Published: Sun, November 12, 2017
Sports | By Spencer Underwood

Mercedes team robbed at gunpoint in Brazil

Mercedes team robbed at gunpoint in Brazil

Members of Lewis Hamilton's Formula 1 team have been held up at gunpoint and robbed on the eve of Sunday's (12 November) Brazilian Grand Prix. In a series of tweets, Hamilton said that gunshots were fired and a member of the team even had a firearm held to their head.

British driver George Russell, the 19-year-old GP3 champion, made his grand prix weekend debut with Force India and was an impressive 12th fastest at an unfamiliar circuit and in a auto he had not driven before.

Hamilton further tweeted, "This happens every single year here".

Showing no sign of letting up despite clinching his fourth world title in Mexico at the end of October, Hamilton lapped the anti-clockwise track with a best time of one minute 09.202 seconds in the sunny morning session.

Staff from the FIA, the sport's governing body, and the Williams F1 team are believed to have escaped similar incidents on Friday night.

Team principal Christian Horner said Red Bull had played it safe due to reliability concerns and the need to make the engine last.

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Hamilton's auto sustained significant damage in the incident, and he will now start Sunday's race, the penultimate grand prix of the season, from the back of the field.

In 2010, Britain's Jenson Button was a victim of an attempted robbery.

Button said: "We got in between six cars to get past and got away".

Vettel led the F1 drivers' championship from the opening race until the Italian Grand Prix in September, with a collapse over the trio of Asian races that followed to deal a heavy blow to his hopes of a fifth world title. Looking behind there were two guys with a handgun and one guy with what looked like a machine gun.

Three Sauber engineers were robbed at gunpoint on the same evening.

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