Hamilton notably absent from tributes to Charlie Whiting and £20m motorsport museum delayed

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Lewis Hamilton was notably absent from a film of tributes to former race director Charlie Whiting.

Whiting – who died aged 66 in March – was honoured with a memorial service at Silverstone on Thursday evening when the film was played. 

It included contributions from numerous F1 drivers past and present, but Sportsmail understands that Hamilton declined more than one invitation to participate.

Lewis Hamilton declined more than one invitation to participate in tribute to Charlie Whiting

Lewis Hamilton declined more than one invitation to participate in tribute to Charlie Whiting

The five-time world champion attended the event but didn’t speak. That was left to Sebastian Vettel, who said: ‘In the name of all the drivers, we want to say you were a true racer, you were our race director, you were our guard, you were our friend.’ 

Justin Whiting, Charlie’s 12-year-old son, will start Sunday’s race. ‘You had a good teacher,’ FIA President Jean Todt told him during the memorial.

Fright at the £20m museum 

The Silverstone Experience – a £20million motorsport museum that was due to open at the former airfield on Tuesday – has been delayed after the firm building it collapsed.

The Walsall-based Shaylor Group went into administration last month and their 200 members of staff made redundant.

The project – of which Prince Harry is the Royal patron – was first mooted in 2011 with funding to convert the former World War Two hangar finally secured in 2016 after a £9m grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund and a £3m loan from South Northamptonshire council.

The Silverstone Experience was due to open at the former airfield on Tuesday

The Silverstone Experience was due to open at the former airfield on Tuesday

Sally Reynolds, CEO of the Silverstone Heritage Limited charity, told Sportsmail: ‘We were gutted that Shaylor Group went into administration last month, forcing us to postpone the opening.

‘Elmwood Projects have taken over as principle contractor and, due to the hard work of our team and sub-contractors, the site was back up and running in just over a week.

‘Around 1,600 visitors had pre-booked to come to The Silverstone Experience during the British Grand Prix weekend, but around half of those have retained their tickets and will be back later in the year.

‘In the next couple of weeks we hope to announce a launch date which we anticipate being in early autumn.’ 

Exhibits will include the Williams that Nigel Mansell drove to win the British Grand Prix in 1992, a section piping in smells of rubber and engine oil to recreate Silverstone’s ‘sounds and smells’ and a research centre. 

Lewis Hamilton given 10 reasons to stay

Jenson Button believes Lewis Hamilton could win 10 world championship titles if he stays with Mercedes.

Hamilton has long talked of the allure of driving for Ferrari, but his former McLaren team-mate Button – on punditry duty for Sky Sports this weekend – says such a switch would be pointless.

‘I’m sure every driver wants to drive at Ferrari but not when they’re not winning,’ said Button.

‘There’s no point leaving a team that’s winning – he could end up with 10 championships if he stays at Mercedes. If he goes to Ferrari it will be the end of his career. It would be a very brave and very unusual move.’

Jenson Button has Brawn and brains 

To celebrate the 10th anniversary of his 2009 world championship victory, Jenson Button drove his title-winning Brawn car at Silverstone on Thursday.

But the exhibition run was tinged with sadness for the 39-year-old as he admitted it may be the last time he gets to drive the BGP001 owned by former team boss Ross Brawn.

‘It might be the last time because that’s the only working gearbox,’ Button explained.

Jenson Button drove his title-winning Brawn car around the track at Silverstone on Thursday

Jenson Button drove his title-winning Brawn car around the track at Silverstone on Thursday

‘When Mercedes bought the team, that car became the show-car so it spent two years doing doughnuts and burnouts which destroyed all the gearboxes and you can’t make more because the tools were thrown away and crushed.

‘I do have one but it’s a replica sat in a warehouse. I’m going to give it to the Petersen Automotive Museum in LA.’

Romain Grosjean loses his grip

The drivers struggled to get to grips with Silverstone’s freshly-laid asphalt during Friday’s practice sessions, with the vast majority spinning off at some point.

Romain Grosjean had the most embarrassing incident – losing control of his Haas while attempting to leave the pit-lane for the first time in the morning.

The Frenchman was too eager on the throttle and collided with the wall, ripping off his front wing in the process.

He then scattered debris across the circuit as he had to complete a full lap before returning to his garage.

After a 40-minute delay, Grosjean then spun off at Brooklands on his first flying lap. 



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