Hill: Hamilton could be impossible to beat

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1996 Formula 1 world champion Damon Hill believes that Lewis Hamilton might already be on track to win his second championship after making a scintillating start to the 2014 season.

Hamilton took the lead of the drivers’ championship following last weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix, where he claimed his fourth straight win. The Briton appears to be in a good place both on and off track, and Hill believes that he might already be unbeatable.

“Up until this season, it always looked like Lewis’s focus could go at any time,” he told journalists at Silverstone yesterday. “He now seems to have the demeanour of someone who is totally content.

“He is so focused on the job, I think he will be almost impossible to beat.”

Hill was at Silverstone yesterday at the first in a series of events celebrating the 50th British Grand Prix to be held at the circuit in Northamptonshire, where was reunited with his title-winning Williams FW18 car. He went on to speak about the history and heritage of the race, which has been held every year since the beginning of the world championship in 1950.

“It’s great to be back here and reunited with the car that I won the World Championship in in 1996,” Hill said. “I’d like to think that winning the British Grand Prix is great for any driver, but particularly if you’re a British driver, there’s nothing like it.

“It is one of the biggest events of all the grands prix we go to. There’s such a massive crowd, and to get all that satisfaction and give people satisfaction with a victory at your home grand prix, you just can’t beat it.”

When Hamilton won the world championship in 2008, he became the first British driver since Hill to do so. Now, if Hill’s judgement that he is unbeatable turns out to be true, the Mercedes driver could be set to join the likes of Fernando Alonso, Jim Clark and Graham Hill – Damon’s father – on two world titles.

This year also marks 50 years since the first British Grand Prix was held at Brands Hatch. The Kent circuit shared the hosting rights with Silverstone between 1964 and 1986, but has not hosted a grand prix since.

Meyer Shank Racing wins Petit Le Mans to take final DPi championship in dramatic finale

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Meyer Shank Racing outdueled Wayne Taylor Racing to win the Petit Le Mans and clinch the championship in a thrilling final race for the DPi division.

Tom Blomqvist, who started from the pole position, drove the No. 60 Acura ARX-05 to a 4.369-second victory over Pipo Derani in the No. 31 Action Express Cadillac.

“That was incredible,” Blomqvist told NBC Sports’ Matt Yocum. “I’ve never dug so deep in my life. The adrenaline. I did that for the guys. I was so motivated to win this thing this weekend. But I’ve got to thank everyone on the whole team.”

With co-drivers Oliver Jarvis and Helio Castroneves, Blomqvist helped MSR bookend its season-opening victory in the Rolex 24 at Daytona by winning Saturday’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season finale at Michelin Road Atlanta.

In between those two victories, the No. 60 earned five runner-up finishes to stay in the thick of the championship hunt and trail WTR’s No. 10 Acura by 14 points entering Saturday’s race.

WTR’s Filipe Albuquerque had a lead of more than 10 seconds over Blomqvist with less than 50 minutes remaining in the 10-hour race.

But a Turn 1 crash between the Chip Ganassi Racing Cadillacs brought out a yellow that sent both Acuras into the pits from the top two positions.

Though he entered in second, Blomqvist barely beat Albuquerque out of the pits, and he held the lead for the final 45 minutes.

Blomqvist said he gained the lead because of a shorter fuel fill after he had worked on being efficient in the second-to-last stint.

“The team asked a big job of me with the fuel; I had a big fuel number to hit,” Blomqvist said. “We knew that was probably our only chance. The yellow came at the right time and obviously we had a bit less fuel to fill up, so I was able to jump him and then it was just a matter of going gung-ho and not leaving anything on the line. And obviously, the opposition had to try too hard to make it work. I’m so thankful.”

Albuquerque closed within a few car lengths of Blomqvist with 14 minutes remaining, but he damaged his suspension because of contact with a GT car in Turn 1.

It’s the first prototype championship for Meyer Shank Racing, which also won the 2021 Indy 500 with Castroneves.

“We’ve had in the last four years, three championships for Acura, the Indy 500 win and the Rolex 24, it doesn’t get any better,” team co-owner Mike Shank told NBC Sports’ Kevin Lee.

It’s the third consecutive runner-up finish in the points standings for Wayne Taylor Racing, which won the first Daytona Prototype international championship in 2017. The premier category will be rebranded as the Grand Touring Prototype (GTP) class with the LMDh cars that will establish a bridge to racing in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Kamui Kobayashi finished third in the No. 48 Cadillac of Action Express that also includes Jimmie Johnson and Mike Rockenfeller.

The podium showing marked Johnson’s last scheduled race in IMSA’s top prototype division. The seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion has raced in the No. 48 Ally Cadillac lineup as the Action Express entry has run the Endurance Cup races.

Johnson said a lack of inventory will preclude him having a 2023 ride in the top category. But he still is hopeful of racing the Garage 56 Next Gen Camaro in next year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans and possibly running in a lower class for the Rolex 24 at Daytona.

“I’d love to be at Le Mans next year,” Johnson told NBC Sports’ Dillon Welch after his final stint Saturday. “I’d love to be at the Rolex 24. The series is going through a shake-up with the reconfiguration of the rules and classes, so I don’t have anything locked down yet, but I’m so thankful for this experience with Action. The support Ally has given us, Mr. Hendrick, Chad Knaus, all of Hendrick Motorsports. It’s been a fun two years, and I certainly hope I’m on the grid again next year.”