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Hamilton: Poor late-season form “a blessing in disguise”


Three-time Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton has called his end-of-season slump “a blessing in disguise”, believing that it will spur him on to work over the winter and return to form next year.

Hamilton clinched the 2015 drivers’ title in Austin, Texas at the end of October, but failed to match Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg for pace in the remaining three races, finishing second in Mexico, Brazil and Abu Dhabi.

Hamilton admitted in Brazil that he had been feeling “run down” due to excessive partying in the wake of his championship success, while his lack of comfort with the 2016-spec updates on the Mercedes car also contributed to his poor results.

Speaking to the media ahead of Mercedes’ Stars and Cars event in Stuttgart, Germany on Saturday, Hamilton looked on the bright side of his poor run, believing that it will give him more incentive to bounce back in Australia next March.

“I actually look at the last three races as a blessing in disguise,” Hamilton said. “If I’d have won the last three races, that would’ve been quite a lot of races won in the season, and perhaps I would have gone into next season with less of a buzz.

“But I actually have great determination, a great drive right now and I think that’s come from having those results. In that sense, it’s been a good thing.”

Hamilton was quick to praise Rosberg for his late-season form, but admitted that he may have eased off without knowing given that the title was already won.

“I don’t ever take away from the fact that Nico did an exceptional job in those last few races, even actually from Singapore he did an exceptional job in qualifying,” Hamilton said.

“I think the change in the car seemed to suit him very well. And, you know, when the championship was done, I didn’t let off, but I was subconsciously more relaxed, perhaps.”

IndyCar teams with NASCAR on IMS road course doubleheader in 2021

IndyCar NASCAR doubleheader 2021
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The NTT IndyCar Series will be sharing Indianapolis Motor Speedway with the NASCAR Cup Series in a race weekend doubleheader for the second consecutive season, but both series will be on the road course in August 2021.

IMS announced Wednesday that IndyCar will hold an Aug. 14, 2021 race on its 14-turn, 2.439-mile road course. It’ll be a day before NASCAR’s premier series runs the same layout for the first time after the Brickyard 400 was contested on the 2.5-mile oval for the first time in 27 years.

This season’s rescheduling of the IndyCar GMR Grand Prix to July 4, 2019 (a day before the Brickyard 400) led to the first NASCAR-IndyCar doubleheader weekend. The Xfinity Series also raced on the IMS road course for the first time July 4 after the IndyCar race ended.

INDYCAR AT IMS THIS WEEKEND: Harvest GP schedule, entry lists

IndyCar will be holding its second race weekend this year at the IMS road course Friday and Saturday with the Harvest GP.

“Our first NASCAR-INDYCAR weekend was a big success last July, with positive feedback from
our loyal fans who watched the races on NBC and from the drivers, teams and participants
involved,” IMS president Douglas Boles said in a statement. “The Xfinity Series’ debut on the IMS road course provided exactly the kind of thrilling action from the green to checkered flags that we anticipated, so we know the teams and drivers of the Cup Series will put on a great show as they turn left and right for the first time at IMS.

“We can’t wait to welcome back fans to see NASCAR and INDYCAR together during this
exciting weekend as we add another memorable chapter in the long, storied history of the
Indianapolis Motor Speedway.”

It also will mark the first NASCAR Cup-IndyCar doubleheader with a crowd as fans weren’t permitted at IMS in July because of the novel coronvavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Over the course of Wednesday, NASCAR is releasing its 36-race slate for next season. IndyCar has yet to release its full 2021 schedule.