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Wednesday 7 December 2016

Lewis Hamilton: Closed cockpits are the future for Formula One

Mercedes Lewis Hamilton during the paddock day for the 2015 Italian Grand Prix at Monza, Italy
Mercedes Lewis Hamilton during the paddock day for the 2015 Italian Grand Prix at Monza, Italy

Lewis Hamilton believes closed or protected cockpits is the "future" of single-seater racing

The controversial concept is back on the agenda at this week's Italian Grand Prix following Justin Wilson's death.

Wilson, the Sheffield-born driver, was struck on his crash helmet by a piece of debris during an IndyCar race in Pennsylvania last month. He succumbed to his injuries a little over 24 hours later.

Formula One's governing body the FIA will test two different ideas aimed at protecting driver's heads from flying objects later this month.

And Hamilton, although not a firm believer in the concept, says it is only a matter of time before it is introduced to Formula One.

"It is a difficult one as I am torn - on one side I see closed cockpits as the future, but growing up watching the sport and Ayrton Senna's generation racing it has always been open cockpits," said Hamilton.

"It is difficult to change minds but sometimes change is the way forward.

"I don't know if I would like it. It would feel strange if you had a canopy or a window over your head, but we are in a time when we have had too many fatalities.

"Whilst there has been a lot less than 20 years ago it is still too many. We shouldn't have any so we have got to make changes to improve, not only in Formula One but in the other classes too.

"Maybe it does not have to be closed, maybe there are different mechanisms that we can have to try and help and I think people are exploring ideas."

Hamilton, 28 points ahead of his Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg, sported a new blond hairstyle underneath his Mercedes baseball cap in Monza.

"I am very much in an experimental phase in my life right now and I am experimenting with lots of things," Hamilton, bidding for back-to-back wins in Monza, said.

"It is short-term at the moment but I don't know what colour I'll go to next."

Rosberg claimed Hamilton had joked about his blond hair "for years". The Briton replied: "I am pretty sure I didn't make fun of his hair.

"He use to have really long curtains and he would put his hair back like a girl. So, I'd be like, 'dude, you need to make it shorter'."

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