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Stewart laments lack of driver camaraderie in modern F1

Niki Lauda and Sir Jackie Stewart
© XPB 

Three-time world champion Sir Jackie Stewart says that he regrets the absence of strong friendships between today's Formula 1 drivers.

Stewart enjoyed fierce on-track battles with driving legends including Graham Hill and Jim Clark during his time in the sport. But away from the track, he also counted them among his closest friends.

"There was a huge joint care for each other," Stewart told the Daily Telegraph newspaper this week. "We all knew each other well, the media included, because we all travelled together.

"We all ate together and in those days there was no motor homes. In the early days we would eat in the back of a transporter on little tables.

"Now the drivers cut themselves off from society to a large extent, and that camaraderie doesn't exist any more.

"I think it is sad, I think if they spent more time together they would get on better."

This year certainly seems to have seen more friction between the drivers than usual. Red Bull team mates Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen have both had verbal exchanges in public, as have their Force India counterparts Esteban Ocon and Sergio Perez.

Championship leader Sebastian Vettel was forced to apologise to Lewis Hamilton for banging wheels behind the safety car in Baku. Vettel had been angry over Hamilton seemingly 'brake testing' him.

And in Hungary there was a sharp exchange of words between Renault's Nico Hulkenberg and Haas F1's Kevin Magnussen over an on-track incident. But the way such disagreements are handled is different today than it was in Stewart's era.

"On a race track, when someone behaved badly it could be dealt with, because we were a tight group," Stewart explained.

"Every single race had a meeting after and the boys would say: 'Oi! I've had enough of that. I was behind and I saw it and you could have had a big shunt because of this.'

"In our era, when big shunts came, people died," he commented.

"That almost certainly meant you would go to the funeral. It almost certainly meant your wife was having to look after the girlfriend or the wife of the driver who has just been killed.

"You go to the funerals and you're meeting the father, the mother, the children or siblings. Up close and personal. That's what the guys don't understand today."

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