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Hamilton bored by lack of overtaking opportunities in Brazil

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Lewis Hamilton admitted that he felt bored during Sunday’s Brazilian Grand Prix due to the lack of overtaking opportunities afforded by the Interlagos circuit.

Hamilton spent all but three laps of the race running in second position behind teammate Nico Rosberg as he struggled to mount a challenge to the German driver in Brazil.

Early on, Hamilton closed to within 0.3 seconds of Rosberg, but could not follow closely due to the loss of downforce when running in the dirty air of the Mercedes ahead.

Speaking on the podium after the race, Hamilton was adamant that he had the pace to match Rosberg in the race, but that the lack of overtaking opportunities meant he could not attempt to pass for the lead.

“I had good pace, it’s just you can’t overtake here,” Hamilton said. “I was behind Nico and in traffic for some time, so I just killed my tires. It’s a shame because it’s such a great track but you can’t get close enough in the race.

“I don’t know if there’s other people overtaking, but unless you’ve got a huge advantage on the car in front… Motorsport is about fine line, that tenth of a second, but you can’t get close enough within that tenth of a second to fight. It’s a shame, because it would be good if we could do some overtaking here.”

Hamilton had asked Mercedes to switch him to a different strategy so that he could try and pass Rosberg, only to be refused by team’s strategists.

“I’m here to race, and when you have to do the same [strategy] it’s kind of set from the beginning,” Hamilton said.

“For sure, if there’s any other strategies, let’s do it, let’s take a risk, let’s do whatever, they’re like ‘look after the tyres’, I’m like ‘no I’m racing!’

“I think that’s what people want to see, but unfortunately today as I say I couldn’t get close enough to be able to put on a great race. It was relatively boring following in a tow.”

Hamilton did take a moment to praise race-winner Rosberg following his second straight win and recent upturn in form.

“Yeah, Nico’s been driving fantastically well,” Hamilton said. “He’s been doing a fantastic job in qualifying, particularly the last few races. Last race he drove fantastically well, today no mistakes, so he’s doing good.”

Helio Castroneves ‘hustling’ for IndyCar, IMSA rides; talking with four to five teams

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As his season gathers steam, Helio Castroneves said his prospects for finding new rides for 2021 in IMSA and IndyCar also are gaining momentum.

The three-time Indianapolis 500 winner said Monday he is optimistic about landing in either or perhaps a combination of both series when Team Penske and Acura end their DPi partnership after this season.

“A lot of people I spoke with, four to five teams, are interested,” Castroneves said. “Whether it’s doing Indy 500 only, whether it’s pushing to do full time or do the sports cars as well. It’s been a very nice conversation.

LOOKING AHEADTeam Penske drivers seeking new rides for 2021

“I have a lot of respect for all the teams that have been talking, and I feel the same feedback. We just have to wait for their (sponsor) connections, and I’m also looking for some connections on my side as well, so hopefully we’ll be able to put this together and get something very soon.”

Given two decades of success with Penske in IndyCar and IMSA, Castroneves’ resume hardly needs burnishing. But the Brazilian has combined with co-driver Ricky Taylor in the No. 7 Acura DPi to win the past two overall victories at Road America and Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.

But Castroneves, who doesn’t have a manager, said he has been working the phones hard rather than wait for the strong results to bring in the calls.

“At this point, I feel like I’m the one who needs to be talking to them because people need to know I want to continue racing and understand my desire,” Castroneves, 45, said. “There is opportunity, no question, in both (IndyCar and IMSA), which I’m really happy about it. However, because of the COVID-19, a lot of things sometimes have to be a little delayed. But I’m excited. Whatever the opportunity and whatever destiny guides me, whether IndyCar or sports cars, trust me I’ll be as happy as it could be and doing my 100 percent like I always did.

“It’s like politics, you need to be out there, good news or bad news. People have to make notice of your presence. I’m hustling. I want to continue to keep it going. Hopefully, we’ll have good news very soon.”

The news has been all good lately on track for Castroneves and Taylor, who hope to continue their run Sunday at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

The No. 6 duo has surged to sixth in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship standings, 10 points out of the lead with four races remaining. After thinking there was “no hope” to be competitive after opening the season with three consecutive poor finishes, Taylor now sees an opportunity for a happy ending.

“With the program going away, Helio has won all the big races and given so much back to the team and left such a mark, he’s really part of Penske history,” Taylor said. “For me, it’s been an opportunity of a lifetime to be a part of it. I’d like to leave my little mark as well. Helio has won everything except for a championship.

“Obviously, we’ve won races already together, but we can win a championship now. I think if both of us can do that together and both win our first championship for ‘The Captain,’ that would be an absolute dream come true, and we can tie a bow on it and be happy.”