Helio on IndyCar title race: “We’re not trying to overdo it”

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With a victory at Texas earlier this summer and Top-10 results in all but one race, being steady has put Helio Castroneves atop the IZOD IndyCar Series championship. And so, he and Team Penske will look to keep on that course in the final six races of the year.

“The results we’ve achieved have come from our consistency,” Castroneves said on Wednesday at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, where he and the rest of the IZOD IndyCar Series will compete this weekend in the Honda Indy 200 (Sun., 3 p.m. ET, NBCSN).

“We’re pushing the limit of the car and myself. We’re not trying to overdo it. If the cars good,  we’ll go for it. If the car’s not good, then we have to find ways to make it happen. That’s what we’ve done in the past. We’ve always been very close [to winning the championship] and right now, things are going our way. Hopefully, we keep it this way.”

Castroneves holds a 29-point lead going into this weekend’s race but Scott Dixon – a four-time winner at Mid-Ohio – has gotten closer to the Brazilian on the strength of three consecutive wins last month at Pocono and the Toronto doubleheader. Considering Dixon’s current run of success and his past body of work at M-O, it’s easy for one to assume that, barring trouble, he’ll find a way to at least shrink Castroneves’ lead further.

But with plenty of racing left in the season, the three-time Indianapolis 500 winner is keeping his eyes on what he and his No. 3 Penske squad can control and not on the hard-charging Dixon.

“It was good we’ve had these two weeks off, because our boys have been working to find things to help us that we haven’t seen before,” said Castroneves. “In that aspect, we’re not focusing on what [Dixon] is doing. We’re focusing on what we can do. But we know how good he’s going to be [at Mid-Ohio].”

Watch this weekend’s Honda Indy 200 from Mid-Ohio online and on your mobile device.

Hamilton: McLaren could help create four-team F1 title fight in 2018

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Lewis Hamilton says the Mercedes Formula 1 team cannot afford to let up in its push to improve ahead of a fiercer fight at the front of the field in 2018 – potentially including former team McLaren.

Hamilton clinched his fourth F1 drivers’ title in Mexico at the end of October as Mercedes continued its perfect record of championships since the introduction of the new V6 turbo hybrid engines in 2014.

The team faced a stiffer challenge in 2017 thanks to a resurgent Ferrari, while Red Bull also posed a threat towards the end of the season, setting the stage for another close fight next year.

Hamilton is expecting both Ferrari and Red Bull to remain a force at the front of the pack, but also feels McLaren could join the fight after ditching Honda in favor of a Renault engine supply for 2018.

“When I’m training and preparing for a new season, I firmly believe that we can be contenders for the next championship. It may turn out to be not possible, but you have to have that mindset,” Hamilton said.

“If you go in with expectations of finishing fifth, it’s not going to work. You’ve got to gear yourself up to win.

“Next year, McLaren will have Renault engines, then we may see four teams fighting for the championship. I think Red Bull will be quicker and Ferrari for sure will be fast again.

“We can’t stand still – we have to keep moving forwards.”

Hamilton started his F1 career with McLaren back in 2007, winning his maiden world title in 2008 before leaving the team for Mercedes at the end of the 2012 season.