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Wolff: Mercedes stronger for 2016 challenges, hungry for more success in ’17

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Mercedes Formula 1 chief Toto Wolff believes that the team has emerged stronger for the challenges it faced through the 2016 season, but remains hungry for more success next year.

Mercedes swept to a third straight championship double in 2016, with Nico Rosberg claiming his maiden drivers’ title ahead of teammate Lewis Hamilton.

The pair shared 19 race wins, marking a new record for a team in one season, and started on pole for all but one race.

Rosberg announced five days after winning the championship that he would be retiring from racing with immediate effect, leaving Mercedes with the task of finding a replacement ahead of the 2017 campaign.

Following a challenging season, Wolff sent a Christmas message to the entire Mercedes workforce reflecting on the campaign and looking ahead to next year.

Here is the message in full:

2016 has been a remarkable year. Our team has broken records in the history books; we have pursued our goals with passion and determination; and we were tested at each turn by unexpected challenges.

Nico was crowned champion and then departed the stage. Lewis needed strength of character to handle defeat with composure and dignity. We celebrated our success and we learned from our mistakes. Through all these moments, we have emerged stronger and more capable to face together the road ahead.

Our position in the spotlight puts every decision taken and every word spoken under an intense microscope. They are debated passionately among our fans and interpreted by the media.

But there has been enough talking, now. This is the period for calm and considered reflection; to savor our achievements and prepare for the next campaign.

As we move forward, we will continue to be guided above all by the best interest of our team. This philosophy is bigger than any one season or any one person.

It has forged a group that is humble in victory and gracious in defeat; hungry for challenge and resilient under pressure; never satisfied with the status quo, always seeking to improve.

Our values have been the foundation stones of three world championships. And there will be no compromise as we begin our quest for a fourth in 2017.

It is now time for some days away from the world of racing, to be enjoyed among family and friends. To recharge the batteries for the bigger challenges ahead.

We will tackle new rules, welcome a new race driver and take on even stronger rivals. It will test our team’s character, strength and capability. Bring it on!

With my best wishes to you all for a very happy Christmas,

Toto.

Recapping the proper Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel rivalry (VIDEO)

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Lewis Hamilton and Sebastien Vettel are the two most decorated drivers currently on the Formula 1 grid, with seven World Championships between them (four for Vettel, and three for Hamilton).

However, their paths have rarely crossed on the track, and only in 2010 did both drivers battle each for a World Championship in the same year. They also battled Fernando Alonso and Mark Webber that year, with Vettel emerging on top to claim his first World Championship.

However, the 2017 season sees Hamilton and Vettel in the two best cars on the grid, and they have gone head-to-head multiple times already this year, with each claiming two victories through the first five races. Currently, Vettel leads Hamilton 104-98 in the world championship, and the two men are developing a strong on-track rivalry.

Monaco Grand Prix coverage continues with FP3 and qualifying on Saturday. Full times are linked here.

 

Take a look behind the scenes of Fernando Alonso’s Indy 500 qualifying runs (VIDEO)

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In Friday’s NASCAR AMERICA Motorsports Special on NBCSN, we take you behind the scenes during F1 superstar Fernando Alonso’s qualifying runs for the Indy 500, including when he was on the pole for a brief period. He’ll eventually start fifth. 

Simulator ride tells what Fernando Alonso can expect in Indianapolis 500 (VIDEO)

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On Friday’s NASCAR AMERICA Motorsports Special on NBCSN, Parker Kligerman and his backseat driver, Kyle Petty, took to the iRacing simulator to make a mock run around Indianapolis Motor Speedway in preparation for Sunday’s Indianapolis 500.

They look at the challenges of IMS, as well as the challenges two-time Formula One champion Fernando Alonso will face in the first oval track race in his illustrious career. Alonso is among the favorites in the race and will take the green flag from the middle of Row 2 (fifth position).

Check out the above video.  

Legendary announcer Ken Squier gets you ready for Sunday’s big day of racing (VIDEO)

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Sunday is the biggest day of the year in motorsports, starting in the morning with Formula 1’s legendary Monaco Grand Prix.

Then, at Noon ET, it’s the 101st running of the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The final part of the tripleheader of racing is NASCAR’s longest race of the season, the 400-lap, 600-mile Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Newly-named NASCAR Hall of Fame Class of 2018 inductee Ken Squier gives you a great primer for what promises to be a memorable day around the world (see video above).