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Hamilton: F1 must change to create closer, natural racing

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Lewis Hamilton has joined the call for change in Formula 1 by stressing the importance of close, organic racing.

The sport’s technical regulations are poised to be overhauled in 2017 in a bid to improve the on-track spectacle that has been blamed for dwindling TV figures and track attendances in recent years.

In Thursday’s press conference ahead of this weekend’s United States Grand Prix, a number of drivers were asked about the push to better F1 and make the sport faster, widening the gap to support championships such as GP2 and Formula Renault 3.5.

Although Hamilton was not fully aware of the changes that were being put forward for 2017, the Briton said that something definitely needed to be altered to improve the racing in F1.

“I think it does need to change,” Hamilton said. “I’ve not really looked at the changes they’re proposing, to be honest, but it needs to be… for example, with the DRS, it doesn’t feel organic, like natural racing.

“Whatever changes they make, I want to see closer racing. Wheel to wheel racing. It needs to be like go-karting was. If, you know, go-karting, wheel to wheel and those guys following the train overtaking. We need to make Formula 1 a bit more like that somehow.

“I don’t know how they’re going to do it. It needs to be a lot different to what it was in the last 20 years.”

Hamilton’s thoughts were echoed by Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen, who said that F1 needs to become faster and more exciting for fans to watch.

“F1 should be easily the fastest racing cars in the world and it doesn’t look right some races where we go and GP2s are a few seconds off,” Raikkonen said.

“[F1 cars] should be definitely faster, more like they were in the mid-2000s. I think that’s the way they plan to go and I think it’s more fun for us, it looks much more greater to the spectators.

“But also, they have to make it nicer for all the people. Everybody is complaining it’s boring, it’s this and that. If something doesn’t change nobody will care how the car looks or how fast they are.

“Something has to change, that’s for sure, for F1 to get back more interesting for everybody – but I think it’s a good way to go, make the cars faster and more exciting looking.”

Indy Lights: Askew clinches 2019 title while VeeKay wins Laguna Seca race 1

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MONTEREY, Calif – Rinus VeeKay may have won the first race of the weekend’s Indy Lights doubleheader at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca Saturday afternoon, but all all eyes post-race were all on the driver who finished the race in the fourth position.

That driver was Oliver Askew, who by simply starting the 30-lap event at the famed road course won the 2019 series title, along with the 2020 NTT IndyCar Series scholarship that guarantees a minimum of three races next season.

“It’s all sinking in,” Askew told NBC Sports following the race. “I’m really happy to be part of this team. They’re back to back champions now in Indy Lights, and I feel very fortunate to be driving in this car this year.

“This is what we worked for all year. I’m very happy to be in this position and I can’t wait to celebrate with my team.”

With the championship in Askew’s possession from the get-go, the best VeeKay could do for in race 1 was to win in dominant fashion. He went on to do just so.

After starting the race from the pole position, VeeKay led every lap from start to finish en route to his fifth victory of the season.

“We managed the car well and kept the car consistent throughout the whole race,” VeeKay said. “I got a great car from the team so I want to give a big shout out to them for giving me a winning car.”

Behind VeeKay, Portland race 2 winner Toby Sowery finished the race in the second position, while Robert Megennis finished third.

Live streaming coverage of race two of the Indy Lights doubleheader at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca begins tomorrow afternoon at 12:10 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Gold.

Click here for full race results

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