Hamilton’s spin costs him race win, puts pressure on for Abu Dhabi

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Lewis Hamilton has taken the blame for a spin that cost him a possible race victory at yesterday’s Brazilian Grand Prix, and is now facing increasing pressure to win a second Formula 1 world championship in Abu Dhabi at the end of the year.

With a sixth successive victory today, Hamilton could have ensured that a fifth-place finish would have been enough to win the title in two weeks time regardless of teammate and championship rival Nico Rosberg’s result at Yas Marina.

However, a spin on the lap before his second pit stop meant that Hamilton had a seven second gap to recover as the race passed half distance.

Although he did manage to reel Rosberg back in, the Briton ultimately fell 1.4 seconds short at the flag, and rued the mistake in the post-race press conference.

“I think ultimately it cost me the win,” Hamilton admitted after the race. “I mean, I was much quicker up until that point and on that lap I’d gone a second quicker whilst Nico pitted and I thought I was going to pit at the end of that lap so I used everything of the tires.

“The next lap, I had nothing left. Either way, at the end of the day, I made a mistake, I locked the rears into turn four and with the under-rotation, just spun me around. Second time it’s happened this weekend.

“So, no-one’s fault but mine. Still, a great result for the team. Nico drove really well, great, defensive, no mistakes and ultimately we got a one-two. I really was pushing right to the checkered flag, which is what motor racing’s all about. So I really enjoyed it.”

As a result of his second place finish, if Rosberg does win under the lights in Abu Dhabi, Hamilton must finish second to win the championship. Finishing third would see him lose out to his teammate by three points, assuming that Rosberg does take a sixth win of the year.

For all of the championship permutations, be sure to check out Tony DiZinno’s article here.

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.