Rosberg empowered by Schumacher departure

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Nico Rosberg says he enjoys a greater say in affairs at Mercedes following the departure of Michael Schumacher.

Lewis Hamilton replaced Schumacher as Rosberg’s team mate this year. Hamilton and Rosberg were previously team mates in karting in 2000 and 2001.

Rosberg said the team is “very” different in Schumacher’s absence.

“I now have a stronger voice,” Rosberg said, “and to me that’s a beautiful process in which I can help Mercedes become the best team.”

Rosberg and Schumacher joined the team together in 2010 – Rosberg arriving from Williams, Schumacher returning from retirement. Rosberg out-scored Schumacher in each of their three seasons as team mates, amassing 342 points to Schumacher’s 197. Rosberg also scored the team’s breakthrough victory in last year’s Chinese Grand Prix.

Rosberg, who took pole position for the last race in Bahrain, said his aim is on scoring further wins this year, admitting the title is a “big goal”.

“Now I want to win races, because success is the most fun … We want to improve ourselves – in the direction of race wins.”

New team mate Hamilton has finished on the podium twice this year while Rosberg is yet to do so. Hamilton beat Rosberg to a podium finish in Malaysia after Rosberg was ordered to stay behind the sister car in the closing stages.

Steve Torrence takes NHRA points lead with Gatornationals victory

NHRA Gainesville Steve Torrence
Jeff Robinson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Two-time defending NHRA Top Fuel champion Steve Torrence took the points lead Sunday in the AMALIE Motor Oil Gatornationals, beating his father, Billy, in the final round at Gainesville Raceway.

Torrence had a 3.809-second run at 322.11 mph to win for the third time this year and 39th overall. He is now on track for another championship despite missing the season opener.

“We’ve got some good momentum and to be in the points lead, it’s a testament to how hard these guys work,” Steve Torrence said after the NHRA Gainesville victory. “We’ve just got to stay focused and concentrate on what the task at hand is, and that’s trying to win a championship. These guys give me an unbelievable race car and you just try not to screw it up.”

Ron Capps won in Funny Car, Alex Laughlin in Pro Stock and Matt Smith in Pro Stock Motorcycle.

Capps raced to his second win this year and 66th overall, beating Tim Wilkerson with a 3.937 at 323.12 in a Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat.

Laughlin topped Aaron Stanfield with a 7.068 at 204.76 in a Chevrolet Camaro for his first win this season and fourth in his career. Smith rode to his first victory in 2020 and 25th overall, topping Andrew Hines with a 6.843 at 196.99 on an EBR.