Seven-time Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton has been linked with a surprise move to Ferrari for the 2025 season.

Reports in the Italian media have suggested the British driver could leave Mercedes at the end of the upcoming campaign.

Hamilton, 39, has raced for Mercedes since 2013 and signed a contract extension with the team last year.

Formula One boss Mohammed Ben Sulayem has defended historic sexist remarks on his personal website in which he allegedly said he does “not like women who think they are smarter than men” – and revealed that he was subjected to a racist slur as he campaigned to become FIA president.

In a PA news agency interview, the 62-year-old Emirati – elected to the biggest job in motor sport in December 2021 – vehemently denied claims of misogyny and said he had been the target of an “inhuman” smear campaign.

Ben Sulayem also compared Lewis Hamilton’s contentious championship defeat in 2021 to England’s 1966 World Cup final win against West Germany, following Sir Geoff Hurst’s controversial ‘offside’ goal, while reiterating his belief that Michael Masi – the man accused of denying Hamilton a record eighth world title – could return to the sport.

In January, Ben Sulayem was quoted on an archived version of his old website saying that he does “not like women who think they are smarter than men, for they are not in truth”. At the time, the FIA said the comments, which date back to 2001, “do not reflect the president’s beliefs”.

But personally addressing the remarks for the first time, Ben Sulayem told PA: “What did I say, if I said it? Let’s assume it was (me). I tell you exactly what it said. It says: ‘I hate when women think they are smarter than us’. But they hate when men think they are smarter than them.

“Did I say we are smarter? No. Did I say they are less smarter? No. For God’s sake, if that is the only thing they have against me, please be my guest, you can do worse than that.

“People can go back and see what has been said, and if I have said anything against women. In 117 years of the FIA, I am the only president who brought in a female CEO (Natalie Robyn).

“I made the commission for EDI (Equality, Diversity and Inclusion), and I brought a woman in (adviser, Tanya Kutsenko).

“There is disrespect to women if you say we have to have 30 per cent (female staff). You bring them in on merit and credibility. And that is why they are there.

“Look at Bernie Ecclestone’s wife. (Fabiana Ecclestone, Vice-President for Sport in South America). She is one of the most active. They said that I brought her in because of the support from Bernie. But Bernie doesn’t have any connection with any votes. He has no power over them.”

Ben Sulayem took the unprecedented decision to relinquish the day-to-day running of F1 in February after he clashed with the sport’s American owners Liberty Media over the introduction of an 11th team and questioned the valuation of the sport.

A month later his son, Saif, died in a road traffic accident in Dubai. In April, further allegations emerged after the Daily Telegraph reported that Shaila-Ann Rao – the FIA’s former interim secretary general for motorsport – wrote a letter to the governing body accusing Ben Sulayem of sexist behaviour.

“When we opened a position as CEO, Shaila-Ann wanted to be the CEO,” continues Ben Sulayem. “I could not get involved. I said, ‘Shaila, you are good, go through with the process’. We had 150 applications, and everybody went through that process.”

Ben Sulayem then reaches for his phone to reveal a WhatsApp message he claims to be from Rao thanking him for hosting her at the Italian Grand Prix earlier this season.

He adds: “I don’t want to do any comment. But that is from September. Sexism, please! Do they have anything else? Why don’t they come and confront me?”

Ben Sulayem continues: “The attack on me earlier this year was inhuman, with the tragedy that I had. I would love that if I did these things that I was accused of, you sit with me, challenge me and confront me. But don’t fabricate and throw things at me, and then when I tell you to prove it, you run away and don’t come back. That is not the way.”

Asked if he was being targeted, the former rally driver, who is midway through a four-year term, replies: “Yes. Because I am doing the right thing.

“Imagine in my campaign, in Europe, that someone said to me: ‘Don’t ever think we will accept our president of the FIA to be an Arab Muslim with the name of Mohammed’.

“I laughed because I knew how to beat him – by winning. But my Christian team were so upset with him. I said, ‘no, leave it, please, this is something I expect from them’. But can we go back to work? And work for the passion that we love, which is motorsport, and improve it?”

Ben Sulayem succeeded Jean Todt five days after Hamilton was sensationally denied a record eighth world title at the 2021 season finale in Abu Dhabi.

Race referee Masi’s failure to imply the correct rules left Hamilton at the mercy of Max Verstappen. The Dutchman took the championship in the desert before quickly racking up another two titles in his all-conquering Red Bull. Hamilton has not won a race since.

A subsequent FIA investigation blamed “human error” before Masi was removed from his post. However, the governing body stopped short of a public apology to Hamilton.

“I always apologise, but I cannot apologise for something which was done before my time,” said Ben Sulayem. “OK, I will do the apology, but I will bring Michael Masi again. Do you think that is right?

“The poor guy is a person who has been attacked and abused. Michael Masi went through hell. Hell! And if I see there is an opportunity that the FIA needs, and Michael Masi is the right person, I will bring him.

“I even had people threatening me to kill me because I had the power to change it (the result). But I said to them: ‘Sorry, the World Cup of 1966, England against Germany, was that correct? Did they change it? No.’ Did they give it to Germany? Nein.”

Formula One’s Las Vegas gamble came up trumps with one of the best shows of the season as Max Verstappen – chief critic of the £500million race – claimed victory on Saturday night.

Here, the PA news agency dissects the key questions surrounding F1’s maiden extravaganza in Sin City.

Did the Las Vegas Grand Prix live up to the hype?

Formula One bosses were in crisis management mode in the early hours of Friday morning. First practice had been abandoned after eight minutes, and the delayed second running – which finished at 4am – was played out in front of empty grandstands.

It was a catastrophic look for the event which F1 had billed for months as the greatest show on Earth.

By the close of Saturday’s thrill-a-minute 50-lap race – which saw the lead change hand on five occasions – F1 chiefs were celebrating a triumph.

Sin City had delivered on the hype, providing a 48-hour turnaround to savour for the sport’s relieved American owners’ Liberty Media.

What went wrong in practice?

A faulty drain cover tore a hole through Carlos Sainz’s Ferrari. First practice was scrapped and fans were kicked out after witnessing only a handful of laps.

F1 chief executive Stefano Domenicali stopped short of an apology, while the organisers did not offer a refund, but a 200 US dollar (£160) voucher to spend on merchandise instead.

The goodwill offer, which largely went down like a lead balloon, did not take into consideration money spent on flights and hotels.

A lawsuit has since been filed seeking damages for the 35,000 spectators who were left feeling aggrieved.

What were the other gripes?

The scheduling on the Strip left much to be desired. Following the 4am finish to Thursday night’s delayed practice, qualifying concluded just after 1am, with Justin Bieber waving the chequered flag on Saturday’s race shortly before midnight.

A jet-lagged paddock was forced to adjust to an effective Japanese time zone on America’s west coast. For three straight days, weary mechanics downed tools as the sun rose before they were required to return to the track only a handful of hours later.

The travelling circus will now head to Abu Dhabi – a mind-boggling time swing of 12 hours – to do it all again for the sport’s fifth race in six frantic weeks.

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner did not mince his words when he said: “Everybody’s leaving Vegas slightly f*****.”

Will F1 make changes?

The sport is already locked into a 24-round calendar next season which sees the Qatar Grand Prix immediately follow the race in Vegas.

The running on the Strip took place at unsociable hours to avoid road closures during the day.

F1 executives will need to reach an agreement with the city to bring forward the track schedule for its future visits.

So, was it a success?

Verstappen spent much of the weekend pouring scorn over the event, labelling it “99 per cent show and one per cent sport”. He also likened it to English football’s National League.

But even prior to the triple world champion’s derisory comments, there had been plenty of negativity – much of it unwarranted.

A former F1 driver said he had been bamboozled as to why the event was proving so unpopular before an engine had been fired up in anger.

Of course, the celebrity-fuelled razzmatazz isn’t for everyone – particularly F1’s traditionalists – but there is little doubt that the race captured Vegas’ imagination.

And as F1 continues to build on its sudden popularity surge across the Pond, Las Vegas – whether Verstappen likes it or not – will remain front and centre of Liberty’s plans.

Lewis Hamilton hailed his 100th victory as a “magical moment” following a dramatic Russian Grand Prix, on this day in 2021.

Lando Norris, 21, looked set to knock Hamilton off his perch as the youngest Briton to win a Formula One race after a composed and mature drive at Sochi’s Olympic Park.

But the McLaren star was cruelly denied his first triumph when the arrival of rain with just seven laps remaining turned the race on its head.

Norris stayed out on slick rubber but the gamble backfired. Hamilton stopped for wet tyres and crossed the line 53 seconds clear of rival Max Verstappen to bring up his landmark win, 14 years and 108 days after his first triumph in Montreal, Canada in just his sixth race.

“It has taken a long time to get to 100 and I wasn’t even sure if it would come,” said Hamilton, then 36.

“It is a magical moment. I could only have dreamed of still being here, to have this opportunity to win these races, and to drive with such phenomenal talents this late on in my career.

“I am so proud of everything we have done with Mercedes, on and off the track, and this is a special moment for everyone that has been part of it.”

Hamilton’s landmark victory took him nine clear of Michael Schumacher in the all-time standings and gave him the advantage over Max Verstappen in the title race.

But the Dutchman ultimately pipped Hamilton in a controversial season finale after the British driver extended his win record to 103, with his last success coming in Saudi Arabia.

Max Verstappen produced another emphatic performance to complete a home win for Red Bull at the Austrian Grand Prix.

The double world champion was made to work for his seventh victory from nine rounds so far after he passed Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz on track.

But after manoeuvring himself ahead of both Ferrari drivers, Verstappen raced off into the distance to the delight of his 70,000-strong travelling army from Netherlands.

Leclerc crossed the line five seconds behind Verstappen in Spielberg, with Sergio Perez recovering from his lowly grid slot of 15th to finish third. The Mexican fought his way past Sainz with 10 laps remaining following a nip-and-tuck duel.

Sainz took fourth after he served five-second penalty for exceeding track limits.

The Spaniard was among six of the 20-strong field to be sanctioned by race director Niels Wittich, with Lewis Hamilton also punished.

Hamilton finished an underwhelming seventh, while Lando Norris ended the day in fifth to record his best result of a difficult season for his under-performing McLaren team. Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso finished between Norris and Hamilton.

George Russell made up three places from his starting spot of 11th to finish eighth.

Verstappen heads Perez in the standings by 81 points – the equivalent of more than three victories – heading into next weekend’s British Grand Prix.

A day after taking the sprint race spoils, Verstappen was celebrating his fifth consecutive win on his unstoppable march to a hat-trick of world titles.

Verstappen fended off an aggressive Leclerc on the opening lap before he fell to third after the Ferrari drivers stopped for tyres under the Virtual Safety Car.

It ended Verstappen’s run of 249 consecutive laps at the head of the field. However, the Dutchman required just 11 laps before he was back in charge.

After he left the pits on lap 25, Verstappen moved ahead of Sainz a couple of laps later, and then fought his way past Leclerc on lap 35 of 71.

From there, the Dutchman cruised to the flag – even stopping for tyres on the penultimate lap in order to set the fastest lap and take a bonus point.

“We did not pit during the Virtual Safety Car,” said Verstappen. “We followed our strategy and that worked out well. It was a great day and I enjoyed it a lot.”

Asked about the prospect of taking his third straight title, Verstappen said: “I don’t like to think about that yet.

“I am enjoying the moment. We have done a good job all weekend and a lot of things went right for us. I am happy and now I will focus on Silverstone.”

For Hamilton, the seven-time world champion endured a difficult day in his Mercedes.

Hamilton started fifth and leapfrogged Norris at the start of the race, but soon faced the wrath of the stewards for putting all four wheels of his Mercedes over the white line.

A black-and-white warning flag was served to Hamilton before he was hit with a five-second penalty on lap 17.

Sainz, Alex Albon, Pierre Gasly and Logan Sargeant were also handed five-second penalties, while Yuki Tsunoda saw his initial five-second sanction upgraded to 10 for driving off the track.

Hamilton served his penalty at his second pit stop on lap 43, dropping him to eighth place. He moved up one spot when Gasly stopped for tyres but he failed to make any impression on Aston Martin’s Alonso.

The Briton was on the radio several times asking why other drivers had not been penalised.

Team principal Toto Wolff first came on with a word of encouragement for his superstar driver.

“They are all going to get penalties in front of you, Lewis.” he said.” Keep going.”

But following another frustrated radio message from Hamilton, Wolff was back on to his driver with a firmer message.

“The car is bad, we know,” said Wolff to the Briton: “Please drive it.”

Hamilton finished 39.1 seconds behind Verstappen and is no closer to ending his 18-month losing streak in Formula One.

Christian Horner fears the Monaco Grand Prix will be “left behind” unless drastic changes are made to Formula One’s most famous track – as rain saved another procession in the principality on Sunday.

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen led every lap to win for a second time in Monte Carlo, extending his championship lead to 39 points after six rounds.

Aston Martin driver Fernando Alonso took second place, with Alpine’s Esteban Ocon third. Lewis Hamilton and George Russell finished fourth and fifth respectively for Mercedes.

Sergio Perez, Verstappen’s closest title challenger, endured a horror show. He started last and finished 16th after five pit stops, and multiple collisions with different competitors, and the walls that wind their way round the two-mile course.

For 51 laps, the race was a dud. Verstappen saw off Alonso on the short run to Sainte Devote and the major players followed round one by one.

The rain enlivened the predictable spectacle. Carlos Sainz slid off and kissed the wall at Mirabeau in his Ferrari, while Russell and Perez made contact after the Mercedes man rejoined the track following an error, also at the rain-soaked Mirabeau corner.

Lance Stroll hit the barriers twice and Haas’ calamitous decision to keep Kevin Magnussen on slick tyres backfired as the Dane crunched the wall at Rascasse.

But take away the sodden race track, and the top dozen were on course to take the chequered flag in the order they started.

And even with the downpour, Verstappen, Alonso and Ocon, who started first, second and third, finished first, second and third.

“It was an exceptionally boring race until the rain came down,” was Russell’s damning verdict.

Red Bull team principal Horner, fresh from celebrating his team’s sixth win from as many races, picked up the debate.

“It’s Monaco and it’s here for its history and its uniqueness,” he said. “But the problem is that the cars are so big now.

“All venues have to evolve a little and if there was just one area where you could create space for an overtake it would just give that chance, because so much weight is placed on qualifying. The race is won or lost on Saturday.

“I am sure that with the creativeness there is and the amount of land they are reclaiming here, there’s got to be the opportunity to introduce a bigger braking zone.

“Maybe make Turn 1 a little sharper or slower, or extend the circuit if there is the opportunity to add in another kilometre that included a hairpin – that would be phenomenal.

“It’s something to contemplate because when you think of the next 20 years of Monaco you don’t want to see it left behind.

“It earns its place on the calendar. It’s the jewel in the crown in many respects, but as the sport continues to move forward you can’t stand still, and Monaco needs to be part of that process.”

Despite being considered among the most glamorous events in world sport, the Monaco track has remain largely unchanged from the first grand prix staged in 1929, and some have claimed it is no longer fit for purpose in its current guise.

F1 bosses have looked at ways to adapt the tight and twisty layout, but have made little progress.

Verstappen kept his composure in the changeable conditions, and even survived a bump with the wall when the rain landed at Portier, to take his 39th win for Red Bull, surpassing Sebastian Vettel’s record of 38 victories for the grid’s all-conquering team.

“If you have a good car you can break these numbers,” said Verstappen.

“I never thought I would be in this position in my career. Growing up, I wanted to be a Formula One driver and I am now winning these races. It is amazing and better than I could have ever imagined.”

Max Verstappen said he is targeted by Formula One’s boo brigade because they are jealous of him winning.

Verstappen landed a third victory of the season with a fine drive from ninth at Sunday’s Miami Grand Prix to extend his championship lead to 14 points over Red Bull team-mate Sergio Perez.

The double world champion was heckled as he was introduced on the grid in the moments before the race, and then also on the podium as he was presented with his winner’s trophy.

But a typically bullish Verstappen said: “If I am driving at the back nobody will be doing anything in terms of a reaction.

“It is normal when you are winning and they don’t like who is winning. This is something which is absolutely fine for me as long as I stand on the top step of the podium.

“That is the most important thing. I take the trophy home and they can go back to their houses and have a nice evening.”

Verstappen was jeered during the pre-race razzmatazz which involved American rapper LL Cool J acting as Master of Ceremonies and conducting an orchestra.

It is understood the pre-race show seen in Miami will only take place at certain events, possibly eight in all, this season.

George Russell called the spectacle “distracting” and Verstappen was also not a fan.

“Some people like to be more in the spotlight, and some people don’t,” said Verstappen. “Personally I don’t. So for me, what they did was not necessary.

“I prefer just to talk to my engineers, walk to my car, put the helmet on and drive. I understand the entertainment value, but I hope we don’t have this at every single race, because we have a very long season ahead of us, and we don’t need to enter like that every time.”

Fernando Alonso, who finished third behind Verstappen and Perez to claim his fourth podium this season, disagreed that the pre-race introductions should only be reserved for certain races.

The 41-year-old Spaniard said: “If we do it here, we have to do it everywhere because I don’t think the Miami fans are better than the Italian fans in Imola or in Spain or in Mexico or in Japan.”

However, seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton, whose arrival on the grid was greeted with huge cheers, said: “Formula One is trying new things and trying to improve the show and I am in full support of that.

“I grew up listening to LL Cool J, and LL Cool J was there. You look over and is there, too, and he is an incredible artist. I thought it was cool.”

Max Verstappen hailed his victory at the Miami Grand Prix as “simply f****** lovely” after he beat Sergio Perez and the boo brigade to extend his world championship lead.

Verstappen was jeered before and after the race, as he celebrated a triumph that moves him 14 points clear of team-mate Perez, who finished second.

Fernando Alonso was third for Aston Martin. George Russell and Lewis Hamilton finished fourth and sixth for Mercedes.

Verstappen divides opinion in the sport and he was targeted by the Hard Rock Stadium crowd as he was presented on the grid ahead of the 57-lap race by rapper LL Cool J.

But the boos did not faze the double world champion as he raced from ninth on the grid to top spot to claim his third win from five rounds.

“Simply f****** lovely,” said Verstappen on the radio before he was also jeered on the podium as he collected his winner’s trophy.

Verstappen added: “It was a good race. I stayed out of trouble in the beginning. I had a good battle with Checo and we kept it clean and that was the most important thing. A great win today.

“Yesterday was a setback in qualifying but today we kept it calm and clean and winning a race from ninth is always very satisfying.”

Verstappen, who started on a different strategy to team-mate and pole-sitter Perez, was up to second on lap 15. He stopped for tyres with a dozen laps to go and then cruised into the lead by out-braking Perez at the opening corner on lap 48.

Perez said: “I gave it my all. The first stint was poor and that compromised my race.

“Max was particularly good today so a well-deserved win for him. We need to analyse what happened today because I didn’t have the pace.”

Max Verstappen overcame the boo brigade and Sergio Perez to win the Miami Grand Prix and extend his world championship lead.

Verstappen was subjected to a chorus of jeers by the 90,000-strong crowd at the Hard Rock Stadium as the sport’s drivers were introduced by rapper LL Cool J for Sunday’s 57-lap race.

But the double world champion put his poor reception to one side by racing from ninth on the grid to pass Perez with nine laps remaining and take his third win from five rounds.

Verstappen increased his championship lead from six points to 14.

Fernando Alonso completed the podium places with George Russell fourth. Lewis Hamilton finished sixth after starting 13th.

Sunday’s race marked the first of three to be staged in the United States this season, with Austin’s grand prix at the Circuit of the Americas and a debut event on the Las Vegas strip to follow later in the year.

And the event here in the Sunshine State was sprinkled with stardust for a show-stopping pre-race grid.

Actor Vin Diesel, singer Shakira, influencer-boxer Jake Paul, Serena Williams, Venus Williams and Roger Federer – with 50 tennis Grand Slam titles between them – watched on as conducted an orchestra and LL Cool J assumed his role as Master of Ceremonies. Only in America.

On came the 20 drivers and the biggest cheers were reserved for Hamilton, Alonso and Perez, backed by a large contingent of Mexican fans. But Verstappen, last on to the stage, was booed.

Verstappen, by now in the sanctuary of his flying Red Bull machine, had moved up to eighth at the end of lap one, as pole-sitter Perez held off Alonso on the charge to the opening corner.

Verstappen then blasted his way past Charles Leclerc and Kevin Magnussen in his DRS-assisted Red Bull to take sixth at the start of lap four.

Further behind, Hamilton appeared in trouble after making light contact with Nico Hulkenberg at the first corner.

“I don’t know if we are going to last in this race,” he said, fearing his front wing was broken.

Up front, Verstappen was still on the move.

On lap eight he passed Russell under braking at Turn 17 for fifth place, which became fourth the next time round following a carbon-copy move on Pierre Gasly.

Verstappen sped past Carlos Sainz on lap 14 at Turn 11 and then Alonso on lap 15 to take second place with team-mate Perez 3.7 sec up the road.

In came Perez on lap 20 for fresh rubber with a 1.2 sec lead over Verstappen. The Dutchman, who started on the harder, more durable rubber stayed out.

Despite his earlier worries, Hamilton was able to continue but he was failing to make headway and on lap 32 he was ushered aside for team-mate Russell.

Hamilton, on a different strategy after starting seven places behind his team-mate, resisted at first before allowing his team-mate through.

“Thank you very much,” said Russell over the radio. “Very much appreciated.” Hamilton made his sole tyre stop on lap 37, dropping back to 13th.

Russell did not appear fazed in a machine team principal Toto Wolff described as “a nasty piece of work”, and on lap 39 he was up to fourth after fighting his way past Sainz.

“That is how we roll,” said the celebrating Briton.

Verstappen finally stopped for new tyres on lap 45 and he emerged from the pits just 1.2 sec behind Perez.

Verstappen was soon all over Perez’s Red Bull gearbox and he made his first move at Turn 17 only for his team-mate to defend the left hander.

But Perez’s defence made him vulnerable on the main straight with Verstappen jinking to his team-mate’s left and making the move stick at the first corner on lap 48.

Verstappen crossed the line 5.3 sec clear of Perez.

Hamilton, like Verstappen, started on the more durable hard rubber and the strategy also worked for the seven-time world champion as he made up a number of positions in the closing stages – including the scalp of Leclerc with two laps to run – to salvage sixth.

Miami Grand Prix bosses are in talks with Formula One about staging the race at night.

The event which runs round the Hard Rock Stadium – home of NFL’s Miami Dolphins – joined the calendar last season on a 10-year deal.

Sunday’s race is the first of three to be staged in the United States this year, with a debut event on the Las Vegas strip in November, while Austin’s grand prix at the Circuit of the Americas has been a permanent fixture on the F1 schedule since 2012.

The round in Vegas will take place under lights, and Miami Dolphins chief executive Tom Garfinkel revealed on Sunday that his race could transform to a night event.

“We have had some discussions about a night race and potentially doing that and what it would look like,” said Garfinkel.

“There are a lot of factors that go into that with F1 and television so we have to weigh all those things up, but we are certainly open-minded.”

The race in Florida is set to be sprinkled with stardust. Twitter and Tesla CEO Elon Musk, actor Vin Diesel, singer Shakira, former Manchester City forward Sergio Aguero, influencer-boxer Jake Paul, former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson, and tennis greats Serena Williams and Roger Federer are just some of the names on Sunday’s glitzy guestlist.

“The celebrity attendance is pretty remarkable,” added Garfinkel. “It shows the relevance of Formula One and how popular the sport is right now.

“The sort of wealth, CEO and celebrity factor, is like nothing I have ever seen at another sporting event.”

Lewis Hamilton has been warned by former rival Felipe Massa that it will be a gamble to leave Mercedes.

Hamilton’s contract with the Silver Arrows is up for renewal at the end of the year.

It is expected that the 38-year-old will extend his stay with the team which has carried him to six of his record-equalling seven world championships.

However, Mercedes’ indifferent start to the new campaign has led some to question as to whether Hamilton could shop around, with Ferrari a possible destination.

Speaking ahead of Sunday’s race at Miami’s Hard Rock Stadium, team principal Toto Wolff described Hamilton’s unruly Mercedes as “a nasty piece of work”.

But Massa, who was at the Italian team for eight seasons and lost out to Hamilton by a single championship point in 2008, said: “Anything is possible, but I have doubts that it will happen.

“The relationship Lewis has with Mercedes is strong and to change that for Ferrari he would need to be sure what he is going to get.

“Ferrari have not proved they have the car to win the championship. Going there would be a bit of a gamble. If he cannot go to Red Bull, which is impossible with Max [Verstappen] there, I would stay at Mercedes.”

Hamilton will be 39 in January but the Briton appears determined to win a record eighth title.

In Miami, he even raised the prospect of racing into his fifties.

Massa, 42, who retired from the sport in 2017, said: “When I go to run I suffer more than when I was 30 or 25.

“The age will come to Lewis but he still has some years in front of him and you see what Fernando [Alonso, 41] is doing at Aston Martin. Lewis just doesn’t have the car, but maybe that will change.”

George Russell has told Max Verstappen he is ready to draw a line under their X-rated row at the recent Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

Verstappen called Russell a “d***head” following a heated confrontation after they collided on the opening lap of the sprint race.

Verstappen also labelled Russell a “Princess” in a subsequent interview with Dutch media.

But speaking ahead of this weekend’s race in Miami, Russell said: “I will continue racing the same way as I always would.

“A lot has been said about that coming together, but from my side it was very straightforward.

“I went for a move, I got the move done, and moved on. Obviously he was pretty upset about it, but that is racing and these things happen. We are all here to fight. That is what F1 is all about.”

Russell revealed he has not spoken to Verstappen since they clashed in Baku.

However, the British driver continued: “There is no air to be cleared. I will welcome, and say ‘hello’ to him if he passes by. I am sure we will shake hands when we bump into each other.

“For me, it is history now and it is behind us. My views are still the same. I respect him and think he is a great driver. Things are said in the heat of the moment, but we move on.”

Asked about his relationship with Russell, Verstappen sarcastically said: “It is terrible”, before adding: “No, it is absolutely fine.”

F1 is back in the Sunshine State for the second time, and the first of three races to be staged in the United States this year.

A debut event on the Las Vegas strip will take place in November, while Austin’s grand prix at the Circuit of the Americas has been a permanent fixture on the F1 schedule since 2012.

“It is a dream for us to be in Miami and in the United States,” said Lewis Hamilton.

“They have the Miami Heat and the Miami Dolphins, too.

“They are massive sporting fans here so to be in such an important city like Miami where sport is huge – and now Formula One is part of that – it is great to see.

“For such a huge country, it is amazing that we finally have three races here. The difficult thing with Formula One is that you usually visit a country once a year. But the growth has been huge and it is such a big market for the sport.”

Hamilton finished sixth in Azerbaijan last weekend and he is already 45 points behind championship leader Verstappen.

The 38-year-old’s contract with Mercedes expires at the end of the season but there are suggestions from both camps is that Hamilton will agree a new deal.

Hamilton’s former McLaren team-mate and 2009 world champion Jenson Button said this week that he cannot envisage his compatriot walking away from the sport.

“I just want to get back to the front,” continued seven-time world champion Hamilton.

“That is what I am working on – trying to get this team back to the front.”

Lewis Hamilton said it is a “dream” to be in Miami ahead of the city’s second Formula One race this weekend.

The sport is back in the Sunshine State for the fifth round of the new campaign, which marks the first of three races to be staged in the United States this year.

A debut event on the Las Vegas strip will take place in November, while Austin’s grand prix at the Circuit of the Americas has been a permanent fixture on the F1 schedule since 2012.

“It is a dream for us to be in Miami and in the United States,” said seven-time world champion Hamilton.

“They have the Miami Heat and the Miami Dolphins, too.

“They are massive sporting fans here so to be in such an important city like Miami where sport is huge – and now Formula One is part of that – it is great to see.

“For such a huge country, it is amazing that we finally have three races here. The difficult thing with Formula One is that you usually visit a country once a year. But the growth has been huge and it is such a big market for the sport.”

Hamilton finished sixth at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix last weekend and he is already 45 points behind championship leader Max Verstappen.

The 38-year-old’s contract with Mercedes expires at the end of the season.

But the noise coming out from both camps is that Hamilton will agree a new deal.

Hamilton’s former McLaren team-mate, and 2009 world champion Jenson Button, said this week that he cannot envisage his compatriot walking away from the sport.

“I just want to get back to the front,” continued Hamilton, who was speaking at an IWC sponsorship event in Miami.

“That is what I am working on – trying to get this team back to the front.”

Jenson Button believes Lewis Hamilton will sign a new deal with Mercedes because he remains “hungry” to win his record eighth world championship.

Speaking before the start of the season, Button, the 2009 world champion, suggested Hamilton will only extend his contract – which expires at the end of the year – if Mercedes can provide him with a winning car.

Hamilton finished sixth last weekend in Azerbaijan and already trails championship leader Max Verstappen by 45 after just four rounds, with the Dutchman’s Red Bull team in a league of their own this year.

However, Button, 43, said: “I don’t think Lewis is going to walk away from the sport.

“As a racing driver, if you have been winning for so long and then you are suddenly not, you want to fight back to winning ways. You are not going to retire.

“If you are in a bad car for many years, you want to retire because it just gets you down, but Lewis is not in a bad car. He is just in a car that is not as good as what he has been used to, and I get that.

“But he knows the strength of the team, he knows how quick he still is, so he is going to work with this team to get back to fighting with Red Bull, and they will.

“It probably won’t be this year, but in 2024, we will see Lewis on the grid. He is still hungry to win another world championship.”

Verstappen remains the overwhelming favourite to win his third consecutive title despite Sergio Perez moving to within six points of his Red Bull team-mate after winning the sprint race and Grand Prix in Baku.

And Button said another victory at Sunday’s Miami Grand Prix will fuel Perez with confidence that he can beat Verstappen to the title.

“I’ve been really impressed with Sergio,” added Button.

“Max has to be the toughest team-mate because he just goes out there and gets it done.

“Consistency is where Sergio has been lacking, but if he can do it in Miami, which like Baku is a street race, too, he has a chance to fight for the championship.

“I didn’t think I would be saying that, I really didn’t, but it is good for the sport. Red Bull has an advantage at the moment and we need both of them to be fighting it out.”

Sergio Perez warned Max Verstappen he will fight to win the world championship after beating his Red Bull team-mate to victory in Sunday’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

The Mexican driver took advantage of an early safety car to pit for new tyres and leapfrog Verstappen before controlling the race to win for a second time this year.

Red Bull are the dominant force in Formula One and Perez’s Baku triumph was the team’s 14th win from their last 15 outings.

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, who finished third on Sunday, was 21 seconds behind. Lewis Hamilton, sixth for Mercedes, was an eye-watering 46 seconds down the road.

Such is the superiority of his Red Bull machine, Verstappen is still expected to cruise to his third title, but Perez’s victory here breathes fresh life into this year’s title battle.

Perez, who also won Saturday’s sprint race, is now just six points behind Verstappen in the standings after four rounds.

“It is a long year ahead, but I really believe I am in the fight,” said Perez, who dropped points last time out in Australia following a qualifying horror show.

“I wouldn’t say today’s race was my best ever, but it was just very good. I pushed from start to the end without mistakes. When you do that, you believe you can beat anyone so it is just about keeping it up throughout the season.

“I only regret the problems we had in Melbourne that made us lose a lot of points. Without that, I could have been closer in the championship.”

Perez was lauded by his race engineer, Hugh Bird, as the “King of the Streets” after he crossed the line 2.1 sec clear of Verstappen.

The 33-year-old’s victory was his second in Azerbaijan – no other driver has won in Baku more than once – while he has also taken the chequered flag at street venues in Jeddah in March, and Monaco and Singapore last year. Next Sunday’s Miami Grand Prix is also on a street course.

Verstappen would have expected to extend his title lead after blasting past pole-sitter Leclerc on the third lap. But his race fell apart when Nyck de Vries crashed out at the fourth corner.

Verstappen pulled in for new tyres but just moments later the safety car was deployed with De Vries’ broken AlphaTauri needing to be cleared.

With the field running at a controlled speed, Perez was able to stop for rubber and retain the lead.

Verstappen fell from first to third, later re-passing Leclerc, but never threatening to reel in his team-mate.

“I want to win this world championship as much as Max does but there is a lot of respect between us,” added Perez.

“We are very similar in the way we approach the sport so I do not believe our relationship will change.”

Verstappen added: “It is a very long season so it is all about consistency.

“Sergio has really been on it this year and performing well and that is great. He is feeling confident in the car.

“You need to acknowledge and appreciate when somebody has done a great job and that is what happened today. We will fight for the rest of the season.”

Like Verstappen, a pre-safety car change of tyres also cost Hamilton. The British driver dropped from fifth to 10th once the order had shuffled out.

He drove well to move up to sixth, pressing Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz to the flag – at one stage calling on his Mercedes team to provide him with “more power” – but he was unable to find a way past. Hamilton is pinning his hopes on a Mercedes upgrade, expected at Imola on May 21.

“This result is all we can ask for right now,” said the seven-time world champion. “Hopefully the upgrades will put us in the fight. We are counting down the days and weeks until then.”

Fernando Alonso finished fourth for Aston Martin, while George Russell, called a “d***head” by Verstappen following their first-lap collision in Saturday’s shortened race, came home in eighth.

McLaren’s Lando Norris claimed two points after he crossed the line in ninth.

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