What would winning the F1 championship mean to Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg? (VIDEO)


As the 2014 Formula 1 season enters its final two races in Brazil this weekend, the end of the bitter championship battle between Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg is in sight.

As things stand, Hamilton leads his Mercedes teammate by 24 points after claiming five consecutive victories, and is in the best form of his life. With Rosberg winless since the German Grand Prix in July, the advantage firmly lies with 2008 champion Hamilton.

So what would winning the world championship mean to both drivers? It’s a simple question that NBCSN’s Will Buxton put to Hamilton and Rosberg in Brazil today ahead of this weekend’s race, but one that yielded two very different answers.

“First of all I need to try and win the two races, that’s pretty clear,” Rosberg said when asked about his title chances. “My qualifying form lately gives me a great opportunity to do that, that’s important.

“And then the rain can help also make things a little more complicated and some help from my dear teammate, and let’s see what he can come up with. I’m optimist, going for it, that’s what I need to do.

“He can also help me himself. It doesn’t have to be from the gods. A lot of things can happen in sport.”

Rosberg was then asked directly what winning the championship would mean to him.

“It would be quite cool, wouldn’t it?” he said. “It’s a childhood dream, so it would be awesome.”

As for Hamilton? He had a very different answer when asked the same question later in the day.

“That’s a difficult question to answer really,” Hamilton said. “As I’ve always said, I feel like I’m going for my first championship. It’s been a long time since winning the first one. I think the first one I didn’t really enjoy it the way I perhaps should have. I think it was just such a rush.

“I think going for this one, it continues with the support I’ve had from all my family and from my friends. I feel like I’m doing it for a lot of them.

“Winning the world championship is the single most special thing. It’s the biggest achievement a racing driver can ever have, winning the world championship. I don’t really know how to put it into words.

“I can’t really describe the feeling that I would have in my heart, this what I live and breathe. This is what I wake up for. This is what I train for. This is what I live for.”

Hamilton was then told that Rosberg thought it would be ‘quite cool’.

“I wouldn’t use the word cool,” he said. “I think it’s a very surreal experience, winning the world championship, being at the top of the pinnacle of motorsport. There’s everyone in the world that’s a racing fan lives and dreams of being a racing driver, so I’m very much aware of the fact that I hold one of the 22 seats.

“This is a very, very privileged position that I’m in so I make sure I don’t take it for granted, the work that I have to put in to make sure I get that win. I’ve been waiting a long, long time. I’ve been racing 21 years now, but a lot of effort has gone in the background.”

Ford Mustang GT3 test has Austin Cindric dreaming of Daytona: ‘I want to drive that car’

Cindric Ford GT3 test
Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

Austin Cindric wasn’t the “mystery” test driver behind the wheel of the new Ford Mustang GT3 at Sebring International Raceway, but the Team Penske driver desperately wanted to be.

Ford CEO Jim Farley, an amateur sports car driver himself, made the big reveal via a Tuesday tweet that provided the first video evidence of the GT3 Mustang on track.

“I’ve watched the video in question about a million times,” Cindric said Wednesday during a Ford Performance Zoom news conference to promote NASCAR’s first road course weekend of the season at Circuit of the Americas. “Definitely exciting times for sure. I want to drive that car. It suits my experience level and also the relationships that I have.”

Ford will enter the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship next season with its GT3 Mustang, entering a two-car factory effort (that will be managed by Multimatic) in GTD Pro and making customer cars available in the GT Daytona category.

That increases the likelihood of seeing more NASCAR drivers crossing over to IMSA. Cindric has been the only full-time Cup driver in the Rolex 24 at Daytona the past two years, but Ford Performance global director Mark Rushbrook has said the GT3 Mustang will provide more opportunities.

Ford has used its GT4 Mustang as a NASCAR driver development tool in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge with Harrison Burton and Zane Smith combining to win the season opener at Daytona International Speedway in January.

“We’re excited about the Next Gen car and the new architecture there and the similarities between that car and GT3 and even GT4 cars,” Rushbrook said at the announcement of the Ford GT3 program in January 2022 at Daytona. “We think it’s a great opportunity and to do be able to do that in a 24-hour race and get NASCAR drivers even more time is something we need to consider taking advantage of that opportunity.”

Given his sports car background, Cindric probably still would be in the Rolex 24 regardless. He has eight IMSA starts since the 2017 season opener at Daytona, racing a Lexus RCF GT3 and Mercedes-AMG GT3 in the GT category. The 2022 Daytona 500 winner made his second LMP2 start this year with Rick Ware Racing.

But Cindric’s preference naturally would be in a Ford, particularly with sports car racing enjoying convergence and crossovers in both GT and prototype racing.

“It’s an exciting time in GT racing, just as it is now for prototype racing with a lot of new regulations and manufacturers building new GT3 cars,” he said. “And also the opportunity with WEC (the World Endurance Championship) and Le Mans and how that all lines up for that category of car. It’s definitely an exciting time. I want to be as much of a part of that as possible.”

Though those odds seemingly will increase with multiple Ford entries in the Rolex 24 field next year, Cindric said NASCAR drivers still have to put in the networking to land rides as he has in recent years.

“Now how (the GT3 Mustang) relates to specifically NASCAR drivers and how often they want to be in the Rolex, could it be an influence? Absolutely, as far as the tie-in with the manufacturer,” Cindric said. “But the challenge and the drive and the logistics of getting an opportunity for a race like the Rolex 24 will be just as challenging as it always is to find your one-off ride for the race. At least from my experience, that’s what I still anticipate.”

It turned out the “mystery” test driver wasn’t from NASCAR (Farley revealed the driver to be 24 Hours of Le Mans winner Joey Hand after a fan asked whether it was Joey Logano).

But Cindric believes there could be more Cup drivers — and perhaps himself — behind the wheel of Mustang GT3s in the future.

“There’s definitely more of a pathway than I think there would be before as far as Ford drivers are concerned,” he said. “Hopefully, I’ll get the opportunity to drive that thing. It’s obviously a great looking car. That’s the first box you’ve got to check. And it’s cool (to have) a guy like Jim Farley, no doubt he’s a racer just as much as he is steering the ship for Ford. It’s cool to see he’s just as excited as the rest of us about it.”