Hamilton pleased with Friday running, but Rosberg remains cautious

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F1 might have enjoyed a three-week break for summer, but at the front of the grid, not much appears to have changed as Mercedes once again dominated in practice for the Belgian Grand Prix today.

The Silver Arrows secured one-twos in both sessions on Friday at Spa, with Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg each enjoying one session at the top of the timesheets. In Hamilton’s eyes, it was a very good day of running.

“It’s great to be back in the car and it was feeling good out there today,” the Briton said. “The morning wasn’t as strong, but it definitely improved in the afternoon. As always, we still have work to do tonight, but overall today was okay.

“It stayed dry throughout both sessions but the forecast is wet for tomorrow, so it was important to maximize track time as this may be our last dry running before the race. We’ve seen rain so often here in the past and that can really mix things up, particularly when it’s wet in places and dry in others.”

However, Rosberg was more wary, believing that the chasing pack may have closed on Mercedes for this weekend’s race.

“It looks like we have the quickest car again, but it’s a bit different here than at some other tracks,” Rosberg said. “It seems that some of the other teams are closer and we need to work a bit on our speed down the straights.

“As normal, it will be a long night analyzing everything that we learned today to really nail it tomorrow.

Mercedes will be hoping to secure its seventh one-two finish of the season this weekend, and it looks set to do so given that the high-speed nature of the circuit will suit the strengths of the W05 car.

However, the intra-team battle is set to rage on following the team orders debate at the last race in Hungary, as both Hamilton and Rosberg vie for the 2014 drivers’ championship.

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).