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Lewis Hamilton relieved to be leaving Saudi Arabia as terror attack throws Jeddah future into doubt

Lewis Hamilton admitted on Sunday evening he was “so happy” to be getting out of Saudi Arabia after a horror weekend for the game and for him personally.

Mercedes’ seven-time world champion suffered his worst qualifying efficiency for 13 years on Saturday, failing to make it out of Q1. And whereas he battled again in Sunday’s race, rising from fifteenth on the grid to sixth at one level, the deployment of a late security automotive hindered him, sending him again down the sector.

Hamilton finally completed tenth, dropping to fifth within the drivers’ championship, 29 factors behind Ferrari’s early chief Charles Leclerc.

Asked about his title prospects at this early stage of the season, Hamilton was dismissive.

“Right now we’re not fighting for the top step,” he stated. “We’re so far off the guys up ahead. We’ve got a lot of work to do. We need more grip and we need more power.”

Hamilton did say that one optimistic to come out of the race was the truth that his W13 didn’t endure any ‘porpoising’ – bouncing up and down at excessive pace – which has been a characteristic of Mercedes’ begin to the season.

But he stated Mercedes had been to date behind Ferrari and Red Bull by way of efficiency it was of little comfort. “We’re still really down on the speed trace,” he stated. “I don’t know what it is. It’s not just one fix. There are several things. I don’t know how much drag we have relative to the others but it feels like a lot. It [the title race] feels like a long way away.”

Asked whether or not he was relieved the weekend was over, given the terror attack on a close-by oil refinery on Friday which practically resulted in a driver boycott, Hamilton didn’t conceal his emotions. “I’m so happy the weekend’s done,” stated the 37 year-old who is known to have been one of the crucial vocal dissenting voices.

“I’m also so happy that everyone is safe. I’m looking forward to going home. I just want to go home.”

Discussions are anticipated to happen with groups and drivers over the approaching weeks with regard to the future of the race, which started a 15-year deal final season price round £50m per year to the game.

Formula 1 is predicted to share extra particulars with groups about precisely what measures had been in place to safe the occasion and what extra may be executed within the future, in an effort to reassure them.

And most drivers and crew principals had been toeing the celebration line on Sunday evening. “There are a lot of lessons which have been learnt from this weekend,” Red Bull principal Christian Horner stated. “As a collective Formula 1 needs to sit down and discuss what we’ve learnt.”

Asked whether or not the game would be again subsequent year, Horner added: “That’s a question for Stefano [Domenicali, F1 CEO] and the FIA.”

Mercedes crew principal Toto Wolff, in the meantime, stated he felt the game had had a optimistic impact on the nation.

“I have been here for five years,” he stated. “I have seen change. But there is so much more to do. I mean a lot.”

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