Webber relaxed ahead of final grand prix

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Mark Webber is feeling relaxed ahead of his final race as a Formula One driver this weekend in Brazil (live on NBC from 11am ET), although he admitted that it has not yet sunk in that he is just a few days away from retirement before his move to Porsche’s LMP1 campaign in 2014.

Webber confirmed at the British Grand Prix back in June that he would be walking away from Formula One at the end of the season, but he is not getting too worked up about his exit just yet.

“I think on Sunday it will be a little bit different but it still feels like a normal race at the moment, so looking forward to Sunday in many ways, in terms of obviously pushing for a good result, but also I’m ready to stop and looking forward to the extended winter that I’ll have and the new challenges around the corner,” the Australian driver explained. “Getting out of the car on Sunday, there will be a few things that will be for the last obviously in terms of Formula One, but I’m pretty relaxed at the moment and looking forward to the race.”

Webber is chasing his tenth and final grand prix victory this weekend, and with rain forecast, he could be in with a chance of ending teammate Sebastian Vettel’s dominant streak of eight consecutive wins.

During the drivers’ press conference in Brazil, Webber went on to talk about some of the things he would miss when he leaves Formula One, naming Red Bull’s design guru Adrian Newey as someone who he would particularly miss.

“It’s inevitable that you’re going to miss certain parts, for sure the adrenaline and working with people like Adrian Newey,” he said. “Stuff like that you don’t get to do that often obviously. That’ll be something I’ll miss a bit. But there comes a time when you’ve got to let go and I’ll still have good adrenaline next year obviously with Porsche and that’ll be a good balance.”

This weekend’s race will be the final chapter in a fine career that has seen Webber move from the back of the grid to the very front, and his refreshing attitude and outlook will be missed in the sport.

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 world’s 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).