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

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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.”

Helio Castroneves ‘hustling’ for IndyCar, IMSA rides; talking with four to five teams

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As his season gathers steam, Helio Castroneves said his prospects for finding new rides for 2021 in IMSA and IndyCar also are gaining momentum.

The three-time Indianapolis 500 winner said Monday he is optimistic about landing in either or perhaps a combination of both series when Team Penske and Acura end their DPi partnership after this season.

“A lot of people I spoke with, four to five teams, are interested,” Castroneves said. “Whether it’s doing Indy 500 only, whether it’s pushing to do full time or do the sports cars as well. It’s been a very nice conversation.

LOOKING AHEADTeam Penske drivers seeking new rides for 2021

“I have a lot of respect for all the teams that have been talking, and I feel the same feedback. We just have to wait for their (sponsor) connections, and I’m also looking for some connections on my side as well, so hopefully we’ll be able to put this together and get something very soon.”

Given two decades of success with Penske in IndyCar and IMSA, Castroneves’ resume hardly needs burnishing. But the Brazilian has combined with co-driver Ricky Taylor in the No. 7 Acura DPi to win the past two overall victories at Road America and Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.

But Castroneves, who doesn’t have a manager, said he has been working the phones hard rather than wait for the strong results to bring in the calls.

“At this point, I feel like I’m the one who needs to be talking to them because people need to know I want to continue racing and understand my desire,” Castroneves, 45, said. “There is opportunity, no question, in both (IndyCar and IMSA), which I’m really happy about it. However, because of the COVID-19, a lot of things sometimes have to be a little delayed. But I’m excited. Whatever the opportunity and whatever destiny guides me, whether IndyCar or sports cars, trust me I’ll be as happy as it could be and doing my 100 percent like I always did.

“It’s like politics, you need to be out there, good news or bad news. People have to make notice of your presence. I’m hustling. I want to continue to keep it going. Hopefully, we’ll have good news very soon.”

The news has been all good lately on track for Castroneves and Taylor, who hope to continue their run Sunday at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

The No. 6 duo has surged to sixth in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship standings, 10 points out of the lead with four races remaining. After thinking there was “no hope” to be competitive after opening the season with three consecutive poor finishes, Taylor now sees an opportunity for a happy ending.

“With the program going away, Helio has won all the big races and given so much back to the team and left such a mark, he’s really part of Penske history,” Taylor said. “For me, it’s been an opportunity of a lifetime to be a part of it. I’d like to leave my little mark as well. Helio has won everything except for a championship.

“Obviously, we’ve won races already together, but we can win a championship now. I think if both of us can do that together and both win our first championship for ‘The Captain,’ that would be an absolute dream come true, and we can tie a bow on it and be happy.”