Weekend wrap: Lewis Hamilton back on top of the F1 mountain

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source: AP
Lewis Hamilton finished off his second World Championship in style. Photo: AP.

Last week, Kevin Harvick won at Homestead-Miami Speedway to capture this year’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship. This past weekend, it was Lewis Hamilton’s turn to claim the F1 World Championship in the same glory.

A brilliant start at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix enabled Hamilton to get the jump on Mercedes teammate/title rival Nico Rosberg, and Rosberg was then severely hampered by an ERS failure on his Merc W05.

While Rosberg faded to 14th, Hamilton went on to hold off a late charge from Williams’ Felipe Massa and win the race – earning his second F1 title in the process.

“This has been an incredible year,” Hamilton said following his victory. “I just cannot believe how amazing this has all been. Coming to this team last year – the decision to come here when a lot of people said it was the wrong choice – the steps we took last year and then coming into this year, it was just unbelievable and then again, as I said, the fan support has been phenomenal.

“I never in a million years thought I’d have that kind of support, so as I said before, this is the greatest moment in my life. It’s very hard to…It feels very surreal. It feels like an out-of-body experience.

“I feel like I’m back here watching this going on, it’s not really happening. So I’m going to really make sure I gift my thanks and count my blessings.”

Our MotorSportsTalk colleague Luke Smith was on the ground at Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi to cover it all, and you can catch up on all the stories from an electric finale to the 2014 Grand Prix calendar in his Friday, Saturday, and Sunday notebooks.

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Bird was the word – and the winner – in Malaysia. Photo: AP.

While Formula One closed out its season, the all-electric Formula E got back to business in the streets of Putrajaya, Malaysia.

There, former GP2 contender Sam Bird turned in a stellar performance en route to his first F-E win. The British racer pulled off a sweet inside move on IndyCar vet Oriol Servia to take the lead early on, and post-car swap, he was able to efficiently use his power supply before returning to the point for good with five laps to go.

Lucas di Grassi recovered from a qualifying gaffe to finish second and maintain the championship lead by a three-point margin over Bird going into next month’s race in Punta del Este, Uruguay. Also rallying for strong results were Sebastien Buemi, who came from the back of the grid to third at the finish, and Jerome d’Ambrosio, who pulled off a similar drive to take fifth place.

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Kasey Kahne’s staying for a little bit longer at Hendrick Motorsports. Photo: Getty Images.

The season may finally be over for NASCAR, but the news beat continued to drum for the time being.

Headlining this week’s events was Hendrick Motorsports extending its contract with Kasey Kahne to the 2018 season. Additionally, Kahne will have a familiar face atop the pit box next year as Keith Rodden has returned to the 5 team – now, as its crew chief.

But with Kahne locked in for an additional three seasons (his contract was set to expire at the end of 2015), we couldn’t help but wonder what that meant for the future of new XFINITY Series champion Chase Elliott.

Prior to the Hendrick announcements, the hole left by Rodden’s departure from the No. 1 Chip Ganassi Racing team had already been filled. Matt McCall, formerly the lead engineer for 2014 title contender Ryan Newman at Richard Childress Racing, has taken over Rodden’s now-previous role as Jamie McMurray’s CC.

Meanwhile, the aforementioned Harvick made the media rounds in New York to discuss his first Sprint Cup title. One of Harvick’s peers, six-time champ Jimmie Johnson, also said he was glad Harvick won while admitting that a Newman title would have been “tough to swallow” after the implementation of the new Chase format.

Finally, the sport lost one of its good ones over the weekend as Denny Darnell, a long-time PR representative that worked with multiple entities within NASCAR, passed away. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.

Indy Lights: Askew clinches 2019 title while VeeKay wins Laguna Seca race 1

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MONTEREY, Calif – Rinus VeeKay may have won the first race of the weekend’s Indy Lights doubleheader at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca Saturday afternoon, but all all eyes post-race were all on the driver who finished the race in the fourth position.

That driver was Oliver Askew, who by simply starting the 30-lap event at the famed road course won the 2019 series title, along with the 2020 NTT IndyCar Series scholarship that guarantees a minimum of three races next season.

“It’s all sinking in,” Askew told NBC Sports following the race. “I’m really happy to be part of this team. They’re back to back champions now in Indy Lights, and I feel very fortunate to be driving in this car this year.

“This is what we worked for all year. I’m very happy to be in this position and I can’t wait to celebrate with my team.”

With the championship in Askew’s possession from the get-go, the best VeeKay could do for in race 1 was to win in dominant fashion. He went on to do just so.

After starting the race from the pole position, VeeKay led every lap from start to finish en route to his fifth victory of the season.

“We managed the car well and kept the car consistent throughout the whole race,” VeeKay said. “I got a great car from the team so I want to give a big shout out to them for giving me a winning car.”

Behind VeeKay, Portland race 2 winner Toby Sowery finished the race in the second position, while Robert Megennis finished third.

Live streaming coverage of race two of the Indy Lights doubleheader at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca begins tomorrow afternoon at 12:10 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Gold.

Click here for full race results

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