Surtees and Warwick weigh in on Hamilton debate

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Lewis Hamilton’s behavior and comments across the course of the Monaco Grand Prix weekend have certainly ruffled a few feathers, with John Surtees and Derek Warwick becoming the latest figures to condemn his actions.

Hamilton was left fuming after losing pole position to teammate Nico Rosberg under controversial circumstances. Whilst on provisional pole, Rosberg made a mistake on his final flying lap, taking to the slip road at Mirabeau after locking up.

However, this brought out the yellow flags, and meant that none of the drivers behind him – including Hamilton – could improve their time.

Rosberg denied doing it deliberately, and despite the stewards agreeing with him after an investigation, Hamilton seemed sure that it was an intentional move to deny him pole position. He went on to finish the race in second place behind Rosberg, but did not congratulate the German on the podium.

Derek Warwick was the lead FIA driver steward in Monaco, and told British newspaper the Daily Mail that Hamilton should “man up” and accept the decision his team made.

“I understand that Lewis was upset,” Warwick said. “Possibly he would have gone faster than Nico on that lap. Arguably the incident cost him the grand prix.

“I don’t want to give him advice really. He has won umpteen races and a world championship, but if I were to say anything, it would be to man up and concentrate on the next race in Canada.

“We had all Mercedes’s data, including Lewis’s data to overlay on Nico’s. We had the FIA data. We had onboard shots, overhead shots, circuit shots. We had throttle traces, braking traces, everything we needed to make, hopefully, the right decision.”

John Surtees concurred with Warwick, saying that Hamilton’s behavior in the wake of the defeat was disappointing.

“I have no doubt about Lewis Hamilton’s driving ability, but I didn’t like what I saw and heard from Monaco,” the 1964 world champion wrote in his column for Motor Sport Magazine. “I can understand the frustration that Lewis must have felt in not having that opportunity on the last lap of qualifying to get pole.

“But I think his reaction to his teammate and team was wrong.”

General consensus in the paddock is that Rosberg’s error was exactly that – an error – and that Hamilton’s frosty reaction was a little uncalled for. However, in the bid to win a second world title, the Briton is clearly pushing as hard as possible.

It will be interesting to see how the intra-team relationship has changed by the time of the next race in Canada, but judging by the fall-out in Monaco, we could be set for a spectacular battle at Mercedes in 2014.

Dodge to celebrate 50th anniversary of Hemi motor at NHRA U.S. Nationals

Photo courtesy Fiat Chrysler Automobiles
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When this year’s NHRA U.S. Nationals plays out from August 29 through September 3 at Indianapolis Raceway Park, a lot of folks are going to be channeling one of the most famous lines in motorsports:

“Hey, that thing got a Hemi?”

Dodge and parent company Fiat Chrysler Automobiles on Thursday – on National Hemi Day, no less – announced that it will celebrate the Hemi’s 50th anniversary of Super Stock cars with the 18th annual Dodge Hemi Challenge during the U.S. Nationals.

Cars that will take part in the Challenge will be 1968 Dodge Dart and Plymouth Barracuda cars – “The most iconic of the Mopar package cars,” touted a Dodge press release – in a head-to-head battle.

The Dart and Barracuda were purpose built for use solely on a drag strip. The 23 entrants in the Challenge will drive their personally owned versions of the ’68 ‘Cuda and Dart.

The winner of the Challenge – which will be held August 30-31 – will take home a $15,000 purse, while cash rewards will be available for all 16 drivers that qualify for final eliminations.

“The Dodge brand is proud to serve as title sponsor of the NHRA Dodge HEMI Challenge, an event that spotlights the legacy and power of the 426 HEMI engine,” said Steve Beahm, Head of Passenger Cars, Dodge//SRT, Chrysler and FIAT, FCA North America.

Beahm added, “This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Dodge Dart and Plymouth Barracuda Super Stock cars that debuted back in 1968 and are still competing today, which makes our support of this edition of the HEMI Challenge extra special.”

One special incentive for contestants is the 42.6-pound NHRA Dodge HEMI Challenge trophy, created in the spirit of the 426 (cubic inch) HEMI engine.

Jimmy Daniels has won the Challenge the last two years and goes for a three-peat in this year’s race within a race. His father, Jim Daniels, won the race in 2010.

The Challenge’s all-time winningest driver is Charlie Westcott Jr. of Parma, Michigan, who captured the Challenge in six different years: 2005, 2006, 2008, 2011, 2012 and 2014.

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