Mercedes wins F1 constructors’ championship in Russia

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Mercedes has clinched its first ever Formula 1 constructors’ championship after Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg finished first and second in today’s Russian Grand Prix in Sochi.

The German marque has dominated the sport in 2014, winning thirteen of the sixteen races so far thanks to its superior power unit and car design following the change in the regulations for this season.

No team has come close to challenging the Silver Arrows in regular conditions, with Daniel Ricciardo claiming the remaining three wins for Red Bull at races where Mercedes has hit trouble.

Today in Sochi, the champagne corks could finally be popped as the one-two finish for Hamilton and Rosberg saw the team pull a further 33 points clear of nearest challengers Red Bull in the constructors’ championship. With just three races and 172 points remaining, this means that Mercedes cannot be caught.

Hamilton was quick to congratulate his team over the radio, calling it “history in the making”.

It marks Mercedes’ first ever constructors’ championship in Formula 1. When the German marque last dominated the sport back in the 1950s with Juan Manuel Fangio and Stirling Moss behind the wheel, the trophy was not awarded to the best team. It first came into existence in 1958, by which points Mercedes had withdrawn its works team. It would not return until 2010.

This victory marks the first year since 2009 that Red Bull has not won the constructors’ championship, marking the end of an era for the British team.

Mercedes needed just 25 points to make the championship safe, but Hamilton and Rosberg clinched it in style by finishing first and second, bringing home the maximum score of 43 points for the ninth time this season.

This victory will allow the drivers to turn their attention to the drivers’ championship, which took another swing in Hamilton’s favor after Rosberg was forced into making an early pit stop on Sunday. He fought hard to finish second behind Hamilton, but now trails by 17 points after four successive defeats.

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.