Hamlin: More appreciative from the sidelines

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Denny Hamlin’s extended stay on NASCAR’s “disabled list” may come to a close before the race at Richmond International Raceway. Without racing to occupy him in the moment with his fractured vertebra, he’s soaking up other aspects of life.

“It makes me appreciate everything more,” Hamlin told USA TODAY Sports in Kansas. “For sure, it’s just the little things you don’t see when you’re so single-minded in the race car. You don’t see the bigger picture.

“Now I truly believe that me and (crew chief) Darian (Grubb) will be better coming out of this than if it never happened.”

Hamlin’s had more time to spend at home with his new daughter, Taylor. Mark Martin and Brian Vickers have driven Hamlin’s No. 11 FedEx Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing in his absence.

With Hamlin losing points at a rapid clip – he’s now 26th in the standings – the only way he’ll be able to make NASCAR’s Chase for the Sprint Cup in 2013 is with multiple wins and climbing inside the top 20 in the standings.

F1 Paddock Pass: United States Grand Prix post-race (VIDEO)

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As Lewis Hamilton took another step towards his fourth Formula 1 World Championship Sunday at the United States Grand Prix at Circuit of The Americas, plenty of other topics of discussion emerged in the wake of Round 17 of the season from Austin.

Hamilton’s win came as his Mercedes AMG Petronas team claimed its fourth consecutive Constructor’s Championship, Scuderia Ferrari came up short once again despite a valiant effort in second and third, and Max Verstappen’s penalty after the race was the major talking point.

Elsewhere Valtteri Bottas struggled again, the Sahara Force India twins continued to pick up points, Carlos Sainz Jr. made a major positive impact in his first start with Renault, Brendon Hartley impressed on debut at Toro Rosso and Romain Grosjean and Haas F1 Team endured a tough weekend on Haas’ home soil.

Check out all the recap from the latest USGP in the latest post-race edition of the NBC Sports Group original digital series Paddock Pass with NBCSN pit reporter and insider Will Buxton, below.