Lewis Hamilton ‘uncomfortable’ as F1 chiefs fail to wear masks at Australian GP briefing

Lewis Hamilton said he felt uncomfortable after members of Formula One’s ruling body failed to wear face masks during a drivers’ briefing for Sunday’s Australian Grand Prix.

F1’s new race director Niels Wittich chaired a two-hour meeting at Melbourne’s Albert Park on Friday night where he announced a clampdown on jewellery and insisted on fireproof underwear.

Under local law, it is not mandatory to wear a face mask in an enclosed space.

Hamilton, speaking after he qualified fifth for the third round of the new season, said: “No one in the drivers’ briefing were wearing masks. Some of the drivers were but most of the FIA were not, which for me was uncomfortable.

“It was the longest drivers’ briefing of my life. I have been racing a long time and they have never done such a long briefing.

“I don’t understand the small things they are picking up on, like the underwear – are we really talking about that kind of thing? But anyway you take it and move on.”

Hamilton will head into Sunday’s race 29 points adrift of championship leader Charles Leclerc.

The Ferrari driver will start from pole position, with Hamilton the best part of a second slower in his misfiring Mercedes machine.

“We have not made any progress,” added the seven-time world champion.

“I really hope over this next week we can get as much information and figure something out.

“I wish I could be optimistic and say we have got something better coming, but at the moment we don’t.

“Winning is a long way off, a second off, so it is a huge gap.

“I don’t enjoy driving this car but I enjoy the collaboration with the guys, knowing that there is a steep hill to climb and remaining hopeful that we will get there.”