Lewis Hamilton claims Formula One is trying to slow down Mercedes amid plans to ban the use of high-power modes in qualifying, though the world champion is not concerned.

A ban on powerful engine settings used specifically for qualifying has been flagged, with the FIA warning teams it intends to clamp down on the mode from the next round of the championship – the Belgian Grand Prix.

As Hamilton, who has won three races this season to be 30 points clear in the drivers' championship, prepares for Sunday's Spanish Grand Prix, the defending champion addressed the change.

"It's not a surprise, they are always trying to slow us down," Hamilton said. "But it doesn't really change a huge amount for us, so it's not a problem.

"At the end of the day the guys at our team have done such a great job with the engine.

"This is obviously to slow us down but I don't think they will get the result that they want. But that's totally fine if they do."

FIA secretary general Peter Bayer wants engines to run in a single mode throughout the race, removing the adjustability of power between practice and qualifying.

Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas added: "We are not panicking about it. The first thing that came to my mind was that in races every team has different modes how much they want to risk [the engine].

"If there was the same engine mode for everyone there could be less overtaking because everyone is just running same modes rather than playing with them and sometimes using more or less power."

Sebastian Vettel is adamant there is no tension in the Ferrari ranks despite enduring a difficult start to his final campaign with the team.

While Charles Leclerc sits fourth in the Formula One drivers' standings following impressive back-to-back races at Silverstone, former world champion Vettel finds himself in 13th.

The German was in poor form at the British circuit, qualifying far behind his team-mate before taking just one point from the two races, with the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix a particularly difficult one for Vettel.

After spinning on his own at the first corner, Vettel appeared to have been angered by team strategy to leave him in 11th place compared to Leclerc's fourth-placed finish.

However, Vettel, who was been linked with a move to Racing Point, refuted the suggestion tensions were increasing between himself and Ferrari.

"I don't agree with the statement. I think we're trying to do everything we can," he said ahead of the Spanish Grand Prix.

"Obviously it's never relaxed if things don't go your way or they go wrong, so naturally I think if you judge just the emotions right after the race or during the race, then I don't think that's a fair reflection of what actually is going on, hence why I would tend to disagree.

"I didn't have a great race, we tried to come back up and we could have opted for maybe a different strategy but we didn't.

"We've talked about it, sorted it out and moved on, so there's not much difference in terms of climate compared to the week before, or even before that.

"I've been in a happier place. I love, obviously, fighting at the front. I love winning and feeling that you can achieve great results and that we haven't done yet.

"Overall if you sum it up, it's not the best season start that I ever had, but I wouldn't go as far as frustration."

Vettel heads to Barcelona with a new SF1000 chassis, though he is not anticipating it will make too much difference.

"Only time can tell [if it's better]," he added.

"The thinking behind it is that we changed it because the other one was broken. We found a little crack after the weekend in Silverstone and it's back to get repaired.

"We will see. I don't expect miracles, but hopefully I'll have a smoother weekend and a smoother race on Sunday."

Sergio Perez believes rumours linking Sebastian Vettel with a move to Racing Point will soon disappear.

Four-time Formula One champion Vettel is without a team for 2021 after Ferrari opted not to renew his contract.

At the British Grand Prix, the German was pictured bumping elbows with Racing Point owner Lawrence Stroll – the father of Perez's team-mate Lance Stroll – and sharing a ride in team principal Otmar Szafnauer's Ferrari.

However, Perez, who will return to the paddock at this weekend's Spanish Grand Prix after missing the previous two races due to positive coronavirus tests, has no concerns about his future with the team.

"With the rumours of Sebastian, I think there's nothing I can do," said Perez.

"What I've heard from the team is that we all want to keep going, to continue. So I believe it's just a matter of time before those rumours can go away."

Asked if he had spoken to the team about a seat for 2021, he replied: "No, not really, given that my position with the team looks quite secure.

"That's the feeling that I've been getting. We are fully on this package, and we want to continue as well."

Vettel's interactions with two high-ranking people at Racing Point did not make Perez feel that his seat was in jeopardy.

"I think Otmar, he's a very proud Ferrari owner!" Perez said.

"What do I make of it? Nothing. I think everyone is free to do what they want, especially outside the racing.

"Between the elbow with Lawrence, nothing really to say. I don't make anything of it."

Sergio Perez will return for Racing Point at the Spanish Grand Prix after testing negative for COVID-19.

Mexican driver Perez was unable to take part in the British Grand Prix or 70th Anniversary Grand Prix over the past two weekends due to positive coronavirus tests.

Nico Hulkenberg filled in at Silverstone, but it was confirmed on Thursday that Perez will be back in his seat in Barcelona.

"We're pleased to share the news that Perez has tested negative for COVID-19," Racing Point said in a statement.

"The FIA have confirmed that 'Checo' [Perez] can return to the F1 paddock and he will compete for the team in this weekend's Spanish Grand Prix."

Speaking prior to the announcement, Perez said: "I've definitely missed racing and it was hard to watch from the outside. I can't wait to get on track, hopefully this weekend.

"I'm very lucky that I've only had mild symptoms, so I've been able to keep training and make sure that I'm ready to jump back behind the wheel of the car. I'm very glad I had my tablet to keep me entertained too, though!"

Hulkenberg was unable to start the British Grand Prix after Racing Point failed to get his car firing prior to the formation lap.

He qualified third for the second race at Silverstone and finished seventh, and now hopes to regain a place on the grid for 2021 following talks with Alfa Romeo.

Racing Point have confirmed their intention to appeal against the FIA's decision to sanction them for using illegal rear brake ducts.

The FIA last week fined the British team €400,000 and docked them 15 points for using parts it deemed were principally copied from Mercedes designs.

Ahead of the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix at Silverstone, team owner Lawrence Stroll accused Formula One rivals of "poor sportsmanship" and said he was "appalled" by their response.

Racing Point confirmed they would lodge an appeal within 96 hours of the notification of the penalty and the case will now be heard by the FIA's International Court of Appeal at a future date.

Renault, Ferrari, McLaren and Williams also appealed against the verdict, feeling the punishment was too lenient, but McLaren and Williams have since withdrawn their appeals.

Lewis Hamilton heads to the Spanish Grand Prix on the brink of making Formula One history.

The 70th Anniversary Grand Prix last weekend may not have gone according to plan for Mercedes, but by finishing second Hamilton registered his 155th podium in F1.

If the six-time champion places in the top three in Barcelona he will surpass Michael Schumacher for the most podiums achieved by a single driver in the history of the series.

It will be the second time this season the drivers have raced on three consecutive weekends and the action gets under way on Sunday at 15:10 local time (13:10 GMT).

LAST TIME OUT

Mercedes locked out the front row in qualifying but Red Bull went for a different strategy, starting Max Verstappen on the hard compound while the rest of the top 10 were on mediums.

While Verstappen showed tremendous tyre management in a brilliant victory, Mercedes suffered significant blistering in the Silverstone heat and pole-sitter Valtteri Bottas had to settle for third behind Hamilton.

Charles Leclerc managed to sneak P4 for Ferrari, while Racing Point's continued use of rear brake ducts that saw them docked 15 points led to an appeal by the Scuderia.

WHAT TO LOOK OUT FOR IN SPAIN

Mercedes struggled in hot conditions last weekend and temperatures are expected to be high once again in Barcelona.

While the tyre allocation will be a step harder this time around, should the same issues arise it will be interesting to see how the Silver Arrows counter it on this occasion.

Racing Point were reprimanded for using their controversial rear brake ducts at the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix and are expected to continue running the parts.

Following Nico Hulkenberg's impressive display in that race, they are expected to have Sergio Perez back after he missed two races following positive tests for coronavirus.

TOP FIVE OPTA STATS

Spanish milestone – This will be the 50th Spanish Grand Prix. Only Germany (64) has hosted F1 in more seasons among nations that were not on the schedule in the inaugural 1950 season.

Rallying Red Bull – Max Verstappen scored an impressive victory at Silverstone and has a chance to earn his team back-to-back wins for just the second time in the hybrid era.

Four in a row? – Hamilton has won the previous three grands prix in Barcelona and will match Schumacher's record for the most victories in a row there (2001-2004) if he triumphs on Sunday.

Ferrari driver in a spin – After finishing 12th at Silverstone last weekend, Sebastian Vettel could fail to score points in successive races for the first time since his maiden F1 season.

Home hope – Carlos Sainz has earned points in each of his five Spanish Grand Prix appearances. Only in the United States (30) has he scored more points than in his own country (26).

CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS

Drivers

1. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 107
2. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) 77
3. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) 73
4. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) 45
5. Lando Norris (McLaren) 38

Constructors

1. Mercedes 180
2. Red Bull 113
3. Ferrari 55
4. McLaren 53
5. Racing Point 41

Renault and Ferrari have confirmed their intention to appeal against the FIA's verdict on the legality of Racing Point's rear brake ducts.

Following a protest lodged by Renault after the Styrian Grand Prix, the FIA docked Racing Point 15 points and fined the team €400,000 for using parts it deemed were principally copied from Mercedes designs.

Renault, Ferrari, McLaren and Williams lodged their intention to appeal the outcome, while Racing Point have maintained their innocence and also said they would challenge the decision.

While McLaren have reportedly opted against following through with the process, Renault and Ferrari have announced they will take the case to the FIA's International Court of Appeal.

"We have confirmed our intention to appeal against the Stewards' decision in respect of the Racing Point brake ducts," a Renault statement read.

"In the meantime, we will continue to work intensively with the FIA and all stakeholders to develop and implement a clear and enforceable regulatory framework that will ensure all teams participating in the 2021 season will develop their original aerodynamic concept by themselves."

Ferrari were the first team to confirm their appeal against the verdict, while also challenge the decision to issue Racing Point with a team reprimand for running the parts at the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix.

"Please note we have just confirmed our intention to appeal against the Stewards' decision Document 4 (issued on August 7 at 9:30) and Document 41 (issued on August 9 at 16:44)," said Ferrari in a statement.

Ahead of the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix, Racing Point owner Lawrence Stroll accused the team's Formula One rivals of "poor sportsmanship" and said he was "appalled" by the way they had responded.

Nico Hulkenberg is interested in a full-time return to Formula One and has been speaking extensively with Alfa Romeo team principal Fred Vasseur in recent weeks.

After eight months out, the German returned with Racing Point at the British Grand Prix after Sergio Perez had been forced to quarantine after returning a positive COVID-19 test.

A clutch bolt problem prevented him from lining up for his first race back, but he again deputised for Perez at the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix, claiming third place on the grid in qualifying before finishing seventh.

The 32-year-old has developed a hunger to get back into F1 and could consider joining Alfa Romeo.

When asked if he would be tempted to join the team, he told the F1 Nation podcast: "Yes, yes is the short answer.

"I mean, doing a deal, there's several terms that play into it – it's the whole package, I guess.

"I'm very keen to go racing again in Formula 1. I still love it here, it's my passion. I'm not desperate but I'd certainly love to come back and be racing again.

"I've been talking to Fred quite frequently in the last few months…"

The 2020 season continues this weekend with the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona.

Ross Brawn hailed Nico Hulkenberg after a seventh-place finish on his return to Formula One and revealed Mercedes almost signed the German in 2012.

Hulkenberg was unable to secure a drive for 2020 after a disappointing season at Renault last time out.

But the 32-year-old has been thrust back into the thick of the action due to Racing Point driver Sergio Perez contracting coronavirus.

Perez missed the Silverstone double-header, although car issues prevented Hulkenberg from starting the British Grand Prix.

He was back involved for the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix, however, and came seventh after a very impressive qualifying performance saw him third on the grid.

Formula One managing director Brawn was certainly impressed, but he admitted to long being a Hulkenberg fan, having considered the then Force India man when he brought Lewis Hamilton to Mercedes.

And Brawn believes Hulkenberg is deserving of another opportunity in the sport.

"It was going to be an incredible physical challenge for Nico Hulkenberg," he wrote in his column for F1's official website.

"I don't know how much he hurt at the end of the race, but it was great performance all weekend by someone who had just been dropped in the deep end.

"I almost signed him years ago, when I was in charge at Mercedes. If Lewis hadn't joined Mercedes when he did, Nico was our next choice.

"I've always respected Nico enormously as a driver. He's a very strong driver who should be in Formula One."

Lewis Hamilton was excited by Max Verstappen's surprise win at the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix but insists Mercedes will not take their success for granted.

Hamilton has dominated Formula One, winning the past three drivers' championships, and the Mercedes superstar leads the standings again in 2020.

However, the Briton missed out on a fourth race win in succession and a second in two weeks at Silverstone on Sunday.

With Mercedes' tyres blistering in the heat, Verstappen's Red Bull car thrived in the conditions and he triumphed to move second for the year, 30 points behind Hamilton.

Defending champion Hamilton welcomed the challenge, though, telling a post-race news conference: "I think it's great.

"As I said before, I want to have races where they're challenging - like today - so I'm excited to watch this race.

"Obviously the Red Bull seems to be quite close in race conditions to us and obviously today is stronger, so it shows they don't have as bad a package as perhaps people had said in the past

"But I think it's good. It will be interesting to see the progression through the rest of the year and I definitely will not overlook them.

"I think we've got to keep a close eye on them and keep working to push forwards, because I don't think it's going to be easy by any means.

"But I don't think my team has that mentality anyway, so we just keep our heads down.

"I was hopeful today that maybe we would have – wishful thinking - some sort of race towards the end, but maybe in the future we will get to have some, a bit more."

Charles Leclerc celebrated a fourth-placed finish at the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix, claiming the result felt "like a victory" in his faltering Ferrari car. 

The Scuderia are struggling in 2020 but Leclerc was pleasantly surprised by the pace in his SF1000 at Silverstone on Sunday. 

With a number of his rivals - including both Mercedes cars - suffering in testing conditions for tyres, Leclerc required just one stop, a strategy shared by Renault's Esteban Ocon and Alfa Romeo's Kimi Raikkonen. 

Having started eighth on the grid, Leclerc was delighted with the achievement, even if fourth represents a modest prize compared to Ferrari seasons past. 

"I'm so happy today. For me, it feels like a victory," Leclerc told Sky Sports. "It's not looking good once we call a fourth place a victory, but at the moment it's where we're at. 

"Last year, I think my weakest point was the tyre management and I've worked very hard. Every time that I work, and I see the results on track, it's a huge satisfaction. 

"To get fourth place today... I expected to go eighth in a best-case scenario this morning - or further down the grid. I'm extremely happy with fourth place. 

"We were very happy and, to be honest, we need to analyse to understand why we were so quick, because I don't really understand for now." 

However, while Leclerc was pleased with a result that took him up to fourth in the drivers' standings, things went from bad to worse for team-mate Sebastian Vettel. 

In his final season at Ferrari, the four-time world champion could only manage 12th and claimed his strategy "didn't make any sense". 

Asked why he trailed so far behind Leclerc in the same car, Vettel added to Sky Sports: "I don't know. I guess something's there that I am missing. 

"I'm not sure what it is. Nevertheless, I get out of bed and try to do the best that I can. 

"For sure, today, we could have been higher up. With my side, there was the spin - I'm not quite sure what happened there - and also the strategy we could have recovered better. 

"The main difference is that we didn't have clean races from when we started. He had a couple of clean races so far."

Lewis Hamilton was grateful to salvage second place in the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix after Mercedes' tyres caused problems again at Silverstone.

Pole-sitter Valtteri Bottas and Hamilton both struggled throughout with blistering that the six-time Formula One champion described as "hardcore".

Max Verstappen did not encounter such tyre issues as Red Bull's strategy to start the Dutchman on the hard compound propelled him to a brilliant victory from fourth on the grid.

Hamilton, who limped to victory at the British Grand Prix last week with a puncture, briefly pondered staying out on a risky one-stop strategy to deny his Red Bull rival late in the race.

He ultimately opted to pit for fresh tyres and, having returned to the track in fourth, promptly swept past Charles Leclerc and then Bottas to claim a second-place finish and remain in control of the drivers' championship.

"It was a massive challenge," Hamilton, who now leads Verstappen by 30 points and Bottas by 34, said after the race. 

"Congratulations to the Red Bull team and to Max. You look at the tyres and they obviously didn't have the problems we had.

"Definitely unexpected to have the blistering as hardcore as we experienced. [We don't know the cause], not that I'm aware of.

"I'm sure the team will be working as hard as they can because we've not had [those tyre issues] before. I don't know if anyone struggled with blistering like we did.

"But I'm really grateful to progress [through the field] and manage to get my way through until the end."

Hamilton, who also had the fastest lap, continued: "That middle stint I was managing to the best of my ability, but it didn't make a single difference to that blistering.

"I was driving with half a tyre basically - it held together but I was nervous it was going to explode or something."

Hamilton was unsure there was a way Mercedes could have stopped Verstappen from triumphing under the circumstances.

"Such a difficult race," he added to Sky Sports. "I love a challenge, so it was good, but it was just unexpected. 

"The last race we had understeer and were struggling with the front tyres blistering and running out. Now this weekend, it's the complete opposite, the rear. There was nothing we could do. 

"We tried to go slower through the corners to save it and it wouldn't work. It was a real shock. I couldn't then attack Valtteri, who was pulling away [at the start]. 

"But I was really grateful in the second stint that I was able to extend. I was thinking, 'Should I stay out?'

"I know now I couldn't have matched Max's times at the end, so he would have caught me and the tyres might have blown out.

"If the rear goes, that's a spin, a crash in the wall. I think it was a good decision in the end by the team [to pit].

"I don't know how [we could have won] exactly. Could we have done better? For sure. But I still think they would have won - they didn't seem to have the same huge band on the left rear."

Valtteri Bottas felt he could have won the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix at Silverstone but for a "sub-optimal" strategy as Mercedes suffered with tyre issues.

In hot conditions, the Silver Arrows' tyres blistered while Max Verstappen, who was the only driver in the top 10 to start on the hard compound, saw few problems in his Red Bull and claimed his first victory of the season.

Failure to extend Mercedes' run of victories at the start of the 2020 Formula One campaign was particularly painful for pole-sitter Bottas.

He finished third, also behind colleague Lewis Hamilton, and felt he had been dealt a poor hand by his team.

Bottas said on the podium the result was "not ideal" and Mercedes had been "sleeping", before explaining his frustration further to Sky Sports.

"The win should have been possible today. The pace was good," he said.

"When Max got ahead of me, I had no information to push harder, so we ended up pretty much side by side when he pitted. If I knew before that, I could pick up more pace, I had some more pace in hand.

"So I lost some track position there. And then obviously the last stint was too long for me.

"Lewis went longer for the middle stint and it worked out better. For me, the strategy was sub-optimal.

"At the end of the race, I said I didn't quite understand what happened. We are still yet to have all the debriefs. I'm sure there will be a good discussion, but it's just disappointing.

"But the Red Bull car with Max was able to drive without any blisters under their tyres, while me and Lewis had lots of blistering. I think there was a difference there.

"It's another one to learn from. We lost lots of points today, which is not good. We'll try again next week."

However, Mercedes chief Toto Wolff disagreed with his driver, saying Bottas was always unlikely to win given the conditions.

"No, the win was not there for us," he told Sky Sports. "Clearly, we were not the fastest car. Then you cannot optimise the strategy.

"Did we get it right or wrong? It's not clear. But when there is such a margin, as Max had, it was ours to settle for second and third and protect this position."

Max Verstappen admitted he was taken by surprise when a chance emerged for him to win the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix at Silverstone.

Mercedes won the first four races of the 2020 Formula One season and looked poised to continue that dominance when they locked out the front row for Sunday's race.

However, Verstappen produced a brilliant drive to triumph from fourth on the grid, Red Bull's decision to start on the hard tyre and Mercedes' struggles in hot conditions helping him to secure a ninth career win.

The Dutchman ended up 11 seconds clear at the front as Lewis Hamilton passed Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas for second place late on, and the Red Bull star was shocked by how the race unfolded.

"I didn't see it coming, but after the first stint it seemed like we were really good on tyres," said Verstappen, who moved above Bottas into second place in the drivers' standings.

"Of course then it was a question mark on how Mercedes were gonna go on the hard tyre. We had a lot of pace in the car and I didn't really have a lot of tyre issues at all. We just kept pushing.

"An incredible result of course to win here, we just had a great day - everything worked out well and we had the right strategy. 

"Everything was running smoothly and I'm incredibly happy to win."

In an entertaining radio message while he was third early in the race, Verstappen refused an instruction to sit back and preserve tyres "like grandma", instead opting to put pressure on the front two.

He continued: "We haven't really had an opportunity in all the races so far to push them and I could see we were pushing them.

"So I tried to put the pressure on, they had to pit, from there on I did my own pace and built that advantage until the end."

Asked if the Red Bull car was now a Mercedes-beater, Verstappen said: "I don't know, we need to use soft tyres as they suit our car most. 

"We will see again in Barcelona, for now we are just very happy that we won."

Christian Horner took confidence from a stunning Red Bull display at the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix as he revealed Max Verstappen found matching Mercedes "so easy" on Sunday.

In the second consecutive race at Silverstone, Verstappen claimed his first victory of the delayed 2020 season, ending a run of four straight wins for the Silver Arrows.

The Dutchman's tyre strategy paid off as he was the only one in the top 10 to start on the hard compound, quickly moving into position to challenge pole-sitter Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton.

Verstappen hunted down the duo as Mercedes' tyres suffered and ultimately finished a fairly comfortable winner.

"It was an amazing performance today," team principal Horner told Sky Sports. "The pace in the race was beyond what we expected.

"We started on that sort of reverse strategy - Max was just chilling out at the beginning of the race and the pace in the car was just so easy today.

"Even after Mercedes pitted and went onto a new hard, we were able to pull away. At that point, you think this really is game on now."

However, Horner acknowledged similar conditions may be required for the rest of the year in order for Red Bull to challenge Mercedes in the title race.

"We probably need these tyres at most other races - and this temperature," he said. "They're a formidable opponent, but we've had a really strong performance today.

"We've beaten them fair and square, we've beaten them on pace and on strategy. There's a lot of confidence that we'll take out of this race weekend."

Red Bull's desire to capitalise on their pace advantage was evident as Verstappen told the team radio he would not sit behind the Mercedes "like a grandma".

"His grandma must drive pretty quickly," Horner joked. "We just had them covered today.

"I think there's a lot for us to understand from this race. The car worked fantastically well, with Alex [Albon] as well, and the pace was right there."

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