Hamilton: Mercedes has a fight on its hands with Ferrari

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Lewis Hamilton believes that Mercedes has a genuine fight on its hands with Ferrari heading into the second half of the 2015 Formula 1 season.

Hamilton currently leads the drivers’ championship by 21 points from Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg, but remains just 42 clear of Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel in third place after the German won last month’s Hungarian Grand Prix.

Vettel managed to jump both Hamilton and Rosberg at the start before controlling proceedings throughout the race to claim his 41st grand prix victory.

Despite enduring what he called at the time one of his “worst races”, Hamilton managed to extend his lead over Rosberg after the German driver got caught up in a collision with just a handful of laps to go.

Speaking ahead of this weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix, Hamilton explained how Mercedes is remaining very wary of the threat posed by Ferrari and is not resting on its laurels despite enjoying a comfortable lead in the constructors’ championship.

“Well naturally we’re here to win and we’re focused on making sure we stay up front,” Hamilton said.

“But we’re fully aware that other teams are pushing very hard and Ferrari are looking great. So we don’t arrive at any race thinking that we are superior to anyone.

“We know that we have a fight on our hands and so we’re doing to work at trying to make sure we work harder than them.”

Hamilton appeared to get away lightly in Hungary last time out after making a number of errors, but he does not believe such fortune indicates that the title is his to lose.

“Definitely not,” the Briton said. “I think the team effort that goes in, seeing how hard my team is working, seeing the progress we’re making I think encourages me to believe that it’s going to be our year.

“You know you just have to keep your head down and you can’t win them all.”

The Belgian Grand Prix is live across NBCSN, CNBC and NBC Sports Live Extra this weekend. For more information, click here.

IndyCar teams with NASCAR on IMS road course doubleheader in 2021

IndyCar NASCAR doubleheader 2021
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The NTT IndyCar Series will be sharing Indianapolis Motor Speedway with the NASCAR Cup Series in a race weekend doubleheader for the second consecutive season, but both series will be on the road course in August 2021.

IMS announced Wednesday that IndyCar will hold an Aug. 14, 2021 race on its 14-turn, 2.439-mile road course. It’ll be a day before NASCAR’s premier series runs the same layout for the first time after the Brickyard 400 was contested on the 2.5-mile oval for the first time in 27 years.

This season’s rescheduling of the IndyCar GMR Grand Prix to July 4, 2019 (a day before the Brickyard 400) led to the first NASCAR-IndyCar doubleheader weekend. The Xfinity Series also raced on the IMS road course for the first time July 4 after the IndyCar race ended.

INDYCAR AT IMS THIS WEEKEND: Harvest GP schedule, entry lists

IndyCar will be holding its second race weekend this year at the IMS road course Friday and Saturday with the Harvest GP.

“Our first NASCAR-INDYCAR weekend was a big success last July, with positive feedback from
our loyal fans who watched the races on NBC and from the drivers, teams and participants
involved,” IMS president Douglas Boles said in a statement. “The Xfinity Series’ debut on the IMS road course provided exactly the kind of thrilling action from the green to checkered flags that we anticipated, so we know the teams and drivers of the Cup Series will put on a great show as they turn left and right for the first time at IMS.

“We can’t wait to welcome back fans to see NASCAR and INDYCAR together during this
exciting weekend as we add another memorable chapter in the long, storied history of the
Indianapolis Motor Speedway.”

It also will mark the first NASCAR Cup-IndyCar doubleheader with a crowd as fans weren’t permitted at IMS in July because of the novel coronvavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Over the course of Wednesday, NASCAR is releasing its 36-race slate for next season. IndyCar has yet to release its full 2021 schedule.