Force India signs Juncadella as reserve driver

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Mercedes DTM touring car driver Daniel Juncadella has been signed as Force India’s reserve driver for the 2014 Formula One season behind Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg.

The 22-year-old Spaniard is a former champion of the FIA European Formula Three series and turned laps for Williams last summer in the Young Driver’s Test at Silverstone. In 2012, he also tested for Ferrari in their 2009-spec machine, the F60, after wrapping up that F3 title.

According to a team release, Juncadella “will attend all races with the team and take part in several Friday practice sessions to gain valuable track time and experience behind the wheel of the VJM07,” which was recently unveiled in a series of images.

“Joining Sahara Force India is a dream come true,” Juncadella said. “It’s a fantastic opportunity for me to learn and will hopefully take me a step closer to eventually racing in Formula One.

“To work with the team at the track and in the factory will give me some valuable experience and I will do my best to make a contribution to help the team achieve its goals in 2014.”

The team notes that Juncadella’s “racing focus” shall remain in the DTM with the Mercedes team. He finished 16th in last year’s series championship.

An interesting note for those in tune with F1 history: Juncadella is the nephew of Luis Perez-Sala, the final team principal for HRT (which left the sport after the 2012 season) and a former competitor for Minardi in the late 1980s.

Hamilton hails ‘greatest day’ after USGP victory, Mercedes title win

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Lewis Hamilton made no secret of his jubilation after taking a giant step towards his fourth Formula 1 championship win with victory in Sunday’s United States Grand Prix that also saw Mercedes clinch the constructors’ title.

Hamilton recovered from an early pass by F1 title rival Sebastian Vettel to take his sixth victory on American soil, five of which have come at the Circuit of The Americas in Austin, to extend his lead to 66 points.

With just 75 left on offer this season, Hamilton needs just one top-five finish in the final three races to clinch his fourth world title, with the enormity of the victory not being lost on the Mercedes driver.

“Today has been amazing. It’s been the greatest day,” Hamilton told NBCSN after the race.

“I woke up a bit tired, felt the rain, then was like, ‘What the hell?’ But I didn’t mind. I won here in the rain in the past. Then it dried up, clear blue skies, amazing opening at the beginning of the GP.

“I lost first place into Turn 1. It was OK. That first section, we got through there, and it felt very reminiscent of 2012: ‘Game on. You have to save the tires’, and he wasn’t doing that. I kind of kept my cool.”

“I saw I got a good exit of Turn 1, this was the lap and it was. His tires were dropping off anyway.”

Hamilton’s victory saw Mercedes wrap up its fourth consecutive F1 constructors’ title with three races to spare, with the Briton having played a key part in each of its successes.

“I’m so proud of this team. Big congratulations to the guys, people don’t know the amount of work they do,” Hamilton said.

“It’s over 1,500 people in two factories, so much brainpower and a lot of people to manage to extract the best from each of those.

“To come into a new era of car and perform as we have. There’s been a newfound love within the team. Ferrari, we want to beat them, thrash them.

“So they put more hours of working in to do that. That’s for all their hard work.”