Hamilton: Pole in Mexico not crucial

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Lewis Hamilton remains optimistic about his chances in tomorrow’s Mexican Grand Prix despite only qualifying second on Saturday, losing out to Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg.

Hamilton finished less than two-tenths of a second shy of Rosberg with his quickest Q3 lap, handing the German driver his fourth consecutive pole position.

However, after winning the last three races from second on the grid, Hamilton remains relaxed about tomorrow’s race, believing pole to be less crucial at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez.

“It was great out there today,” Hamilton said. “I really enjoyed driving and we have an amazing crowd here too. They’re constantly cheering, which is great to see.

“The track got grippier so it was more fun to drive and it was quite a relaxing qualifying session in general, with no real stress.

“At some races pole really makes a difference, but at this one it I don’t really mind being second because it’s a long, long way down to turn one and I plan on getting a good start tomorrow.”

Grip levels have been low all weekend on the newly-resufaced track, and Hamilton is wary of having to start from scratch if the rain some are forecasting hits Mexico City on Saturday night.

“The track is evolving and improving bit by bit,” Hamilton said. “I don’t know if it’s going to rain tonight but, if it does, it will clean the track and then we will be learning again tomorrow so that will be a real challenge.

“We don’t know what kind of strategy it’s going to be or how long the tires will last – we’ll find out tomorrow! I’m looking forward to a good battle as it was very close today.”

The Mexican Grand Prix is live on NBC and Live Extra from 1:30pm ET on Sunday.

IndyCar disappointed by delay of video game but aiming to launch at start of 2024

IndyCar video game 2024

An IndyCar executive said there is “absolutely” disappointment that its long-awaited video game recently was delayed beyond its target date, but the series remains optimistic about the new title.

“Well, I don’t know how quick it will be, but the whole situation is important to us,” Penske Entertainment president and CEO Mark Miles said during a news conference Monday morning to announce IndyCar’s NTT title sponsorship. “Motorsport Games has spent a lot of money, a lot of effort to create an IndyCar title. What we’ve seen of that effort, which is not completely obvious, is very reassuring.

“I think it’s going to be outstanding. That’s our shared objective, that when it is released, it’s just widely accepted. A great credit both to IndyCar racing, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, something that our fans love.”

In June 2021, IndyCar announced a new partnership with Motorsport Games to create and distribute an IndyCar video game for the PC and Xbox and PlayStation consoles in 2023.

But during an earnings call last week, Motorsport Games said the IndyCar game had been delayed to 2024 to ensure high quality.

Somewhat compounding the delay is that IndyCar’s license for iRacing expired after the end of the 2022 season because of its exclusive agreement with Motorsport Games.

That’s resulted in significant changes for IndyCar on iRacing, which had provided a high-profile way for the series to stay visible during its 2020 shutdown from the pandemic. (Players still can race an unbranded car but don’t race on current IndyCar tracks, nor can they stream).

That’s helped ratchet up the attention on having a video game outlet for IndyCar.

“I wish we had an IndyCar title 10 years ago,” said Miles, who has been working with the organization since 2013. “We’ve been close, but we’ve had these I think speed bumps.”

IndyCar is hopeful the Motorsports Game edition will be ready at the start of 2024. Miles hinted that beta versions could be unveiled to reporters ahead of the time “to begin to show the progress in a narrow way to make sure we’ve got it right, to test the progress so that we’re ready when they’re ready.”

It’s been nearly 18 years since the release of the most recent IndyCar video game for console or PC.

“(We) better get it right,” Miles said. “It’s something we’re very close to and continue to think about what it is to make sure we get it over the line in due course.”