Two of racing’s most talented drivers, Wilson and Larson, share birthdays

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Two of the most talented drivers in their respective disciplines share a birthday on Wednesday. IndyCar’s Justin Wilson turns 35, while NASCAR rising star Kyle Larson has hit the magic age of 21.

Wilson, who’s got a busy second half of 2013 lined up with commitments in both IndyCar and the GRAND-AM Rolex Series, heads to Mid-Ohio this weekend for the Honda Indy 200 looking for his first podium finish since Detroit race one in the No. 19 Boy Scouts of America Honda for Dale Coyne Racing.

“I love racing at Mid-Ohio,” Wilson said in a release. “It’s a great track. I always go fast there. I love the lay­out and elevation changes. The way the car moves around doing that is a lot of fun. It’s a rewarding track when things go well. Qualifying is key at Mid-Ohio so hopefully we can start toward the front, have a straightforward race, and come away with a good result. The championship is very close right now and a couple good finishes could put us right up there into the top-five.”

Meanwhile Larson is a week removed from his starring role in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series’ debut on dirt, at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio. He’ll be headed to Iowa this weekend in his normal role, driver of the No. 32 Turner Scott Motorsports in the NASCAR Nationwide Series. And given there’s a bunch of dirt around in Iowa – Knoxville and the like – it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the young wheel man at a local short track there, either.

F1 2017 driver review: Lewis Hamilton

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Following on from the driver reviews from the Verizon IndyCar Series, MotorSportsTalk kicks off its Formula 1 recaps by looking back on Lewis Hamilton’s championship year.

Lewis Hamilton

Team: Mercedes AMG Petronas
Car No.: 44
Races: 20
Wins: 9
Podiums (excluding wins): 4
Pole Positions: 11
Fastest Laps: 7
Points: 363
Laps Led: 527
Championship Position: 1st

Lewis Hamilton may have wrapped up his fourth Formula 1 world title with two races to spare, but his margin of victory was far from representative of what was arguably his greatest championship victory yet.

Mercedes entered 2017 bidding to become the first team to defend its titles across a seismic regulation change, and appeared to be on the back foot early on after Ferrari impressed in pre-season testing and won the opening race through Sebastian Vettel.

Hamilton was left wrestling with a “diva” of a car, as coined by Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff, but was able to get on top of it by the second race of the year in China, taking a dominant win in wet-dry conditions.

The win was representative of Hamilton’s form through the first portion of the season. When he won, he won in style – as in Spain, Canada and on home soil in Great Britain – but the off weekends saw him struggle.

Heading into the summer break, Vettel’s championship lead stood at 14 points, with the pair’s on-track rivalry having already spilled over in Baku when they made contact behind the safety car.

But Hamilton then produced the form that propelled him to titles in 2014 and 2015, breaking the back of the season through the final flyaways. As Vettel and Ferrari capitulated over the Asian rounds, picking up just 12 points when a full score of 75 for three wins was certainly in reach, Hamilton capitalised and put himself on the brink of the title.

While Hamilton’s run to P9 in Mexico was a messy way to wrap up his hardest-fought title to date, getting across the line and the job done was a significant result.

Unlike his last two titles, Hamilton was tasked with an enemy outside of the team in this title race and a car that arguably wasn’t the fastest on the grid.

But his unquestionable talent and ability to dig deep to get himself out of tough situations – Singapore and Brazil being two key examples where the result was far from expected – proved crucial once again.

Hamilton is now in the annals of F1 history as one of its all-time greats. The pole record is his, and only two drivers can boast more world titles than him (Michael Schumacher and Juan Manuel Fangio).

Depending on how long he wants to continue racing, going down as F1’s statistical all-time great is certainly not out of the realm of possibility.

Season High: Charging from the pit lane to P4 in Brazil, a race he could have even won.

Season Low: Dropping out in Q2 in Monaco, only recovering to P7 in the race.