Can Hamilton take this momentum all the way to Abu Dhabi?

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Lewis Hamilton’s victory under the lights in Singapore yesterday, coupled with the demise of teammate and championship rival Nico Rosberg, has brought the race for the title back to square one. Three points the difference, five races to go, winner takes all.

The British driver was did not have it all his own way on Sunday, though. He was forced to pull out a huge gap over the rest of the field before making his third and final pit stop after the safety car came out at the worst possible moment. However, he did it with relative ease in the end, winning the race by 13.5 seconds.

Drives like these are what champions are made of, and Lewis has been pulling them out of the bag all season long. When he started way back in Germany and Hungary, he put it on the podium on both occasions. In Italy, when he dropped to fourth off the line, he fought back to beat Rosberg. And this time around, he had to wring every last tenth out of the Mercedes to gap the field. It was a titanic effort.

For Rosberg, his setback could not have come at a worse time. By the time of the Japanese Grand Prix, it will be ten weeks since the German driver last won a race – a drought that will unquestionably be playing on his mind.

This championship has hinged on reliability, but with both drivers having suffered two retirements, honors are even now, right?

Wrong. For Lewis, he has still be far unluckier than Nico, with his problems in qualifying at Hockenheim and the Hungaroring coming into play. Speaking to British TV after the race, Hamilton said that the score was still 5-2 to him in terms of hard luck. He wanted to make that perfectly clear.

And this is something that Nico also recognizes. In the cool-down room following the race at Monza, he spoke in Italian to his engineer about how Hamilton was “so damn lucky”. When he was told that he too would have his luck, Nico said: “No, I already had my dose of luck”. He thinks that he has missed his opportunities. Now that Lewis is back in the lead, Rosberg may have just cracked in the pressure of a championship battle.

The title fight is reset now, though. It’s a five-race championship – may the best man win. It will most probably go down to Abu Dhabi, given that a 50-point lead is a big ask for either driver, but the four races in the lead-up to that could be huge. Ultimately, both drivers know that a 15-point lead heading into Abu Dhabi – thus allowing them to finish second in the final race – would be good enough. Three wins in the next five races for either driver would be enough to make that happen.

Speaking to Sky before the race, Hamilton made a very interesting point. He said that if he were to retire from the race in Singapore, his championship would be over. However, if Nico fell foul of a problem, it wouldn’t matter so much.

Mathematically, Lewis is right. In the psychological battle for the championship though, it has swung everything right back in Lewis’ favor. If Nico doesn’t recover in Suzuka, it could become Hamilton’s title to lose.

Either way, you’re watching one of the greatest title fights in the history of this great sport. Savor it.

IndyCar Power Rankings: Pato O’Ward moves to the top entering Texas Motor Speedway


The NBC Sports IndyCar power rankings naturally were as jumbled as the action on the streets of St. Petersburg after a chaotic opener to the 2023 season.

Pato O’Ward, who finished second because of an engine blip that cost him the lead with a few laps remaining, moves into the top spot ahead of St. Pete winner Marcus Ericsson and Alexander Rossi, who finished fourth in his Arrow McLaren debut. Scott Dixon and St. Pete pole-sitter Romain Grosjean (who led 31 laps) rounded out the top five.

St. Pete pole-sitter Romain Grosjean (who started first at St. Pete after capturing his second career pole position) Callum Ilott (a career-best fifth) and Graham Rahal entered the power rankings entering the season’s second race.

Three drivers fell out of the preseason top 10 after the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg – including previously top-ranked Josef Newgarden, who finished 17th after qualifying 14th.

Heading into Sunday’s race at Texas Motor Speedway, here’s NBC Sports’ assessment of the current top 10 drivers through the first of 17 races this year (with previous preseason rankings in parenthesis):

NBC Sports’ IndyCar Power Rankings

1. Pato O’Ward (5) – If not for the dreaded “plenum event” in the No. 5 Chevrolet, the Arrow McLaren driver is opening the season with a victory capping a strong race weekend.

2. Marcus Ericsson (7) – He might be the most opportunistic driver in IndyCar, but that’s because the 2022 Indy 500 winner has become one of the series’ fastest and most consistent stars.

3. Alexander Rossi (10) – He overcame a frustrating Friday and mediocre qualifying to open his Arrow McLaren career with the sort of hard-earned top five missing in his last years at Andretti.

4. Scott Dixon (3) – Put aside his opening-lap skirmish with former teammate Felix Rosenqvist, and it was a typically stealthily good result for the six-time champion.

5. Romain Grosjean (NR) – The St. Petersburg pole-sitter consistently was fastest on the streets of St. Petersburg over the course of the race weekend, which he couldn’t say once last year.

6. Scott McLaughlin (6) – Easily the best of the Team Penske drivers before his crash with Grosjean, McLaughlin drove like a legitimate 2023 championship contender.

7. Callum Ilott (NR) – A quietly impressive top five for the confident Brit in Juncos Hollinger Racing’s first race as a two-car team. Texas will be a big oval litmus test.

8. Graham Rahal (NR) – Sixth at St. Pete, Rahal still has the goods on street courses, and Rahal Letterman Lanigan remains headed in the right direction.

9. Alex Palou (4) – He seemed a step behind Ericsson and Dixon in the race after just missing the Fast Six in qualifying, but this was a solid start for Palou.

10. Will Power (2) – An uncharacteristic mistake that crashed Colton Herta put a blemish on the type of steady weekend that helped him win the 2022 title.

Falling out (last week): Josef Newgarden (1), Colton Herta (8), Christian Lundgaard (9)