Brazilian armed robbers hijacked Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes F1 team’s bus, fired shots at them and held a gun to one mechanic’s head in an armed raid last night. Hamilton took to twitter to discuss the incident, asking fans to say a prayer for the victims as well as to blast the security measures Formula One provide whilst they are out in Brazil saying they needed to “do more”.
The armed robbers surrounded vehicles belonging to Formula 1 teams as they left Sao Paulo’s Interlagos circuit at around 8pm yesterday evening. It is yet not known what was stolen but according to Mercedes the criminals made off with belongings that were “very valuable” to the team.
Interestingly, Sao Paulo’s Military Police said today that they had so far not received any report of the incident but according to Mercedes’ director of communication, the ambush happened at when a vehicle forced its van to stop as it left the Interlagos circuit. Most of the staff in the van, who were then held up by the gang, were mechanics, he said.
Hold-ups are a known risk for teams in Sao Paulo with drivers travelling to and from their hotels with police escorts and in cars with bulletproof protection. Mechanics and other staff travel to and from the track by minibus and are advised against wearing branded team clothing away from the circuit.
The altercation follows a similar incident involving Mercedes personnel last year when a member of the team was robbed at gunpoint by two men ahead of the Mexican Grand Prix.