Vandoorne chasing more wins in push for GP2 title

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Stoffel Vandoorne has set his sights on continuing his impressive start to the 2015 GP2 Series season after the summer break as he bids to win the Formula 1 feeder series title.

Vandoorne finished as runner-up to Jolyon Palmer in the 2014 championship, but was kept in GP2 by parent team McLaren so he could, in the words of racing director Eric Boullier, “win the championship as a boss”.

The Belgian driver has lived up to the team’s high expectations in the first half of the season, claiming four race wins and five further podium finishes to establish an 85 point lead at the top of the standings.

Despite enjoying such a sizeable lead, Vandoorne is not looking to ease off and play it safe in races. Instead, he has set his sights on claiming more wins in the remaining five rounds of the season.

“Of course we look at what the others do, but we mainly concentrate on our own job,” Vandoorne said. “I think that’s worked out pretty well since the start of the season.

“The good thing is that we keep on scoring quite big points every weekend. That’s the main target for the remainder of the season.

“I want to win some more races and then we’ll see who will challenge us in the end.”

Vandoorne heads to his home circuit of Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium in three weeks’ time following GP2’s summer break with hopes of avenging his defeat in last year’s race.

The ART Grand Prix driver was embroiled in a spectacular fight with Raffaele Marciello in the wet for much of the race, but could not beat the Italian driver and was ultimately forced to settle for second place.

“I came very close to the victory last year and just missed out two or three laps from the end,” Vandoorne said.

“Hopefully I will be able to take my revenge and win there this year. It would be a really good feeling to win for the fans and for the home crowd.”

Lewis Hamilton receives Daytona 500 invitation from Bubba Wallace

Lewis Hamilton Bubba Wallace
Rudy Carezzevoli/Getty Images
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Lewis Hamilton is a fan of the new NASCAR Cup Series team formed by Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan to field a car for Bubba Wallace.

Will the six-time Formula One champion also be a fan in person at a NASCAR race in the near future?

Wallace is hoping so.

After Hamilton tweeted his support Tuesday morning about the news of a Hamlin-Jordan-Wallace team making its debut with the 2021 season, Wallace responded with a sly invitation to the Daytona 500.

Much would need to be worked out, starting with how much garage and grandstand access would be afforded for a 2021 season opener that likely would occur during a still ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

But it would seem fitting given that Hamilton and Wallace have been two of the world’s most outspoken Black athletes about the quest for diversity and racial justice. Hamilton recently reaffirmed his commitment to activism after his donning a Breonna Taylor shirt sparked an FIA inquiry.

The idea of Hamilton attending the season opener already had legs, too. The Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 driver has expressed a desire to race the Daytona 500 after he has retired from Formula One.

He was a spectator (with racing legend Mario Andretti) at four-time champion Jeff Gordon’s final Cup race as a full-time in the 2015 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. In 2011, Hamilton swapped cars with three-time champion Tony Stewart at Watkins Glen International.

Having rubbed shoulders with other racing greats so often, it only would be fitting if Hamilton — who is one victory from tying Michael Schumacher’s career record and also could tie the F1 record with a seventh championship this season — spent some time with the greatest basketball player of all time.

Jeff Gordon was flanked by Mario Andretti and Lewis Hamilton before the 2015 Cup season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway (Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images).