Lauda wary of rivals growing stronger

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Mercedes non-executive director Niki Lauda is refusing to get complacent despite the German marque’s near-perfect start to the 2014 Formula 1 season.

Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg have claimed all of the wins on offer at the beginning of the new season, with the result being a Mercedes one-two in all races but the opening round in Australia where Hamilton was forced to retire. This has given the team 154/172 possible points in 2014, but Lauda believes that total domination for entire season would not be good for the sport.

“We do not want to win all the races. Such records don’t do Formula 1 any good,” he explained to Blick newspaper.

“What we want is to build a solid base for the next few years.”

Lauda believes that the results are the just desserts for the team following a lot of time and effort being put into the new regulations, but the rest of the field will catch up soon.

“What we are experiencing currently is the harvest of many months of work,” he said. “Especially in the area of the turbo engine.

“Four wins in a row and strong drivers, this is a great performance, but we do not think the current situation is normal as our opponents will certainly be getting stronger.”

In China, the team was once again dominant, but Ferrari and Red Bull do appear to have cut the gap slightly to the front-runners. The real opportunity will come at the next race in Spain, where all of the teams will be introducing the first major upgrade packages for their cars.

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.