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.

Zach Veach splits with Andretti Autosport for rest of IndyCar season

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Zach Veach will be leaving his Andretti Autosport ride with three races remaining in the season, choosing to explore options after the decision was made he wouldn’t return for 2021.

In a Wednesday release, Andretti Autosport said a replacement driver for the No. 26 Dallara-Honda would be named in the coming days. The NTT IndyCar Series will race Oct. 2-3 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and then conclude the season Oct. 25 on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida.

Veach was ranked 11th in the points standings through 11 races of his third season with Andretti. Since a fourth in the June 6 season opener at Texas Motor Speedway, he hadn’t finished higher than 14th.

“The decision was made that I will not be returning in 2021 with Andretti Autosport in the No. 26 Gainbridge car,” Veach said in the Andretti release. “This, along with knowing that limited testing exists for teams due to COVID, have led me to the decision to step out of the car for the remainder of the 2020 IndyCar season. I am doing this to allow the team to have time with other drivers as they prepare for 2021, and so that I can also explore my own 2021 options.

“This is the hardest decision I have ever made, but to me, racing is about family, and it is my belief that you take care of your family. Andretti Autosport is my family and I feel this is what is best to help us all reach the next step. I will forever be grateful to Michael and the team for all of their support over the years. I would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for a relationship that started many years ago with Road to Indy. I will also be forever grateful to Dan Towriss for his friendship and for the opportunity he and Gainbridge have given me.

“My love for this sport and the people involved is unmeasurable, and I look forward to continuing to be amongst the racing world and fans in 2021.”

Said team owner Michael Andretti: “We first welcomed Zach to the Andretti team back in his USF2000 days and have enjoyed watching him grow and evolve as a racer, and a person. His decision to allow us to use the last few races to explore our 2021 options shows the measure of his character.

“Zach has always placed team and family first, and we’re very happy to have had him as part of ours for so many years. We wish him the best in whatever 2021 may bring and will always consider him a friend.”

Andretti fields five full-time cars for Veach, Alexander Rossi, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Marco Andretti and Colton Herta.

It also has fielded James Hinchcliffe in three races this season.