Lotus scores first points of 2014 with Grosjean in eighth

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After a troublesome start to the 2014 season, Lotus F1 Team has finally found its feet and scored its first points of the year at today’s Spanish Grand Prix.

Romain Grosjean brought his car home in eighth place to score four points, getting both himself and the team on the scoreboard for the first time this year.

The Frenchman started the race in fifth place after a fine display in qualifying yesterday. However, the race pace of the E22 was still giving the team some trouble, and he was unable to hold off Sebastian Vettel, Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen after the first round of stops.

However, he still managed to bring the car home in one piece in eighth place ahead of Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg. The result marked his first top ten finish since last year’s United States Grand Prix in Austin, where he finished second.

It wasn’t all good news for Lotus, though, as Pastor Maldonado’s poor start to the year continued. The Venezuelan driver crashed out during qualifying yesterday, and started the race from last position. However, when trying to pass Caterham’s Marcus Ericsson in the opening few laps, he made a rash move that saw the two make contact.

The stewards did not look kindly on Maldonado’s manoeuvre through turn seven, and handed him a five second stop-go penalty. After the race, they also confirmed that he had been given one penalty point for his FIA superlicense. Maldonado eventually finished in 15th place.

Although the result is still a far cry from the team’s race winning escapades of 2012 and 2013, it is still an important one for the staff at Enstone. Finally, after a winter full of car problems and financial uncertainty, Lotus can see a light at the end of the tunnel.

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).