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Lewis Hamilton Says F1 Must Embrace Social Media

Three-time world champion Lewis Hamilton urged Formula One's new rulers Liberty Media to bring the sport up to date on Thursday by opening it up to social media.

AFP

Updated:February 24, 2017, 9:38 AM IST
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Lewis Hamilton Says F1 Must Embrace Social Media
Lewis Hamilton. (Getty Images)
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Silverstone: Three-time world champion Lewis Hamilton urged Formula One's new rulers Liberty Media to bring the sport up to date on Thursday by opening it up to social media.

The Mercedes driver is a committed user of social media and came under fire last October after messing around on photo app Snapchat during a drivers' press conference prior to the Japanese Grand Prix.

He believes sports like football, the NBA and the NFL harness social media "a lot better" and says allowing drivers to use it more freely would help attract new fans to the sport.

"You're not allowed to do social media, at all," Hamilton told AFP during the Mercedes season launch event at Silverstone.

"I mean, you can take a picture and post it, but (that's it). Everyone has a phone, everyone's on their phone a large portion of the day.

"Everyone wants live, exclusive footage. Something as small as me being in my room, saying, 'Hey guys, I'm getting ready for my session, this is my suit, blah blah blah.'

"Those are things people want to see and I think excluding that is a negative for the sport, so allowing that to happen is going to be great."

This year marks Hamilton's 10th anniversary as an F1 driver and he will embark upon the season with a new team-mate after Valtteri Bottas came in to replace Nico Rosberg.

Rosberg pipped Hamilton to last year's Drivers' Championship before abruptly retiring and with the British driver now 32, he admitted the day he walks away from the sport himself could arrive "soon".

"I don't think about (retiring) a huge amount, but of course I do think about it," Hamilton said.

"At the end of each season and particularly at the beginning of each season, when you're going through the tough training, how fit you are.

"I got in the car today and I was like, 'Ah, I can still drive!' So that's a good thing.

"I really don't know when is going to be the time. It could be soon, it could be far away. That's the exciting thing about life."

Hamilton was speaking after taking his new W08 car for a spin on a damp, blustery day at Silverstone, 80 miles (129 kilometres) northwest of London.

- 'More powerful beast' -
The new car has a black, silver and teal chassis and is lower, wider and heavier than last year's W07, reflecting new design regulations intended to make F1 cars faster and more demanding to drive.

Hamilton described the new car as "the most detailed piece of machinery I have seen in F1" and said it was a "more powerful beast" than last year's car.

Former Williams driver Bottas said: "I've never driven a car with that much downforce."

Hamilton and Rosberg had a notoriously fractious relationship, but Bottas, 27, believes he and his new team-mate can forge a productive partnership.

"We haven't raced yet together and so far it's been good," said the Finn.

"I see no reason why we couldn't work professionally as a good pair of team-mates, race hard but fair on the track and work as a team.

"We'll find out, but I have a good feeling about it."

As well as Rosberg, Mercedes have also lost executive technical director Paddy Lowe, who is expected to join Williams, with James Allison set to arrive from Ferrari to take his place.

But executive director Toto Wolff believes the upheaval could be positive.

"Disruption can be a very positive factor in a company's development," Wolff told a press conference at Silverstone.

"Having Valtteri now in the car is an exciting opportunity for us. In terms of Paddy, it's a little bit the same."

Mercedes will be looking to secure a fourth successive Constructors' Championship when the 2017 season begins at the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne on March 26.

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