Hamilton after win in Belgium: “Today was a dream”

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Lewis Hamilton was quick to thank his Mercedes AMG Petronas team following his victory in the Belgian Grand Prix on Sunday.

Hamilton dominated proceedings at the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps from pole position, cruising to his sixth win of the season to extend his lead at the top of the drivers’ championship.

Speaking on the podium after the race, Hamilton expressed his delight and heaped praise on the Mercedes team for providing him with the dominant W06 Hybrid car.

“For me, just an amazing weekend again,” Hamilton said. “An incredible job done by the team throughout the pit stops, throughout the whole weekend, the guys back at the factory.

“Today was a dream. The whole weekend, the car was fantastic. Thank you guys.”

Hamilton’s closest challenger for the race win was Mercedes teammate and title rival Nico Rosberg, who finished two seconds down at the checkered flag.

Despite coming under pressure at moments during the race, Hamilton explained how he felt relaxed and in control at the front of the pack.

“Nico had obviously good pace but I was able to answer most of the time,” Hamilton said. “Fairly relaxed at the front, the car was feeling great so it was mainly about looking after the tires.

“Particularly at the end when I saw one of the tires had blown on another car, so the last two laps Nico was allowed to close the gap.

“[I] felt really under control the whole way, and as I said, a lot of good assistance from the team. I felt 100% all weekend.”

Hamilton now enjoys a 28-point lead at the top of the drivers’ championship ahead of the Italian Grand Prix in two weeks’ time.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. believes Indy 500 should never have guaranteed starting positions

Bruce Martin Photo
Bruce Martin Photo
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INDIANAPOLIS – Like many viewers watching last weekend’s Indianapolis 500 “Bump Day” on NBC, former NASCAR star Dale Earnhardt, Jr. was captivated by the drama.

He also believes INDYCAR should not follow NASCAR’s path of “Chartered Teams” locking up positions in the major races; such as the Daytona 500. That has taken away the excitement and drama of the Daytona Duels.

“Not trying to get myself in the weeds here, but I think Indy could look at the history of NASCAR and how it has changed the excitement for some of the Duels and qualifying,” Earnhardt told NBC Sports.com. “I would not go in that direction. If I was in control of things, I would not pull those levers to have guaranteed spots. The thrill of Bump Day and the battle for the final row, increased the value of Sunday and viewership for Sunday. It taught people about other drivers and teams. We don’t learn those things if you don’t see them going through that battle and experience.

“I thought it was a tremendous win for the people that want to keep things at Indy as they are.”

Earnhardt, who is part of NBC’s crew for Sunday’s telecast of the 103rdIndianapolis 500, believes the way it all played out created a storyline that enhances the interest in the 500-Mile Race.

“I experienced the drama before with Bump Day that has happened here in this race in the past, but I thought it was symbolic with the conversation going on about guaranteed spots,” Earnhardt said. “For the folks who are the traditionalists who believe you have to earn your way in, it was a great day for those folks and their argument. Fernando Alonso and how that story played out and his reaction to not making it, I thought he handled it like the champion he is. All of that was interesting.

“The little teams beating the big teams was pretty cool. It created some really exciting stuff and did nothing but build excitement in the race.

“Even though Alonso is not in the race, I’m just as interested, or more interested, than I was before. Them not being in the race didn’t change it for me. If anything, that whole drama and how it played out made me more excited to see the event.”

Earnhardt is attending his first Indianapolis 500 in person. He will be part of NBC’s Indianapolis 500 Pre-race show along with Mike Tirico and 2005 Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year Danica Patrick.

Earnhardt will also drive the Pace Car to lead the 33-car starting lineup to the green flag to start the 103rdIndianapolis 500. The green flag is scheduled to wave at 12:45 p.m. Eastern Time.