Hamilton strong as Rosberg struggles on mixed Friday for Mercedes in Hungary

Leave a comment

Lewis Hamilton believes that Mercedes is looking strong ahead of this weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix after he finished fastest in both of Friday’s practice sessions.

Hamilton headed up a Mercedes one-two during FP1 at the Hungaroring before beating Red Bull’s Daniil Kvyat to top spot in second practice in the afternoon.

The Briton is chasing a record fifth victory in Hungary this weekend, making it one of his favorite places to race in F1 in spite of the sweltering heat on Friday afternoon.

“It was really good fun out there today,” Hamilton said. “I’m starting to think this might be my favourite track. It’s so fun to drive with the combination of corners and undulations.

“The way it all flows together just feels old school. It’s incredibly hot, though – like driving in a sauna! You’re drenched in sweat before you even get in the car with all the thermals on and I lost about half a kilo just in that session.

“It’s a big challenge to get a good lap here in these conditions and I think everyone has struggled a bit. It’s meant to be a bit cooler on Sunday which will be easier to cope with physically but will obviously change the balance a bit, so it should be interesting.source: Getty Images

“Our car feels strong here though and I’m very happy with it so far.”

Hamilton’s positivity was not shared by Rosberg in the sister W06 Hybrid, though, as the German struggled to match his teammate for pace on Friday.

“Today was a difficult day for me,” Rosberg admitted. “I didn’t ever really find the right balance, moving from oversteer to understeer.

“The long run pace was okay, so I can build on that. But I definitely have some work to do to improve my setup before tomorrow morning and get some practice in for qualifying during P3.

“It’s really hot out there. In the car you are sitting almost on the asphalt, so you can feel the heat very much. It will be a demanding race on Sunday.”

Mercedes’ biggest challenge on Friday came courtesy of Red Bull as Daniil Kvyat and Daniel Ricciardo split the Silver Arrows in FP2, and it will be intriguing to see how the fight at the front unfolds in qualifying on Saturday.

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

Helio Castroneves IMSA IndyCar
IMSA
Leave a comment

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.”