Lewis Hamilton could win 14 races and still lose the title

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The idea to award double points for the final round of the 2014 Formula 1 season in Abu Dhabi has received an incredible backlash from the media, teams and fans, but there is one group it will affect more than others: the drivers.

And for Lewis Hamilton, double points is a very concerning preposition given that he is embroiled in a title fight with Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg. If he were to lose the title by virtue of double points, it would certainly be controversial.

In fact, even if Hamilton won the next eleven races with Rosberg in second place, if the German won the final round in Abu Dhabi with the Briton retiring, Lewis would only win the title by five points – despite winning fifteen races compared to Rosberg’s three. Therefore, if he won just fourteen races to Rosberg’s four, he would lose the championship by nine points.

For Lewis, losing the title in such fashion would be incredibly frustrating.

“I think we’ll see at the end of the year,” Hamilton said. “Can’t say it was the best idea, I don’t think it was the best idea, but it is what it is, I don’t think.

“We can’t all come up with good ideas. I’m not gonna slate it or anything, just… if that was the case, it would suck but, you know, I don’t really have an answer for you really.

“All I’m thinking is that I don’t want the car to stop that race as it has a couple of times. As long as it doesn’t stop that race, I think it will be cool.”

Hamilton was asked by NBCSN’s Will Buxton whether the drivers and teams could come together to try and force the sport to change its mind about the ruling.

“Potentially. Obviously we’ve got the GPDA, and of course the teams could be united,” he explained. “I’ve not seen any sign of people wanting to do that, but I’m sure that if everyone pulled together and made a fuss we could make our opinion known.

“Then again, there’s a lot of egos around, and some of those don’t want to be shaken, so we’ll accept it. You always have to take a step back and think that they’re doing things for the right reasons.

“Sometimes, things are done for the reasons that you don’t fully see. Maybe we’ll get there and think it was the best idea ever, so we’ll see. Probably not, but we’ll see.”

THE MATH BEHIND THE MADNESS

Currently, Nico Rosberg has 140 points to Lewis Hamilton’s 118. There are twelve races left this year; eleven ‘regular’ scoring rounds and Abu Dhabi, which is worth twice as much.

Therefore, it Rosberg were to finish second in the eleven normal races to Hamilton and win in Abu Dhabi with Lewis retiring, he would finish on 388 points. Hamilton, having won the eleven regular races, would finish on 393 and still be world champion.

However, should Rosberg win one of the eleven normal races, this would reduce Hamilton’s season win tally to fourteen. There would be a fourteen point swing, and Rosberg would finish on 395 points to Hamilton’s 386.

The driver with four wins could win the title over someone with fourteen; over three times as many. It wasn’t that long ago that the sport’s powers were talking about a ‘medal’ system whereby the driver with the most wins is champion.

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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