As Hamilton’s march continues, Rosberg is in disarray

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It’s quite rare for a driver to win four races in a row. It’s even rarer for a driver to do it twice in the same season. In fact, it’s so rare that Lewis Hamilton became the first driver in F1 history to manage it yesterday in Russia.

Having claimed nine race wins this year, Hamilton is not only squeezing the life out of Nico Rosberg’s championship hopes, but he is also arguably making his teammate a rather forgettable title protagonist.

If Lewis can round out the last three races to win seven on the bounce, his victory margin of at least 45 points will look convincing, even if we have had to go to the final round of the season.

As uninspiring as the race in Sochi was, Hamilton took an important win on his march to the drivers’ championship. It was an easy event for most of the drivers, with Kevin Magnussen comparing it to a “chilled out Sunday drive”. Hamilton went wire-to-wire and seemed very relaxed throughout. There was no mad rush as we saw in Singapore – he took the race by the throat, and with it, the championship.

Rosberg’s race was much the opposite, though. As he tried to find a way through at turn two, Nico locked up his front tires, sending a wave of smoke over the oncoming pack. He did move into the lead after cutting the corner, but fairly gave the position back before ducking into the pits for a fresh set of tires. Making them last 52 laps was a remarkable achievement, and no man worked harder than the German on Sunday, but he still came up short.

It marks Rosberg’s sixth straight defeat, four of which have come at the hands of Hamilton. He has now won less than half of the races that his teammate has (9-4 to Hamilton), and, arguably, hasn’t had the measure of his teammate very often this season, if at all. The only time Rosberg has won when they have both started on the front row came in Monaco.

Consider this: without double points in Abu Dhabi, Hamilton would need to outscore Rosberg by just eight points in the next two races to be champion.

Rosberg has certainly enjoyed the best season of his Formula 1 career in 2014, there is no denying that. He has more pole positions than Hamilton, and his wins in Germany and Austria were particularly impressive.

Until recently, I still firmly believed that Nico would win the world championship, my thinking being that although Lewis is the quicker driver, Nico would make fewer mistakes. Yet his recent form has been marked by a number of errors, with the most recent one coming on Sunday in Russia. As a result, Hamilton has the title in the palm of his hand.

The big turning point came at Spa when Rosberg and Hamilton made contact on the second lap of the race, forcing the Briton out of the race with a puncture. By finishing second, Rosberg extended his championship lead to 29 points, yet the events following the race dealt a serious blow to his title hopes.

When Hamilton revealed to the media after the race in Belgium that Nico had “basically said he did it on purpose”, the psychological battle was won. Ever since, Rosberg hasn’t looked the same. His mistakes could be taken as proof of this.

Maybe it’s the experience of a title battle. Hamilton has one victory to his name from 2008, and was also in the running for titles in 2007 and 2010. For Rosberg, 2014 is the first chance to win a championship. He lacks the experience Hamilton has in this regard.

The mathematical advantage may be the one that counts at the end of the season, but it can be a byproduct of the psychological one. Lewis has both now, thus making him the overwhelming favorite for the championship.

Three races to go and 100 points to play for. It’s been a great season, but the championship may not be as close as we thought it would be come the checkered flag in Abu Dhabi.

Three-time W Series champ Jamie Chadwick joining Andretti in Indy NXT Series for 2023

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Jamie Chadwick, the three-time W Series champion, will drive for Andretti Autosport in the Indy NXT Series next season.

Chadwick will make her debut in an American racing series in March, driving the No. 28 for Andretti Autosport with sponsorship from DHL. The 24-year-old will become the first female driver in 13 years to compete full time in the Indy NXT championship.

Chadwick joined the female free-to-enter W Series in its inaugural 2019 season, winning two races and the first of three consecutive championships. She has been a reserve driver for the Williams Formula One team and will continue in that role in 2023. She also has driven in the Extreme E Series.

Despite her success, Chadwick hasn’t landed a bigger ride in F3 or F2, and her break didn’t come until Michael Andretti contacted her and offered a test in an Indy NXT car.

The final three races of this year’s W Series schedule were canceled when funding fell through, but Chadwick still believes the all-female series was the right path for her.

“W Series has always been and will continue to be an opportunity to be racing for every female driver, so for my side, I looked at it while perhaps I would have liked to step up maybe earlier, at the same time being able to have that chance to race, get that experience, have that development, seat time… I was constantly learning,” Chadwick told The Associated Press.

“In that sense, I wasn’t frustrated at all. But on the flip side of it, now I’ve had that experience testing in the United States in Indy NXT and this is something I’m really excited about.”

Chadwick also is expected to have an enhanced role as a development driver next season with Williams, which chose American driver Logan Sargeant to fill its open seat on next year’s F1 grid.

“Andretti Autosport is proud to be supporting Jamie alongside DHL,” said Michael Andretti. “Jamie’s successful career speaks for itself, but Indy NXT gives Jamie the opportunity to continue her development in a new type of racing.

“We’ve turned out five Indy NXT champions over the years and look forward to continuing our role in developing new talent.”

Indy NXT is the new name of the rebranded Indy Lights Series, the final step on the ladder system before IndyCar.

Andretti will field two drivers next season in IndyCar that were developed in Indy NXT: Kyle Kirkwood, the 2021 champion, will return to Andretti after one season in IndyCar driving for A.J. Foyt Racing, and Devlin DeFrancesco is back for a second season.

Chadwick will be teammates in Indy NXT with Hunter McElrea and Louis Foster. She becomes Andretti’s second full-time female driver alongside Catie Munnings, who competes for Andretti United in the Extreme E Series.