F1 stars unwind on month-long break | The Express Tribune


The grid stars turned up in Baku for this weekend’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix with tales to tell of how they had filled in their time off since Melbourne at the start of April.

Avid golfer Lando Norris, who when not chipping away at his 13-handicap drives a McLaren on Sundays, used the void in the F1 calendar to spend time with his family back in Somerset, and catching up with friends in England and home in Monaco.

“And yes, of course, I watched it (The Masters). Silly question!” he said ahead of the resumption of racing in Baku on Thursday.

“Watched the whole thing. Of course it could be Tiger’s last one, so cool to see him. Sad to see him withdraw, but hats off to Jon (Rahm), to take it away as well.”

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, pole-sitter for Sunday’s race, indulged in his passion for the piano.

Channelling frustration at crashing out on the first lap in Melbourne he recorded a four-minute track about his experience in Australia.

“I’ve created this song around the Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix which is why I called it ‘AUS23 (1:1)’. This is the way we call the Australian Grand Prix in my Formula One team and thought it would be a nice connection to the racing world,” he wrote on his Spotify page.

He said he was driven to compose it “as a way to disconnect from racing and relax in between races”.

Leclerc posted the meditative piece on the internet.

If he hits the right note on the streets of the Azerbaijani capital fans can perhaps expect a more upbeat number from F1’s piano man.

Alpha Tauri’s Yuki Tsunoda clearly benefitted from the time out after making it into the top 10 qualifying shoot out on Saturday to start on the fourth row alongside Norris.

“Yeah, I’m really fond of the April break,” the Japanese driver said.

“Definitely it felt long in terms of, like, the race side, but actually I still relaxed a lot and recharged myself.

“Still did training and also had an extra two days in Australia, which was good after the Melbourne Grand Prix.

“I feel more ready compared to even the last three races. So looking forward to the races ahead.”

Mercedes’ seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton began his break in high spirits after his better than expected second to Max Verstappen in Melbourne.

“I love being in Australia. Australia was a great race for us.

“But then, to spend a bit of time with family, get back to the factory, work at the factory, then some time with friends and just kind of unplug for a little bit, which is great.”

Hamilton also went ‘incognito’ to Donington Park circuit to cheer on his brother Nicolas in a British Touring Car Championships race.

“He got sixth. And I was just standing in the crowd just watching this as a fan.

“I was so excited. And no one knew that I was there. I was just jumping up and down and trying to support him.”

Hamilton said he was “incredibly proud” of his half-brother, who was born with cerebral palsy.

“He continues to be such a great voice. Every year he raises his own money because obviously, racing in a series and in a sport where there is no access for people who particularly are disabled.

“And he stands for so much. And yeah, it’s been difficult. He’s been fighting to try and make up for the disability he has with his legs, and it’s a continuous fight.”

Hamilton also popped over to California, posting photos on his Instagram page partying with Bieber and mates at the Coachella music and arts festival in California’s Colorado Desert.

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