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German F1 drivers revel in FIFA World Cup victory

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As festivities at Hockenheim got underway today ahead of the German Grand Prix, there was only one thing that everyone in the F1 paddock was talking about.


Yes, it might be surprising, but when you’ve got a German driver and team leading the championships, and a paddock full of Germans, it isn’t so shocking. Mercedes paid tribute to the nation’s win in Brazil with a new livery on its motorhome, calling the team “Das Beste” (which we needn’t translate), and in a press conference featuring four German drivers, it isn’t surprising what the hot topic was.

Nico Rosberg had planned to use a special World Cup themed helmet for this weekend’s race, but has been forced to change it after FIFA claimed his use of the trophy was in breach of its copyright. The design has since been changed to centre on a star. “It was a pity because it looked really cool with the trophy on the top,” Rosberg said. “It’s replaced now with a big star, and no-one can take that away from us. That’s ours!”

As for the final itself, unsurprisingly, a number of the drivers did watch eagerly as Germany defeated Argentina 1-0 at the Estadio Maracana. Rosberg himself had quite a sweet evening watching it with his family.

“I watched it at my parents place, as is tradition in our family because my Mom is the biggest soccer fanatic in our family, so I watched it there with friends and went absolutely crazy when they scored,” he said. “It was a great time!”

Sebastian Vettel also watched it with his loved ones, and said it was an important victory given that the nation’s last came in

“I watched in on TV at home,” Vettel said. “Thank God they showed it. At home, with a couple of friends. I think the reason, it has been 24 years since we last won the World Cup. I hope that the next one doesn’t take 24 years again.

“I think we had a very strong team for the last World Cups as well and were very close to win. It’s good that we succeeded now.”

Adrian Sutil had two chances in the World Cup, given that he is half Uruguayan. He too was delighted with the victory, and believes that it will only aid spirits ahead of the race this weekend.

“It was a great game, I think,” the Sauber driver said. “Very exciting and both played very well. One minute the Germans were a bit better than the other ones and scored a goal. I think something to be very proud of.

“It’s great to see Germany being very happy about it. So many festivals and parties after it, so really, really good. Good mood in the air, so, great also for this weekend here, for the German Grand Prix.”

Nico Hulkenberg put the success down to the strength and unity of the German team. “I also watched it at home with some friends,” he said. “I think we won because we had the strongest team and a great team spirit, a very clever coach.”

Undoubtedly, this weekend’s race has come at a perfect time for both the German drivers and the fans. Spirits are undoubtedly high, and the German representatives in the paddock will be hoping to continue the national sporting success on Sunday.

IndyCar 2015 Driver Review: Gabby Chaves

Gabby Chaves
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MotorSportsTalk continues its run through the driver-by-driver field in the Verizon IndyCar Series. In 15th and the rookie-of-the-year for 2015, was Gabby Chaves.

Gabby Chaves, No. 98 Bryan Herta Autosport Honda

  • 2014: Indy Lights champion
  • 2015: 15th Place, Best Finish 9th, Best Start 12th, 0 Top-5, 2 Top-10, 31 Laps Led, 19.3 Avg. Start, 14.4 Avg. Finish

Some drivers finish better than their performances show. Some drivers have performances better than their results show. The latter statement applied to Gabby Chaves in his rookie year, in what was an impressive first season after making the step up from Indy Lights, which deservedly earned him rookie-of-the-year honors.

The best comparison I’d make for Gabby is of Josef Newgarden in 2012 with Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing, a first-year driver on a single-car, newish team to the series.

Chaves rarely dazzled in qualifying but that wasn’t his fault; he and engineer John Dick worked well together and Chaves recounted multiple times this year that a tweak here or tweak there, the wrong way, on the aero kit would send them down the wrong setup path.

Results in races didn’t measure up either but again that was through almost no fault of his own. The only time Chaves looked truly like a rookie was at St. Pete, when he had several collisions. Otherwise he was ahead of eventual winner James Hinchcliffe at NOLA before getting punted off, reliable through the month of May in Indianapolis, finally able to break through for a ninth place in Detroit race two, overachieving in Texas, 11th at Milwaukee after some great wheel-to-wheel racing with series winners and champions, and then phenomenal at Pocono as he was on course for a first career win or podium before late-race engine issues – his first DNF of the season.

For both Chaves and Herta, you’d love to see them together for another season, and the results and confidence for both parties will grow as a result. Those who’ve seen Newgarden’s rise over four years with Fisher and now CFH will note the long-term stability, and that’s what Chaves could do if he gets the time.

He planted the seed of being a great IndyCar driver, and he became pretty versatile during the year too with additional appearances in the DeltaWing prototype, a short-track midget and one of Herta’s Red Bull Global Rallycross cars. To boot, he’s a smart, great kid who is mature beyond his years, and someone you should be buying stock in now. Anyone who saw Chaves in the Mazda Road to Indy should not have been surprised by his rookie season in the big cars.

Off The Grid: Monza preview (premieres Saturday 10/10 on NBCSN)

F1 Grand Prix of Italy
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Having already taken you behind the scenes in Barcelona, Budapest, Singapore, Melbourne and Silverstone, Will Buxton and Jason Swales now head to one of Formula 1’s most iconic venues for the latest episode of Off The Grid.

Monza has appeared in all but one F1 season since the formation of the world championship in 1950, and is a firm favorite among drivers, teams and fans alike.

However, there is far more to the Italian Grand Prix than meets the eye, as we find out in Saturday’s premiere of Off The Grid: Monza at 9:30am ET (follows Russian GP qualifying).

Having honed his talents in go-karts as a kid, Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo is now trying to pass on his knowledge to the next generation of racers. But can he teach Will or Jason a thing or two?

We also catch up with Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg and get a feel for life on the road as he takes us for a tour of his lavish bus in which he travels in for the European F1 races.

Have you ever wondered just how the suits F1 drivers wear are made? We go behind the scenes at Alpine Stars’ factory in Italy and find out.

Off The Grid: Monza premieres on Saturday at 9:30am ET on NBCSN following Russian GP qualifying.