Andretti: Hamilton-Rosberg ‘war’ is natural

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American racing legend Mario Andretti does not believe that there is anything wrong with the rivalry between Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg at Mercedes.

Hamilton and Rosberg have battled for the last two Formula 1 drivers’ championships and created what has become one of the most intriguing teammate rivalries in the long history of the series.

The tension between the drivers prompted Mercedes F1 boss Toto Wolff to issue a warning earlier this month, saying that he could be forced to change the line-up if their rivalry had a negative impact on the team as a whole.

However, Andretti sees nothing wrong with the tension between Hamilton and Rosberg, believing it to be typical of any team at the peak of its powers.

“I don’t think it’s anything unnatural,” Andretti told GPUpdate.

“I think it’s very natural to have that. When you have a team which has two absolutely capable drivers of achieving those kind of results, you’re going to have a bit of a war.

“As a driver you’re very selfish. If you’re not, there’s something wrong with you.”

Hamilton has also spoken about Wolff’s warning, believing it to have been an unnecessary step.

“We are grown men and we have done the job that we are hired to do to the maximum,” Hamilton told Sky Italia.

“We’ve not done it 95 per cent or 80 per cent. We’ve done it 100 per cent to how they’ve wanted us to do it.

“Has there been friction? Of course, you can’t have it perfect always. But have we always shone light on this team? I believe so.

“Have we always delivered when they’ve given us the opportunity to do so? I believe so.

“Am I surprised by [the threat]? Not really. Is it necessary? Not really.”

Jo Shimoda joins Seth Hammaker, Austin Forkner on injured list; Musquin remains out

Shimoda injured
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Bad news continues to come out of the Monster Energy / Pro Circuit Kawasaki team as they announced Jo Shimoda injured his shoulder in a practice session and will not mount up when the Monster Energy Supercross 250 East division opens in Houston, Texas on February 4. A timetable has not been given for Shimoda’s return, but a press release from the team references multiple weeks.

“I’m doing my best to focus forward on my return to racing,” said Shimoda in the release. “Our goal was to compete for the 250 Supercross Eastern Regional Championship and I know we had been doing the right work to make that happen. Unfortunately, this crash will cause me to miss the start of the season, but I still aim to be back on the track racing for wins before the end of Supercross.”

Shimoda is joined on the sidelines by teammates Seth Hammaker and Austin Forkner, who also suffered injuries in recent weeks.

The news of Hammaker’s sidelining came just two days ago. His wrist injury is sufficient to require surgery, so he too will miss multiple weeks. Hammaker was scheduled to compete in the 250 East division alongside Shimoda.

Forkner was involved in a Lap 1 crash in the 250 West season opener at Anaheim. Multiple injuries, including an ACL tear, will sideline him for the remainder of the season. He described the injury and its aftermath on Instagram.

Forkner will be relieved by Carson Mumford, but not before that rider’s wrist has healed sufficiently. He is scheduled to debut with Kawasaki in Oakland for the rescheduled Round 2 Supercross race on February 18.

Shimoda finished fourth in the 2022 Supercross 250 West division and was second in 2021 points in 250 East. In 2021, Shimoda won his first Supercross race at Salt Lake City. Last year, he scored one podium and six top-fives in nine starts.

Shimoda finished second in last year’s outdoor Lucas Oil Pro Motocross season, where he added two more SuperMotocross wins including the Unadilla Nationals that kicked off a four-race streak of first- or second-place results.

Kawasaki is not the only team facing injury. Red Bull KTM initially reported Marvin Musquin would be out for the San Diego round with a wrist injury and “maybe more”. This week it was announced he will miss this week’s Triple Crown race in Anaheim and “at least the next several rounds.”