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.

Hunter McElrea wins Mazda Road to Indy USF2000 Scholarship

IndyCar.com
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Hunter McElrea bested 18 competitors to win the third annual Road to Indy USF2000 $200,000 Scholarship Shootout on Sunday at Bondurant Racing School in Chandler, Ariz.

The two-day contest featured on-track competition in Formula Mazda cars as well as interview sessions and assessment from a panel of judges.

“I can’t believe it,” McElrea said at IndyCar.com. “This is definitely the most exciting opportunity that I have had in my racing career. I cannot thank Mazda and everyone enough for making this possible for me. The fact that I am going to be on the grid next year thanks to them is a dream come true.

“They have given me the opportunity to prove myself in such a high level that I never even thought I would be able to reach. I have to thank Andersen Promotions, Cooper tires, all of the judges, everyone from Mazda, the Bondurant Racing School and the other competitors, who literally pushed me to the limit.

“I am just so happy. It is still sinking in, but I just can’t wait to get next year started, and I’ll be representing Mazda in that nice Soul Red USF2000 car.”

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The 19-year-old McElrea was born in California, but reared in Australia.

As a result of winning the award, McElrea will compete in the 2019 season of the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship, the first rung of the Mazda Road to Indy development ladder.

McElrea won the Australian Formula Ford Championship this year on the strength of 13 victories in 21 races.

Early competition resulted in a final field of six drivers that included Jake Craig, Michael Eastwell, Braden Eves, Flinn Lazier and Ross Martin. They competed in a qualification session and 30-minute simulated race. McElrea won that race.

“Today was an incredible day,” said Tom Long, Mazda Motorsports factory driver and one of the judges. “There was so much talent here for the shootout. Hunter McElrea just rose to the top when it was time to shine, but our decision was very, very difficult.

“In the end, given all of the circumstances, we were able to make a pretty good decision and we are really, really proud of not only Hunter but our whole team here with Mazda to be able to grant this $200,000 scholarship for his opportunity in USF2000 next year.”