Webber: Pole slipped through my fingers

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Mark Webber believes that pole position slipped through his fingers in today’s qualifying session for the United States Grand Prix, as the Australian driver finished just 0.103 seconds down on teammate Sebastian Vettel at the end of Q3.

Webber had looked poised to claim his third pole position in four races after going fastest on his first run and quicker still with his second run. However, a mistake at the final corner meant that Vettel’s stunning final lap did enough to edge out the Australian driver, and Webber knows that this was an opportunity missed.

“The first part of my final lap was very good, I was happy with that, but I didn’t quite get turns nineteen and twenty,” Webber said. “If I’d done what I did there initially in Q3, it would probably have been enough, but I tried to squeeze a bit more out and it’s easy to load the car a bit too much in these conditions.

“Sometimes you’re happy and think you’ve given your best, but today it slipped through the fingers. Well done to Seb, he put the three sectors together and I put two and a half together. I just dropped it in the last sector and it’s not satisfying when you do that, but I’m still pretty happy with second.”

This will be Mark Webber’s final appearance as a Formula One driver in the USA ahead of his retirement at the end of the season, and he will be hoping to sign off with a win in his final two races.

Lewis Hamilton receives Daytona 500 invitation from Bubba Wallace

Lewis Hamilton Bubba Wallace
Rudy Carezzevoli/Getty Images
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Lewis Hamilton is a fan of the new NASCAR Cup Series team formed by Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan to field a car for Bubba Wallace.

Will the six-time Formula One champion also be a fan in person at a NASCAR race in the near future?

Wallace is hoping so.

After Hamilton tweeted his support Tuesday morning about the news of a Hamlin-Jordan-Wallace team making its debut with the 2021 season, Wallace responded with a sly invitation to the Daytona 500.

Much would need to be worked out, starting with how much garage and grandstand access would be afforded for a 2021 season opener that likely would occur during a still ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

But it would seem fitting given that Hamilton and Wallace have been two of the most outspoken Black athletes about the quest for diversity and racial justice. Hamilton recently reaffirmed his commitment to activism after his donning a Breonna Taylor shirt sparked an FIA inquiry.

The idea of Hamilton attending the season opener already had legs, too. The Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 driver has expressed a desire to race the Daytona 500 after he has retired from Formula One.

He was a spectator (with racing legend Mario Andretti) at four-time champion Jeff Gordon’s final Cup race as a full-time in the 2015 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. In 2011, Hamilton swapped cars with three-time champion Tony Stewart at Watkins Glen International.

Having rubbed shoulders with other racing greats so often, it only would be fitting if Hamilton — who is one victory from tying Michael Schumacher’s career record and also could tie the F1 record with a seventh championship this season — spent some time with the greatest basketball player of all time.

Jeff Gordon was flanked by Mario Andretti and Lewis Hamilton before the 2015 Cup season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway (Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images).