Hamilton: Rosberg isn’t as hungry to win as I am

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Lewis Hamilton has accused Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg of not being as hungry as he is in the fight for this year’s world championship.

The British driver is embroiled in a battle with Rosberg for the drivers’ title this season after Mercedes made huge gains over the winter and currently enjoy an advantage that even defending champion Sebastian Vettel is envious of.

Despite their supposed friendship, Hamilton has been playing a few mind games of late. He was adamant in Spain that Rosberg was quicker and should have won the race, even though Lewis had won the race from pole position and only been challenged in the final few laps.

In an interview with the official Formula 1 website, Hamilton questioned Rosberg’s hunger given his privileged upbringing as the son of 1982 F1 world champion, Keke Rosberg.

“Let me tell you this: I come from a not-great place in Stevenage and lived on a couch in my dad’s apartment. Nico grew up in Monaco with jets and hotels and boats and all these kind of things – so the hunger is different,” he explained.

“I want to be the hungriest guy in the cockpit from all 22 of us. Even if every driver has to believe that he’s the hungriest – because if I were to come here believing that Nico is hungrier than me then I might as well go home.

“So I’ve got to be the hungriest. To win the world championship you need to be the hungriest.”

Hamilton took the lead of the world championship at the last race in Spain, and is three points ahead of Rosberg after five rounds. Having won the last four grands prix, though, the Briton certainly has the momentum, and it he could make it five-in-a-row on Sunday.

Quite whether bringing their upbringings into the interview was fair is debatable, but Lewis should perhaps prefer to focus on the fact that he has been in three serious title battles before in F1. Nico, on the other hand, is very new to this. Ultimately, he needs to do his talking on the track. Where better to do so than at Monaco this weekend?

You can watch the Monaco Grand Prix live on NBC this Sunday, which is part of our bumper weekend of motorsport.

Coyne transitioning from underdog to Indy 500 threat

Photo: IndyCar
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For most of the team’s existence, Dale Coyne Racing has been the Chicago Cubs of American Open Wheel Racing – a team whose history was more defined by failures, at times comically so, than success.

The last decade, however, has seen the tide completely change. In 2007, they scored three podium finishes with Bruno Junqueira. In 2009, they won at Watkins Glen with the late Justin Wilson.

The combination won again at Texas Motor Speedway in 2012, and finished sixth in the 2013 Verizon IndyCar Series championship. That same year, Mike Conway took a shock win for them in Race 1 at the Chevrolet Dual in Detroit.

Carlos Huertas scored an upset win for them in Race 1 at the Houston double-header in 2014, and while 2015 and 2016 yielded no wins, Tristan Vautier and Conor Daly gave them several strong runs – Vautier’s best finish was fourth in Race 2 at Detroit, while Daly finished second in Race 1 at Detroit, finished fourth at Watkins Glen, and scored a trio of sixth-place finishes at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course, Race 2 at Detroit, and the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

And 2017 was set to possibly be the best year the team has ever had. Sebastien Bourdais gave the team a popular win in the season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, and then rookie Ed Jones scored back-to-back top tens – 10th and sixth – at St. Pete and the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach to start his career.

But, things started unraveling at the Indianapolis 500. Bourdais appeared set to be in the Fast Nine Pole Shootout during his first qualifying run – both of his first two laps were above 231 mph –  before his horrifying crash in Turn 2.

While Jones qualified an impressive 11th and finished an even more impressive third, results for the rest of the season became hard to come by – Jones only scored two more Top 10s, with a best result of seventh at Road America.

But, retooled for 2018, the Coyne team is a legitimate threat at the 102nd Running of the Indianapolis 500.

Bourdais, whose No. 18 Honda features new sponsorship from SealMaster and now ownership partners in Jimmy Vasser and James “Sulli” Sullivan, has a win already, again at St. Pete, and sits third in the championship.

And Bourdais may also be Honda’s best hope, given that he was the fastest Honda in qualifying – he’ll start fifth behind Ed Carpenter, Simon Pagenaud, Will Power, and Josef Newgarden.

“I think it speaks volumes about their work, their passion and their dedication to this program, Dale (Coyne), Jimmy (Vasser) and Sulli (James Sullivan) and everybody from top to bottom. I can’t thank them enough for the opportunity, for the support,” Bourdais said of the team’s effort.

Rookie Zachary Claman De Melo has been progressing nicely, and his Month of May has been very solid – he finished 12th at the INDYCAR Grand Prix on the IMS Road Course and qualified a strong 13th for the “500.”

“It’s been surreal to be here as rookie. I’m a bit at a loss for words,” Claman De Melo revealed after qualifying. “The fans, driving around this place, being with the team, everything is amazing. I have a great engineer, a great group of experienced mechanics at Dale Coyne Racing.”

While Conor Daly and Pippa Mann struggled in one-off entries, with Mann getting bumped out of the field in Saturday qualifying, Daly’s entry essentially puts three Coyne cars in the race – Daly’s No. 17 United States Air Force Honda is a Dale Coyne car that has been leased to Thom Burns Racing.

Rest assured, the days of Coyne being an “also ran” are long gone, and a Coyne car ending up in Victory Lane at the biggest race of the year would complete the Chicago Cubs analogy – the Cubs won a World Series title in 2016, and an Indy 500 triumph would be the crowning achievement in Coyne’s career.

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