Grosjean: Lotus is heading in the right direction

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Romain Grosjean is pleased with the developments that Lotus has made with his car ahead of this weekend’s Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal.

The Frenchman has endured a difficult start to the season thanks to the E22 car, and his pace has been particularly limited by the reduced power of his Renault engine compared to the Mercedes and Ferrari power units. However, he is still pleased with the work that is being done to improve the car.

“If we look at the ending [position] of the car and the work we did since Monaco, we’re pretty happy with it,” Grosjean explained after practice in Canada. “The guys did react pretty well from what we’ve seen in Monte Carlo, and I actually enjoyed driving today around the track, even though it’s a tricky one and there were quite a few slides. I liked it.

“Generally I think it’s getting better and better. We did some good work with the suspension and I can feel when I jump the kerb, that’s getting better. The car is more alive, which I do appreciate, and at the end of the lap I was pretty pleased with the lap time. Nothing outstanding in terms of lap time but probably a little bit closer to Vergne.”

For qualifying later today, Grosjean has set his sights on squeezing into Q3, which would give him a chance to secure his third straight top ten finish in the race.

“Maybe we can hope about Q3, dream about it, that’s what I’m gonna try,” he said. “I’m positive about today because to me the car made a step forward.

“I know it’s not a race where we’re gonna be easily in the points. It’s not a type of track that we are good at, but then we go to Spielberg which I don’t know and Silverstone which should be much better.”

Qualifying takes place later today at 1pm ET. You can watch live on NBCSN, with coverage continuing until 2:30pm ET.

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).