Spa-Francorchamps (dpa) – As if the outcome of the race in the Formula 1 classic in the Ardennes was just a matter of form.
When they met again after the short break in the corona stress season, other topics reigned on Thursday: from the fascination of the circuit in Spa-Francorchamps to the memories of the horror accident in Formula 2 a year ago to possible boycotts such as in the American sport.
Few seem to have serious doubts about Lewis Hamilton’s next race gala, who won four out of six races so far this year. Challengers like Red Bull’s Max Verstappen – “The track was never particularly good for our car” – were quite careful. The Dutchman is 37 points behind Hamilton in second place in the World Cup. Third is Valtteri Bottas, 43 points behind his British Mercedes teammate.
Outside of the races, Hamilton still has the inner drive to force the fight against racism. However, he does not think a boycott is wise, as in many American competitions. “First of all, it’s amazing what so many athletes do in the United States and so many people stay with the players. But that’s in America. We are in Belgium,” said Hamilton. He is still the first black man in motorsport’s premier class.
“I will do what I can from here”, assured the six-time world champion and announced further talks with Formula 1 officials at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit before the race next Sunday (3.10 pm / RTL and Sky). Sebastian Vettel was of the same opinion as Hamilton. The four-time world champion from Heppenheim is one of those drivers who, like Hamilton, always kneels before the races as a symbol against racism.
“I don’t think it makes sense to go that far,” the 33-year-old said of a boycott. Vettel, one of the drivers’ union presidents, emphasized that the motorsport premier class wanted to keep sending messages to the public.
“How long are we going to go on? There’s no answer to that,” said Vettel. “One thing is to take a public position, the other is how to deal with it when the cameras are off,” added the Heppenheimer. “If there’s anything we can do, we’ll do it. But we’ll talk about it first,” said Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo.
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It is clear that this time there is a minute of silence before the start. The premier class of motorsport commemorates Anthoine Hubert, who died in an accident a year ago. Vettel emphasized that it was decisive for everyone who was in Spa at the time.
Juan Manuel Correa, who was also involved in the Formula 2 accident and was seriously injured at the time, is back on the scene this weekend. “It’s been a year since the accident happened and I felt like I was closing a chapter. Most of all, I’m here to pay tribute to Anthoine,” the 21-year-old said Thursday.