The desolate loneliness of F1's new normal

Fans and competitors alike are happy that Formula 1 is up and running while the world continues to defend itself against the coronavirus pandemic.

Racing in front of empty grandstands is the necessary price to pay for not only putting the show on the road but also keeping it there for the foreseeable future.

But the spectacle of motorsport's elite performing in an arena void of its vibrant crowds is still a hurting one to contemplate.

"It felt very odd driving up here because normally you are aware of that [the fans], and you know when you get here because that's what you notice first," admitted Lewis Hamilton.

"Not seeing anybody in the grandstands is going to be odd.

"And when you drive around these corners there is not a split second when you don't get to see the crowd beyond the corner, and not seeing the flags, so it's definitely going to be a lonely weekend without their energy."

It's the desolate loneliness of F1's new normal.