Lewis Hamilton alongside Sebastian Vettel: Formula 1’s Thursday press conference twist for Imola

Thursday press conferences have been team-mates only since the start of last season but the combinations have been mixed up for Imola; Lewis Hamilton with Sebastian Vettel, Max Verstappen with Mick Schumacher; Watch Emilia-Romagna GP live on Sky Sports F1

By Matt Morlidge

Lewis Hamilton will address the media alongside Sebastian Vettel – rather than his Mercedes team-mate – ahead of this weekend’s Emilia-Romagna GP as Formula 1 mixes up the press conference order for a Thursday twist.

Since the start of last season, Thursday press conferences have been staggered team by team so to remain in the Covid-secure ‘bubbles’ – with team-mates sitting next to each other to answer questions.

But for the Imola weekend – the second of the 2021 season – the driver combinations are being swapped around on media day.

Multiple world champions and former title rivals Hamilton and Vettel, who is now with Aston Martin, have been paired together, while Hamilton’s new main challenger-in-chief Max Verstappen will be alongside F1 rookie Mick Schumacher.

Fernando Alonso and Lando Norris is another interesting, McLaren-linked, combination for Imola’s media day, which precedes a much-anticipated weekend of track action after a thrilling season-opener in Bahrain.

Sergio Perez and Carlos Sainz, new drivers for Red Bull and Ferrari respectively, are set to kick-off Thursday’s press conference schedule from 1pm BST, and you can watch it all live on Sky Sports F1.

Pierre Gasly and Yuki Tsunoda are the only team-mates who have been kept together.

Imola press conference pairings (starting at 1pm)

Carlos Sainz (Ferrari) Sergio Perez (Red Bull)
Lance Stroll (Aston Martin) George Russell (Williams)
Kimi Raikkonen (Alfa Romeo) Nikita Mazepin (Haas)
Esteban Ocon (Alpine) Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes)
Antonio Giovinazzi (Alfa Romeo) Charles Leclerc (Ferrari)
Mick Schumacher (Haas) Max Verstappen (Red Bull)
Fernando Alonso (Alpine) Lando Norris (McLaren)
Daniel Ricciardo (McLaren) Nicholas Latifi (Williams)
Sebastian Vettel (Aston Martin) Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri) Yuki Tsunoda (AlphaTauri)

The press conference shake-up sees F1 return, tentatively, towards its Thursdays of old – which used to see five drivers, usually from five different teams, line up alongside each other for questions.

Since the first Grand Prix of 2020 in Austria, the only times drivers have been near each other in a press conference have been when the top three from qualifying and the race have answered questions after those respective sessions.

They will still be virtual press conferences at Imola, meaning there will just be one host present with the drivers in the press conference room, with questions submitted by journalists remotely.

The Emilia-Romagna GP – and IndyCar – schedule on Sky F1

Thursday, April 15
1pm: Drivers’ Press Conference
5pm: The F1 Show (also streamed in the UK & Ireland on Sky F1 YouTube)

Friday, April 16
9.30am: Emilia-Romagna GP Practice One (session starts 10am)
1.15pm: Emilia-Romagna GP Practice Two (session starts 1.30pm)

Saturday, April 17
9.45am: Emilia-Romagna GP Practice Three (session starts 10am)
12pm: Emilia-Romagna GP Qualifying build-up
1pm: EMILIA-ROMAGNA ā€‹ā€‹ā€‹ā€‹ā€‹ā€‹GP QUALIFYING
6pm: Ted’s Qualifying Notebook
7.40pm: IndyCar Grand Prix of Alabama Practice Two
10.55pm: IndyCar Grand Prix of Alabama Qualifying

Sunday, April 18
12.30pm: Grand Prix Sunday
4pm: Chequered Flag
5pm: Ted’s Notebook
6pm: Emilia-Romagna GP Highlights
8pm: IndyCar Grand Prix of Alabama
11pm: Emilia-Romagna GP Race Replay


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