Alonso and Button weigh in on Mercedes championship fight

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Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button have both shared their thoughts on the battle for the drivers’ championship unfolding at Mercedes in 2014.

Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg have enjoyed racing by far the fastest car in 2014, winning all but one of the races – only McLaren in 1988 has made a better start to an F1 season – but the internal fight looks set to rage on.

Currently, just four points separate the two drivers at the top of the standings, and as the F1 season reaches its halfway point, we’re poised for a fascinating battle.

Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button are two drivers who have been embroiled in title fights over the years, and for Alonso, a psychological battle for victory is not only inevitable, but it is also important for those involved.

“It’s very important,” said the Ferrari driver on mind games. “I think it’s a very tight fight. Rosberg’s still in front, they will fight until the end probably, because even if someone has some retirements, with the 50 points in Abu Dhabi, it’s difficult to imagine one of them will arrive with more than 5o [in hand], so it will be very interesting.

“They will enjoy the fight, but at the same time there will be some ups and downs, and they have to be strong as well.”

Jenson Button was rather diplomatic and refused to pick a winner, but he did say that he hopes that the 2014 world champion is a deserving one.

“Score more points! Do a better job!” he quipped when asked how to beat your teammate. “I’ve been asked who’s going to win the championship this year… who knows. I hope it’s the guy who does the better job on the circuit.”

With just two races to go until the summer break, whoever is leading the championship ahead of the Belgian Grand Prix at the beginning of fall could have a psychological edge as well as the mathematical one. Either way, as Alonso said, it looks like that we’re set for an Abu Dhabi finale – double points and all.

NHRA: Brittany Force cleared to race this weekend in Phoenix after bad wreck 2 weeks ago

Photo: John Force Racing
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Drag racing is a Force family tradition. So, too, is not keeping a Force family member down.

Just 12 days after the most serious wreck of her six-year drag racing career, Brittany Force and John Force Racing announced late Thursday afternoon that the defending 2017 NHRA Top Fuel champion has been medically cleared and will indeed race in this weekend’s NHRA Arizona Nationals at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in suburban Phoenix, Arizona.

“I flew into Phoenix early this (Thursday) morning and headed straight out to the race track to meet up with my team,” Force said. “I suited up and got belted back into my car that I ran all last season.

“It honestly felt good to be strapped back in and I was surprised how comfortable I was. I’m looking forward to getting back in my car tomorrow (Friday’s first two rounds of qualifying) and getting back in the swing of things with my guys.”

The 31-year-old Force, one of four daughters of 16-time NHRA Funny Car champ John Force, suffered a concussion and bruising after the hard crash she was involved in on February 11 in the first round of eliminations of the season-opening NHRA Lucas Oil Winternationals in Pomona, California.

Shortly after leaving the starting line in a race vs. Terry Haddock, Force’s dragster crossed from the right to left lanes, impacted the retaining wall with a very hard lateral crash, bounced off, spun, went on its side and briefly caught fire after crossing the finish line wheels-up.

While she is still recovering from the bruising, Force feels strong enough to get back behind the wheel. Getting back in the race car could be the best medicine of all, since she has three runner-up finishes in Phoenix, including back-to-back second-place showings in both the 2016 and 2017 national events.

The three-day event kicks off Friday with qualifying rounds at 4 and 6:30 p.m. ET, the same times as Saturday’s qualifying. Final eliminations begin at 1 p.m. ET Sunday.