F1 gossip: Azerbaijan human rights, Bottas, Alonso, Kvyat, Ricciardo

Sunday, 19 June

Max Verstappen
Max Verstappen posted this picture of him alongside his dad on Twitter for Father's Day

Activists in Azerbaijan hope the European Grand Prix will highlight to Formula 1 drivers and "all this wealth on show" the issues regarding human rights in the country. (Guardian)external-link

Valtteri Bottas says the loose pit lane drain cover that damaged his Williams during third practice in Baku was an "unacceptable" occurrence. (Autosport)external-link

Red Bull Racing
The calm before the storm: Red Bull posted this picture on Twitter, adding: "Good morning Baku. Love Race Day!"

McLaren's Fernando Alonso sums up his feelings about qualifying in 14th position.

Fernando Alonso Twitter

Haas F1 driver Esteban Gutierrez, who will start one spot below Alonso, added on Twitter:external-link "Sometimes you take risks and mistakes are made, it's part of the game, part of racing. All in tomorrow!"

Toro Rosso's Daniil Kvyat says qualifying inside the top seven has given him a huge confidence boost. (The Checkered Flag)external-link

Daniel Ricciardo is surprised to be starting from the front row in Baku after a "hectic" and "intense" qualifying lap. (Fox Sports)external-link

Saturday, 18 June

Nico Rosberg twitter
Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg took a 'selfie' with a full-sized cardboard cut-out of himself at Baku, which he later posted on twitter. He wrote: "Bedtime. but first, let me take a selfie, Nico."

F1 drivers' champion Lewis Hamilton has claimed that Mercedes' high-tech race simulator is no better than a £200 PlayStation. (Daily Mirror)external-link

F1 chief Bernie Ecclestone has said that the final decision on moving the Italian Grand Prix from Monza to Imola now lies with the country's national sporting authority, the Automobile Club of Italy. (Motorsport.com)external-link

But Imola chief Uberto Selvatico Estense has insisted the former San Marino Grand Prix venue is "ready" and poised to replace Monza as Italy's sole F1 race. (Paddocktalk.com)external-link

Renault Sport F1 twitter

Freddie Hunt, the son of 1976 F1 drivers' champion James Hunt, has started to follow in his father's legendary footsteps by securing two top-20 finishes at Brands Hatch in this weekend's NASCAR Whelen Euro Series.

Haas F1 team owner Gene Haas is comfortable with the progress that the team is making in their first season in F1 despite failing to score any points in the last three grands prix.(NBC Sports)external-link

Fernando Alonso
Fernando Alonso won his two F1 drivers' titles in 2005 and 2006

Friday, 17 June

Double world champion Fernando Alonso says it is too early for McLaren to switch their focus entirely to 2017, despite conceding they are nowhere near where they need to be. (Grand Prix Times)external-link

Championship leader Nico Rosberg believes Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton has a first-corner weakness and will continue to try to capitalise on it. (Eurosport)external-link

Romain Grosjean twitter
Haas F1 Team driver Romain Grosjean (right) posted an image of himself visiting a friend's restaurant before practice for this weekend's inaugural race in Azerbaijan

F1 chief Bernie Ecclestone says the sport has a "100%" clear conscience despite being criticised for taking the European Grand Prix to Azerbaijan. (Guardian)external-link

Meanwhile, Ecclestone has predicted Lewis Hamilton will win his fourth F1 drivers' title this season. (Planet F1)external-link

Daniel Ricciardo looks set to stay at Red Bull until at least the end of the 2018 season after saying he could challenge for the drivers' title next season. (Reuters)external-link

Ricciardo's new team-mate Max Verstappen is surprised to be so competitive this early in the season. (Crash.net)external-link

Jenson Button
Jenson Button has had only one podium finish since winning in Brazil in 2012

Thursday, 16 June

Jenson Button must wait until September at the earliest to discover if McLaren will offer him a new deal. (Daily Telegraph)external-link

Nico Rosberg will not alter his approach to race weekends despite seeing his championship lead cut to only nine points by Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton over the past two races. (ESPN)external-link

Defending champion Hamilton has compared the track in Azerbaijan capital Baku to a "motorway" after sampling it in the Mercedes simulator before this weekend's inaugural European Grand Prix. (Motorsport.com)external-link

Amnesty International has called on F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone to put pressure on Azerbaijani authorities to improve their human rights record. (Guardian)external-link

Three-time world champion Jackie Stewart says bringing major companies such Heineken into F1 is even better than winning world titles. The Scot was a key figure in the multi-million pound deal involving the Dutch beer multinational. (Autoweek)external-link

Felipe Massa twitter
Williams driver Felipe Massa (centre) shared a flight to Baku with current and former F1 drivers. He tweeted: "Here we are #Baku nice and fun flight!"

Wednesday, 15 June

Nico Rosberg has no plans to change his style of racing and "settle for second best" even though his lead in the Formula 1 standings has been trimmed down to just nine points. (Fox Sports)external-link

Formula 1 is close to parity between its four engine manufacturers, according to Williams performance chief Rob Smedley. (Autosport)external-link

Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo insists it would be a mistake for Formula 1's owners to replace Bernie Ecclestone with a single boss. (Grand Prix Times)external-link

Sources at Ferrari have quashed recent rumours that technical director James Allison could be on his way back to Renault. (The Checkered Flag)external-link

Brazilian Grand Prix organisers are confident that the future of their race is totally secure, despite Bernie Ecclestone's warning its place on the 2017 calendar is in doubt. (Motorsport.com)external-link

Carlos Sainz has said he is looking forward to Formula 1's first ever race in Azerbaijan this weekend, and has drawn parallels between F1's newest track and the iconic Guia Circuit, host of the Macau Grand Prix. (F1 Today)external-link

McLaren pay tribute to their legendary former driver James Hunt, who died at the age of 45 on this day in 1993.

The colourful persona of the late, great James Hunt

Tuesday, 14 June

Toto Wolff
Austrian-born Toto Wolff owns 30 per cent of the Mercedes F1 team

Mercedes F1 team principal Toto Wolff has said F1 is changing the rules for 2017 at precisely the wrong time with rival constructors Ferrari and Red Bull closing the gap. (Autoweek) external-link

His Red Bull counterpart Christian Horner believes that Max Verstappen showed in the way he defended fourth place from Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg during the Canadian Grand Prix that Wolff was wrong to question the 18-year-old's maturity. (Motorsport.com)external-link

Williams Racing
Williams Racing tweeted a series of images taken during the Canadian Grand Prix weekend including one of Valterri Bottas's trophy for finishing third in the race as it cleared airport security

Drivers' champion Lewis Hamilton has tempered his recent good form by admitting he expects to face grid penalties later in the season for using more than his five allotted engines, a consequence of repeated mechanical failures in the first four races. (Daily Telegraph)external-link

Montreal mayor Denis Coderre has insisted the city will secure the future of the Canadian Grand Prix after F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone cast doubt by saying that it had failed to fulfil a pledge to update facilities at the Gilles Villeneuve circuit. (Sports Business Daily)external-link

Romain Grosjean admitted the Haas F1 team does not know how to fix its problems with getting the tyres to perform in cooler conditions after finishing 14th in Canada. (Autosport) external-link

The sponsorship deal between brewer Heineken and F1 announced last week has led to renewed calls from European campaigners for a ban on alcohol sponsorship in the sport. (Reuters)external-link

Sebastian Vettel complained of seagulls obstructing him during the Canadian Grand Prix
Sebastian Vettel was forced wide to avoid hitting two seagulls during the Canadian Grand Prix

Monday, 13 June

Canadian Grand Prix winner Lewis Hamilton and second placed Sebastian Vettel ended their Canadian Grand Prix battle talking about seagulls on the Montreal track "that wanted to commit suicide". (F1i.com)external-link

Drivers' champion Hamilton has admitted that even he is surprised that he has cut Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg's championship lead from 43 points to just nine points in two races. (Sun)external-link

For the second race in succession, Hamilton had victory handed to him on a plate after a poor strategy call from Ferrari. (Daily Telegraph)external-link

Mercedes will again investigate the clutch performance of its F1 cars after Sebastian Vettel jumped ahead of both of its drivers at the start in Canada. (Autosport)external-link

Williams driver Valterri Bottas tweetedexternal-link that his third place finish in Canada was "one of my best races".

Valterri Bottas twitter

Daniel Ricciardo says Red Bull must start doing a better job on race days after a failed strategy and slow pit-stop saw him finish seventh, after qualifying fourth on the starting grid. (ESPN)external-link

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has hailed the improvements made by engine supplier Renault following his team's recent return to form. (F1today)external-link

Haas F1 team driver Romain Grosjean tweetedexternal-link his sympathy for those who lost their lives at the Florida nightclub mass shootings on Saturday.

Romain Grosjean twitter

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