Alonso: Mercedes could win every race in 2014

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Fernando Alonso believes that Mercedes could win every single race of the 2014 Formula 1 season, and appears to have written off his own title chances after just four races.

Mercedes has made a remarkable start to the season, winning all of the first four races and claiming three one-two finishes in this time. In fact, before this afternoon’s Spanish Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg have claimed 154 of 182 possible points this year.

A lengthy lead-up for the W05 Hybrid car and plenty of work during the off-season has given Mercedes a clear advantage over the rest of the field. Alonso – who has won the world championship twice – believes that this is such that the team could complete a clean sweep in 2014.

“They should be in a position to win all the races probably, so it is going to be tight between them,” he explained to the BBC in Spain yesterday. “Probably the championship will be decided by who finishes most races between them.

“I think the mechanical side and luck will be a factor because we saw Lewis is doing some extra from Nico in these first four races, but he is second in the championship because he didn’t finish one race. That will be the key of the championship for them.”

Mercedes may enjoy a pace advantage of at least half a second per lap over the rest of the field, but a perfect season would be extraordinary. McLaren came close to achieving this in 1988 when the all-conquering MP4/4 car won 15 out of 16 races in the hands of Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost, with the only blot on the team’s scoresheet coming at Monza when both drivers were involved in accidents.

Alonso will start today’s Spanish Grand Prix from seventh place on the grid, and he believes that there is still a lot of room for improvement with the F14 T car.

There is a definite improvement compared to China, but we have some problems with the rear, despite the many set-up changes we made,” he said. “Kimi did very well and I hope that both Ferraris can finish higher up.

“Now we must find the best strategy for tomorrow and try to get a good start. But above all, we mustn’t make any mistakes, because this race demands a high level of concentration.”

You can watch the Spanish Grand Prix live on NBCSN and Live Extra from 7:30am ET today.

INDYCAR: Newgarden, Sato quickest in first of 2 Friday practices at Road America

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Josef Newgarden was quickest in the first of Friday’s two INDYCAR practice sessions at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin.

The 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series champion covered the 4.048-mile, 14-turn course with a best lap of 1:43.0477, followed by Takuma Sato (1:43.4729), Alexander Rossi (1:43.5603), Robert Wickens (1:43.5774) and Marco Andretti (1:43.8825).

Sixth-quickest was Tony Kanaan (1:44.0429), followed by Spencer Pigot (1:44.1080), Zach Veach (1:44.1306), Scott Dixon (1:44.1643) and Matheius Leist (1:44.2963).

Alfonso Celis Jr., making his Verizon IndyCar Series debut and with Juncos Racing, was 22nd quickest in the 23-car field at 1:44.9164, while Gabby Chaves was the slowest driver on the course at 1:46.4485.

While there were no significant incidents during the 45-minute session, a number of drivers struggled in several turns, primarily due to some lingering puddles from overnight rain, as well as on rumble strips that threw their cars into adjacent grass areas.

The second practice session today takes place at 4:15 p.m. ET.

A third practice kicks off Saturday’s busy day at Noon ET, followed by qualifying at 4 p.m. ET, the second round of qualifying at 4:40 p.m. ET and the third and final round of qualifying at 5 p.m. ET.

The weekend’s main event, Sunday’s KOHLER Grand Prix, takes the green flag shortly after 1 p.m. ET. Make sure to tune in to NBCSN for the live telecast of the race.

We’ll have the full practice grid and driver quotes shortly. Please check back soon.

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