Re-taking the championship lead, the tide has turned for Lewis Hamilton

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Following victory in today’s Singapore Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton has completed a remarkable turnaround to take the lead of the 2014 F1 drivers’ championship for just the second time in 2014.

The British driver found himself trailing teammate and championship rival Nico Rosberg by 29 points following the Belgian Grand Prix at the end of last month, but after scoring two races wins – and with Rosberg retiring from today’s race – he has now taken a three-point lead at the top of the drivers’ championship.

“Of course I was dreaming it last night, but you never really think it’s going to happen,” Hamilton said when asked if he thought he would win today’s race. “I just want to say a huge thanks to me team. What they’ve done this year is absolutely incredible and to be able to arrive here knowing that we have a car we can fight with.

“The feeling I had through the race, I couldn’t do it without them, so thank you guys.”

Hamilton did have some concerns about tire degradation during the second stint of his race after a safety car period threatened his hopes of a second victory in Singapore, but he was pleased with the call made in the end.

“I think at the time, it was just not really knowing what the situation was,” he explained. “I knew I had a big gap, but I was thinking if a safety car comes out, what does that mean, but then when I came in, I knew I had to fight the guys that had been on a long, long run down tire, I knew that we would have a chance to get by.”

After being dogged with bad luck in 2014, Hamilton was pleased to have a perfect weekend in Singapore, even if it was not the team result Mercedes would have wanted.

“I was looking for that clean weekend, and this has been it and it’s been fantastic,” Lewis said. “Obviously it’s not been perfect for the team because Nico didn’t finish, and of course we’re always striving to get both cars finishing one-two. There’s things we can still work on.”

James Hinchcliffe on Andretti: ‘It’s certainly the place I want to be’

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Since before the start of the 2020 NTT IndyCar Series season, James Hinchcliffe tirelessly has worked to ensure the future would include a full-time return in 2021.

And with an opportunity to run the final three races this season with Andretti Autosport, there seems a surefire (albeit unlikely) path.

“If I go out and win all three,” Hinchcliffe joked with IndyCar on NBC announcer Leigh Diffey in an interview Friday (watch the video above), “it would be hard for them to say no, right?”

Regardless of whether he can go unbeaten at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course next weekend or the Oct. 25 season finale at St. Petersburg, Florida (where he earned his first career win in 2013), Hinchcliffe will have the chance to improve his stock with the team that he knows well and now has an opening among its five cars for 2021.

All three of Hinchcliffe’s starts this season — the June 6 season opener at Texas Motor Speedway, July 4 at the IMS road course and the Indianapolis 500 — were with Andretti, where he ran full time in IndyCar from 2012-14.

“Obviously, the plan from January 2020 was already working on ’21 and trying to be in a full-time program,” he said. “I’ve really enjoyed being reunited with Andretti Autosport, and everybody there has been so supportive. It’s been a very fun year for me on track. It’s been kind of a breath of fresh air in a lot of ways.

“It’s certainly the place I want to be moving forward. We’ve been working on that, working on those conversations. Genesys has been an incredible partner in my three races. We’ll be representing Gainbridge primarily, but Genesys will still have a position on our car in the last three.”

Gainbridge is the primary sponsor of the No. 26 Dallara-Honda that was vacated by Zach Veach, who left the team after it was determined he wouldn’t return in 2021. Hinchcliffe can empathize having lost his ride with Arrow McLaren SP after last season with a year left on his deal.

“You never want to earn a ride at the expense of somebody else in the sense that has happened here with Zach,” Hinchcliffe said. “I feel bad that he’s not able to see out the last three races of his season. I’ve got a lot of respect for him off track. He’s been a teammate this year, a colleague for years before that and honestly a friend for years before that. I’ve got a lot of time for him and his family. I understand a little bit of what it’s like in that position and what he’s going through.”

Hinchcliffe is ready to seize the moment, though, starting with the Oct. 2-3 doubleheader race weekend at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He had been hoping to add the Harvest Indy Grand Prix to his schedule and had been working out for the possibility.

“Then last week I had given up hope (and) was resigned that wasn’t happening,” he said. “I told my trainer, ‘I think we’re done for this year.’ Three days later, this call comes. I’m glad we didn’t make that decision too early. I feel great physically.

“I look at it as a great opportunity to continue to show I’ve still got what it takes and should be there hopefully full time next year on the grid.”

Watch Hinchliffe’s video with Leigh Diffey above or by clicking here.