Romain Grosjean excited for the magic of Suzuka

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Romain Grosjean is relishing Formula 1’s return to the legendary Suzuka Circuit for next weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix.

2014 has not gone as the Frenchman would have liked it to, yielding just eight points thanks to the troublesome Lotus E22 car. However, he is hopeful of a better showing at Suzuka which allows the drivers to flourish and make up for car deficiencies.

“Suzuka is a track that highlights the good aspects of a chassis,” Grosjean explained. “I hope that we can be in a position where we have a realistic chance of some points positions.

“At Suzuka the driver can make a difference to some extent, especially through sector one, so I will be hugely pumped up to make sure we are in the best position possible to add to our points tally.”

Grosjean has not finished inside the top ten since the Monaco Grand Prix at the end of May, but he did come close to adding to his total last time out in Singapore before eventually crossing the line in 13th place.

Suzuka has been the site of many great races throughout the history of Formula 1, and Grosjean made no secret of his excitement for racing in Japan once again.

“It is the kind of track that you find time and improvements, however small, all of the time,” he said. “It is a very special race track in this respect. Sector one is unbelievable and after you have finished it you can breathe a little bit, but not for long.

“There is no margin for error with very little run-off area and the track is quite narrow, especially at the top of the hill. I love it. Every metre of the Suzuka track is special and every metre a challenge. The Spoon Curve is especially fantastic, a real thrill to drive in an F1 car.”

Grosjean finished third in last year’s race at Suzuka after running Red Bull drivers Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber very close for victory. Although such lofty heights are not possible in 2014, points would still be a welcome result for the plucky Frenchman.

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).