Hamilton changes mind over title chances

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“Obviously that’s that for the championship,” said Lewis Hamilton to reporters moments after he climbed out of his car at Monza.

A frustrating weekend at Monza yielded just ninth place and two points for the Mercedes driver.

Hamilton’s troubles began on Saturday when he went off at Parabolica during qualifying, damaging his car. That gave him one chance to make it into Q3, which was ruined when he caught Adrian Sutil’s Force India at the same corner.

On race day he clearly had a quick car – the Mercedes drivers set the fastest lap times of the race. But an early puncture made for another setback. Hamilton had to pit twice, and although he made it back into the points his attempt to take eighth place off Romain Grosjean on the final lap was lost when he ran wide.

Hamilton initially described his weekend as a “disaster” and conceded that, with seven races to go and Sebastian Vettel 81 points ahead, his championship chances were over.

But later came a change of heart: “When I got out of the car I was angry, and definitely thought that would be it,” he told Reuters.

“But I’ve been back with my engineers and I’m not going to give up. I basically need to win every race, which is the tallest order ever, but I can do nothing but try.”

Even if Hamilton were to win all of the remaining races, third places for Vettel would be sufficient to keep him 11 points ahead of the Mercedes driver.

Montoya: ‘Hopefully I get a chance to do Indy again’ (VIDEO)

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Juan Pablo Montoya is on site at this weekend’s United States Grand Prix, his latest trip in a summer and fall filled with a lot of international travel and a number of different race cars he’s been in.

Montoya is committed to a full season in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship with Acura Team Penske in 2018, as he’ll share one of the team’s Acura ARX-05s with Dane Cameron.

However, the question of whether he’ll be able to race in the 102nd Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil remains.

Team Penske has said it plans to only run four cars next month of May, with Helio Castroneves as the fourth driver alongside the three full-time cars driven by Josef Newgarden, Simon Pagenaud and Will Power.

While Montoya has said elsewhere that he’s shopping offers and has talked with other teams, it’d be highly surprising to see the two-time Indianapolis 500 champion who developed the Chevrolet engine for IndyCar’s 2018 Dallara universal body kit in a Honda-powered IndyCar, although he is running Honda’s brand (Acura) in sports cars.

Montoya elaborated on his Indy 500 prospects in an interview with NBCSN pit reporter and insider Will Buxton at the Circuit of The Americas.

“Not full-time no,” Montoya told NBCSN of his IndyCar 2018 prospects. “Hopefully I get a chance to go to Indy, hopefully with Penske, (and) if not someone else. We’ll see.”

Photo: IndyCar

Montoya has extolled the early testing both on the 2018 IndyCar and on the Acura ARX-05.

The first Acura chassis has run at Road Atlanta and Sebring International Raceway thus far, and will be put through its paces at other venues over the next few months.

“It’s been good. We did a lot of work with INDYCAR on that car. Fans are gonna like it,” Montoya said of the 2018 kit.

“Going to IMSA with the Acura program, we’ve done a lot of testing. It’s a beauty to drive. It drives better than what it looks! I haven’t had that much fun driving a race car in a long time.”

Acura ARX-05 Daytona Prototype international (DPi) race car to be campaigned by Team Penske in 2018