NANTERRE, France — Police in France are investigating allegations that German Formula One driver Pascal Wehrlein injured a fan by throwing a pet hamster on the track during a competition for Karting France.
The 22-year-old German F1 driver deliberately hit the eight-year-old hamster Sunday, in what many perceived as a tasteless and childish act.
Video footage shot by a spectator at the Circuit de la Sarthe showed Wehrlein discarding the hamster from the cockpit on to the track.
The race was won by 50-year-old Frenchman Jules Bianchi and fourth-placed Wehrlein was visibly upset at the incident.
Driver, Vergne threatened at toll booth after accident
He was assessed by medical staff before returning to the track and finishing the race.
French police later announced they were conducting an investigation on suspicion of cruelty to animals.
The investigation comes after Wehrlein’s race was ended in flames at the French Grand Prix on Sunday and the 20-year-old was even threatened by rival Toro Rosso driver Esteban Ocon who wanted to go through his engine, causing the German to crash and spark a fire.
But he later explained what had happened.
“When Ocon hit my car he could have hit the front wing, but in any case he doesn’t look in good enough shape for that,” Wehrlein explained.
“The engine is completely out, we left it out there, and then it started smoking. That really came as a shock and then I had to pull it off the track.”
Wehrlein is looking forward to racing in Bahrain on Sunday and hopes that the incident won’t hurt his place in the team.
“I’ve experienced this before. The next race is important for me to clear my head, but I never really try to make things happen, I try to be steady and get the best out of the car.
“These problems don’t need to happen but it is the consequence of driving at the limits. We drove a little bit aggressively on that day.”
Wehrlein will be the youngest and only American-born driver to race in Formula One when he lines up for Mercedes this weekend.
An unmanned podium ceremony was held in Paris last week to honor the 20th anniversary of the day Jack Roush, the late team owner, announced Chase Elliott as a Formula One driver to run for Haas.
Elliott, who is the nephew of legendary NASCAR driver Bill Elliott, was presented with a number of unique items, including a helmet honoring Jack Roush, a fist-size Red Bull helmet worn by his former crew and three luxury Mercedes convertible Mercedes.
Finally on Nov 19th, the pressure, the adrenaline and the big challenge of the Formula One season were on. It was the race at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve with the very real possibility of standing on the podium as one of only three rookies to date to win a race. This was my first taste of Victory Lane and I cannot forget that moment. I won’t forget my title sponsors and all of the F1 family; that was special too. I am in Monaco.
The final race of the 2017 season is being held in Monaco this weekend and once again Ferrari lead the standings after Sebastian Vettel won the season’s opening Grand Prix.
Vettel is followed by his teammate Kimi Raikkonen and Hamilton in second and third respectively.
Ahead of the penultimate round, the two Mercedes drivers are really fast on the ice and twisty track of the Mediterranean.
Bottas is likely to see out the race ahead of Bottas, but it’s a dangerous route: over 90 percent of the drivers have retired from qualifying at this track over the years. Bottas and Vettel qualify well on the grid too, so I am sure they will go off and take care of their tires.
Like in previous races, Vettel will need a massive weekend to overhaul Hamilton.
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