Sunday, 19 November, 2017

Mercedes team robbed at gunpoint in Brazil

F1 2017 Brazilian Grand Prix Preview Hamilton leads Mercedes 1-2 in Brazil FP1
Spencer Simpson | 12 November, 2017, 01:09

The current F1 champione-elect tweeted that some of his crewmembers were, "held up at gun point" as the team minibus was leaving the Interlagos circuit in São Paulo on Friday night.

Hamilton turned in a fastest lap time of 1:09.202 - a new track record at the Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace - to finish one-tenth of a second clear of Bottas at the head of the field as both Ferrari and Red Bull struggled to put up any kind of fight in FP1.

Hold-ups are a known risk for teams in Sao Paulo and around the Interlagos circuit, with drivers travelling to and from their hotels with police escorts and in cars with bulletproof protection. One of the team had a gun held to their head, Hamilton said.

"This is so upsetting to hear". In a statement, Mercedes said, "Valuables were stolen but everybody is safe and uninjured which is the main thing".

Bottas refused to be rattled by either Hamilton's accident or the searing speed of Sebastian Vettel, and he held off the Ferrari to top the session by the narrowest of margins - just 0.038s - and clinch the third pole of his F1 career.

This is not the first time that such an incident has transpired.

Hamilton's fellow Brit Jenson Button escaped a "terrifying" armed attack on his auto in the same city in 2010.

Hamilton then added: "This happens every single year here".

Hamilton called on Formula One and the teams to "do more".

A Mercedes team member was also robbed at gunpoint in Mexico previous year while travelling by auto from the airport to his hotel.

"It feels good", said Bottas, who also took pole at the Azerbaijan and Austrian Grands Prix earlier this season. The same evening, three Sauber engineers were robbed at gunpoint though but managed to escape unhurt.

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