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British Grand Prix diary: Ricciardo reduces Lando to tears of laughter

SILVERSTONE, U.K. — The Formula One paddock is a busy place that hosts a lot of serious business over a race weekend, but this blog aims to bring you some of the news stories you might otherwise miss ahead of the British Grand Prix.

Hamilton takes Sir Frank for a spin

Usually drivers don’t get out on the circuit until Friday at a grand prix weekend, but Lewis Hamilton was on track on Thursday in Silverstone. Mercedes and Williams arranged for the five-time world champion to drive Sir Frank Williams on a hot lap in a Mercedes S 63 Convertible. Hamilton spent the majority of the lap going sideways before completing a series of donuts in the run off area at the final corner.

Williams is celebrating his 50th year in the F1 paddock

During the same session, Lando Norris was giving ex-F1 driver Johnny Herbert a lap in the McLaren 720s. Clearly keen to impress, he slid the car through the Maggots and Becketts, but as he reached Chapel (the third corner in the high-speed sequence) lost the rear of the car and ended up in the gravel. The mistake saw Norris beach the bright yellow 720s and Herbert borrow a spade from a marshal to try to dig it out. Eventually a recovery truck arrived on the scene to lift the car away.

It followed a memorable appearance in the press conference for the young English rookie driver, in which he was reduced to tears of laughter by F1’s biggest joker.

During a question to Lewis Hamilton about his mixed levels of support in the U.K., which he joked might be because he can’t grow a moustache similar to Nigel Mansell, Daniel Ricciardo made a slightly lewd comment to the 19-year-old Norris. We’ll let you find the content of the joke online, but you can enjoy Norris’ response to it here…

Leclerc loses… to himself

After missing out on victory in Austria, Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc experienced another defeat ahead of this weekend’s British Grand Prix. After buying a new copy of the official F1 video game, he went up against himself in the virtual world as he started a new season in career mode.

“I’ve actually just bought Formula One 2019 and I was playing against myself yesterday,” he said. “I lost! I beat myself! I’m not a huge simulator gamer, but I like doing it when I have some free time. But I’m not into it in the same way Lando and Max are.”

However, Leclerc revealed he had won the F2 title in the game, meaning he has won that title in both reality and virtual reality.

Look who’s back…

Jenson Button returned to the cockpit of the Brawn F1 car he drove to the 2009 world championship ahead of this weekend’s British Grand Prix at Silverstone.

The Englishman conducted a demonstration run with the famous BG001 car that claimed the title in fairytale circumstances. The team had been saved from the ashes of Honda’s withdrawal from F1 at the end of 2008 and saved by Ross Brawn, who is now sporting chief of the championship.

Button won six of the first seven races of the campaign and held off a mid-season resurgence from Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull to seal the championship.

Button took to the circuit on Thursday morning in the white and florescent green car, which famously ran for most of 2009 with minimal sponsorship on it. Button wore the matching helmet he designed for that campaign.

The demo took place before the circuit opened to the public and will be shown on UK TV channel Sky Sports ahead of Sunday’s race.

The British Grand Prix takes place following Monday’s announcement of a new five-year deal between Silverstone and F1, which will keep the race at the famous Northamptonshire circuit until at least 2024. Silverstone hosted the first race of the F1 world championship in 1950.

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