- The motorsport paddock reconvened still mourning the death of Anthoine Hubert last Saturday at Spa in the Formula 2 race. Hubert’s team, BWT Arden, will enter just one car to this weekend’s F2 round. The team has placed a nosecone used for Hubert’s car on his side of the garage along with a picture of him celebrating his win at Paul Ricard earlier this year.

- Sauber Junior Team by Charouz and Trident have joined Arden in only running one car for this weekend’s F2 race as a result of the accident last weekend, meaning there will be a 17-car grid.

- Safety was naturally a talking point with drivers throughout Thursday’s press sessions. Daniel Ricciardo opened up about his doubts about doing the race at Spa: “I was questioning morally what was correct, if we should race, and if that is actually the right thing to do. I went through scenarios that if I didn’t get in the car and feel like it wasn’t right, or feel a form of fear, then I said it is probably not worth doing the race with that kind of state of mind.”

- Lewis Hamilton elaborated on his Instagram post from last weekend where he said it was important to remember the dangers that still remain in F1 despite safety advancements: “It’s different when there were deaths constantly because it was more at the top of people’s minds. It happens a lot less and we go through the weekend like it’s a fun sporting event, but jeez, it’s still super dangerous. Stuff like last weekend happens and everyone is shocked, but it is still a dangerous sport and we need to continue to work towards making it safer.”

- Hamilton was quick to talk Ferrari up as the favourite for this weekend, believing it will be “very, very hard” for Mercedes to overcome its straight-line speed advantage, especially in qualifying. “In the race, you saw last year I made the difference in the race in trying to close the gap to Ferrari,” Hamilton said. “So I’m hoping in the race it at least gets closer and we are able to have a race.”

- Teammate Valtteri Bottas said it would be crucial for Mercedes to try and get a tow in qualifying to aid its straight-line pace. “Coming into this weekend we know that Ferrari will be very strong and, obviously, since the last race there weren’t that many days in which we could do many physical parts or improvements in the car,” Bottas warned.

- Ferrari drivers Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc were more coy about their chances. “It’s a similar track [to Spa], very different, but in terms of the way the cars are set up similar to last weekend,” said Vettel. “I hope we can be as competitive as we were there.”

- Vettel also said there had been no surprises within Ferrari on how quickly Leclerc had jumped on the pace and been able to match him this year. “I think it’s positive that he’s surprised probably a lot of people outside,” Vettel said. “He’s with Ferrari’s Driver Academy for a while and it was clear to see that he has a lot of potential. It’s good to see that he’s right on the pace straight away.”

- Max Verstappen will start from the back of the grid at Monza after Honda confirmed he would be taking the Spec 4 engine this weekend. While he was hopeful of fighting his way up the order, he doubted it would be possible to challenge the Ferrari and Mercedes drivers. “If we can get back to like fifth, in a normal race without any weird incidents, then I think it’s a good result for us,” Verstappen said.

- Some needle set in as the race to be Verstappen’s teammate next year hots up. Daniil Kvyat suggested the credit put Alexander Albon’s way for his run from P17 to P5 at Spa was overplayed: “I don’t know why you call it such a good start. He spent 36 laps behind me in a Red Bull Racing car, and he started in front of me as well. I don’t know, maybe in the future he will do better.”

- Haas team boss Gunther Steiner confirmed the team was sitting with a two-driver shortlist for next year for its vacant seat, which will be decided between Romain Grosjean and Nico Hulkenberg. Steiner also stressed once again that any personal issues between Hulkenberg and potential future teammate Kevin Magnussen would have no bearing on the team’s decision, which he hoped would be made in the next couple of weeks.

- Lando Norris unveiled a special Valentino Rossi tribute helmet and boots for this weekend, paying tribute to his racing hero. Norris met Rossi for the first time at the Silverstone MotoGP race last month, having idolised the Italian growing up.



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