MX23RW : Thursday, August 5 01:43:31| >> :120:63648:63648:

Mercedes not ruling out chassis problem

Mercedes has a "brand new" chassis in the luggage in the event that Lewis Hamilton rejected the car he was assigned for the French GP.

Mercedes has a "brand new" chassis in the luggage in the event that Lewis Hamilton rejected the car he was assigned for the French GP.

Although the team insists the swap was always scheduled, Valtteri Bottas - already surrounded by speculation about his future - is this weekend at the wheel of the chassis Hamilton raced earlier in 2021.

Title contender Hamilton, on the other hand, has the chassis with which his Finnish teammate struggled so badly with at Baku.

"There's something not right with the car, man," the seven time world champion told his engineer on the radio during Friday practice.

At the same time, Bottas was highly competitive, and consistently faster than Hamilton despite using the second-fastest medium tyre.

"It is difficult to say if it's the chassis or the track conditions, but I definitely felt better than I did two weeks ago," Finnish media quote Bottas as saying.

When asked after the session if he suspects there is indeed 'something wrong' with the chassis, Hamilton answered "I don't think so".

"Normally you can't feel any differences between chassis, especially when the circuit is so different between Baku and here," he said at Paul Ricard.

Team boss Toto Wolff also pointed out that the car Hamilton is now driving was fully competitive in Bottas' hands as recently as Monaco.

"But you never know," he admitted. "If the driver feels like something is wrong, we're not going to try to make a point of it. You just change it.

"If it calms the drivers down, we have a brand new chassis waiting here. We can always do that," said Wolff.

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Red Bull's Max Verstappen during practice for the French Grand Prix on June 18, 2021
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United StatesUnited States25312379
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Today's Olympic highlights header

Thursday's key events

· The women's heptathlon continues with the long jump, javelin and 800m, with Katarina Johnson-Thompson now out of contention following an injury (1.10am-1.40pm)
· Andrew Pozzi pursues his dream of an Olympic medal in the men's 110m hurdles final (3.55am)
· Tom Bosworth and Callum Wilkinson are among the British hopes in the men's 20km race walk (8.30am)
· Holly Bradshaw aims to improve on fifth in Rio to challenge Greece's Katerina Stefanidi and Anzhelika Sidorova of Russia for an unlikely medal in the women's pole vault (11am)
· London 2012 champion Kirani James goes up against current world champion Steven Gardiner in the men's 400m final (1pm)

· One of the toughest Olympic events takes place in Tokyo Bay as GB's Hector Pardoe takes on the men's 20km marathon swim (10.30pm Wed)

· Galal Yafai takes on takes on Kazakhstan's Saken Bibossinov for a spot in the gold medal bout of the fly (48kg-52kg) class (6.48am)

· Lois Toulson and Andrea Spendolini-Sirieix (daughter of First Dates' Fred Sirieix) line up for the women's 10m platform (semi-final 2am; final 7am)

· Australia face Belgium in the men's final (11am)

> Today's schedule in full
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