongside me, but will Red Bull [challenge]… they’ve got a great car, and they were very strong at the end of the year.

“They’ve got a new engine next year. Will it be able to compete with ours? I hope so, because that would be epic if Red Bull could really start to mingle with us a bit more, weekend in, weekend out.

“They’ve got to obviously improve on their reliability which has been a big downfall for them this year. So there’s lots of areas, but I really wish them all the best - and we are down for the competition that’s for sure.”

Seidl takes charge at McLaren

Andreas Seidl has been appointed as McLaren’s new F1 managing director. The German becomes the “face of their F1 operation”, says the Daily Mail, and he will report to McLaren chief executive Zak Brown.

With a new MD in place and Carlos Sainz and Lando Norris forming a fresh driver line-up, McLaren will look for a big improvement after a disappointing campaign last year.

CEO Brown told Motorsport.com that he expects a big year for the team as they aim to be among the points.

“We’re anticipating a good car,” said Brown. “The off-season development has gone according to plan but you ultimately don’t know what the competition’s been up to and the competition’s tough, and getting tougher.

“We need good feedback [from Sainz and Norris]. This will be a much different car to 2018. We want them to race the field hard. Naturally team-mates race each other hard but they get along well, they are good guys and to move forward as a team we need them to bring both cars back in the points. They know that. That’s the team goal.”

Wolff praise for Russell

New Williams driver George Russell can become an F1 star of the future according to Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff.

In 2018 Russell, 20, was part of Mercedes’ junior driver programme and a reserve driver, as well as racing for ART Grand Prix in Formula 2.  

The rookie’s talent behind the wheel impressed Wolff, who said: “I can only repeat what Sebastien Philippe [Russell’s boss at ART] told me. He said he’s one of the best we’ve ever had within our team. I think we might have another young British boy here that can become a star in the future.”

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