Published: Sun, November 12, 2017
Sports | By Ivan Ross

Mercedes team robbed at gunpoint in Brazil

Mercedes team robbed at gunpoint in Brazil

A Mercedes minibus full of team personnel was robbed at gunpoint in Sao Paulo on Friday night as they made their way back from the circuit to the team hotel, but no members of the team were injured.

A Mercedes spokesman said: "We can confirm that a team minibus was robbed at gunpoint last night leaving the circuit". Several team members - Hamilton was not present - were held up at gun point on Friday. "Valuables were stolen, but most importantly everybody is safe and uninjured".

Britain's Jenson Button was the victim of an attempted robbery in 2010, the year after he won the title with Brawn GP, but the police driver smashed his way through traffic to escape when the gunmen were seen approaching.

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In a bid to avoid such issues, mechanics and team staff have been advised against wearing branded team clothing away from the circuit.

Valtteri Bottas set the best time in FP3 on Saturday ahead of the qualifying for the 2017 Brazilian Formula One Grand Prix.

"The moment you get into the vehicle the musing about the ifs and buts of the past 18 races stops abruptly and you focus again only on the driving", Vettel said. In 2016, ahead of the Mexican Grand Prix, a chauffeur-driven vehicle was looted by a gunman as a team member was being transported to the hotel from the Mexico airport.

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Hamilton's words add more pressure to the battle for second, with Vettel knowing he has to be on top of his game to win, because there is always the threat the two Mercedes drivers will work together against him.

Relishing the ability to pile the pressure onto his fellow drivers, Hamilton shows no sign of letting up as he posted the fastest lap in the first practice session during the Brazilian Grand Prix.

Button described his driver as a "legend" after he managed to get the Briton to safety by fleeing through traffic. They were also unhurt.

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