Hamilton feels podium belongs to Rosberg

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Lewis Hamilton was not in a celebratory mood despite claiming his first podium finish for Mercedes, as the British driver feels that teammate Nico Rosberg should have finished ahead of him in third place.

“If I am honest, Nico should be standing here. He had better pace. I was fuel saving for a long, long time.”

After the final round of stops, Rosberg closed to within one second of Hamilton, and he asked his engineer to make Hamilton move over, feeling that he was faster. However, team principal Ross Brawn reacted angrily, telling Rosberg that Hamilton was being told to back off also, and that he had the pace to finish on the podium.

However, it turns out that Hamilton was in fact saving fuel, which should have allowed Rosberg to pass. Instead, the British driver claimed third place, but he reinforced the importance of the team result.

“The guys did a great job and I brought it home. I can’t say it’s the best feeling being up here but racing is racing.”

Hamilton and Rosberg are widely known to be good friends, having raced together since their karting days. It is unlikely that this debacle will put any pressure on their relationship (unlike Webber and Vettel), but it does show that Rosberg is unwilling to play second fiddle to Hamilton this season.

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During the first round of stops, Lewis Hamilton made a humorous mistake in the pits, entering the pit box of his former team, McLaren. He did not lose too much time, but it certainly raised a few smiles up and down the pit lane.

“I don’t know how I got it wrong, a big apology to my team.”

Marco Andretti confident that fewer tests won’t hurt Andretti Autosport

Photo: IndyCar
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A small point of debate around the 2018 aero kit has been the manufacturer test days that took place through the Fall of 2017 and into the beginning of 2018. Chiefly, the debate has centered around teams who hadn’t participated in those manufacturer test days and if they’re starting the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series season at a disadvantage as a result.

Team Penske, Ed Carpenter Racing, and A.J. Foyt Racing completed test days for Chevrolet, with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports and Chip Ganassi Racing doing so for Honda.

That left teams like Andretti Autosport out of the mix, with some voicing concerns as a result.

However, in a press conference during testing at ISM Raceway last weekend, Marco Andretti explained that he thinks Andretti Autosport should be able to catch up on development, citing the team’s resources – they’re the only IndyCar team with four full-time cars in their stable – and the fact that everyone is still adapting to the new kit.

“I feel like it’s early enough days that, yes, we can catch up,” Andretti said at ISM Raceway. “When there is anything new, a new car, new aero kit, at-track days are huge. We can sim all these things we want. To really get out there and confirm what we’re learning back at the shop is another thing.”

Ryan Hunter-Reay during testing at ISM Raceway. Photo: IndyCar

Andretti continued, “Yeah, I don’t think we should look at it like we’re behind the eight ball. With a four-car team, that’s where we can use it to our benefit. So far so good.”

Teammate Ryan Hunter-Reay, echoed Andretti’s sentiments, adding that while the situation is not perfect, they will need to adapt to it in order to remain competitive.

“Any time you have a new car, to put it into perspective, we’re on track three days on a road course before we get to (the season open in St. Petersburg). That’s a very short amount of time. It’s obviously not ideal, but we’re just going to lace up our boots and get on with it. That’s all you can do.”

Andretti Autosport will have one more team test, at Sebring International Raceway later on in February, before the season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

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