Rosberg pleased, but knows the job is only half done

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Nico Rosberg is slowly approaching a near-perfect week after securing pole position for the German Grand Prix at Hockenheim today.

Since the British Grand Prix, Nico has got married, seen Germany win the FIFA World Cup and signed a new long-term contract with Mercedes, and winning his home race for the first time would undoubtedly cap off an incredible month so far.

He took a big step towards doing so today by securing pole position for the race, but he did not have to beat teammate Lewis Hamilton after the Briton crashed hard during Q1 on Saturday. His championship rival will start down in 15th position, but Rosberg knows that the job is only half done.

“To get pole is fantastic,” Rosberg said after the session. “Of course, I would have preferred if it was an open fight with Lewis, a little bit less happier with the result because Lewis didn’t have a shot at it again.

“All in all, yeah, fantastic week up to now, but no points for today. The points is just tomorrow, so still a long way to go, but it’s a good start.”

Hamilton suffered a front-right brake failure, causing him to spear into the wall at turn eleven. As the two Mercedes drivers run with different brake systems, Rosberg was not affected by the issue.

“No, I don’t really know the details about the car,” said Nico when asked about Lewis. “There wasn’t anything that applied to my car. From that point of view, I was comfortable to keep on pushing.

“For tomorrow, it’s supposed to be a bit colder, which should make it easier on the tires because these tires are very very soft, so degradation is high.”

Rosberg now has a golden opportunity to extend his lead at the top of the championship, and perhaps make up for his retirement last time out at the British Grand Prix.

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. Time just published a brief piece by Wallace saluting Hamilton as a trailblazer.

The idea of Hamilton attending the NASCAR 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 would seem right for 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 — to spend 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).