Hamilton takes second in Australia as a ‘bonus’ after fightback

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Lewis Hamilton felt satisfied with second place in Sunday’s Australian Grand Prix after fighting back from a poor start to follow home Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg at the checkered flag.

Hamilton started the opening race of the season from pole position, but made a sluggish getaway to drop down to sixth at the end of the first lap.

Hamilton fought his way back up to fifth before pitting, having already been passed by net race leader Sebastian Vettel to put the Briton a stop behind.

Mercedes moved Hamilton onto a one-stop strategy that was aided by a red flag period called after a terrifying crash between Fernando Alonso and Esteban Gutierrez.

Hamilton made his medium tires last until the end of the race, and although he could not keep pace with Rosberg at the front, he did manage to fend off Vettel in the closing stages to complete a Mercedes one-two.

“I love the fact that we had to come from far behind, it was a tricky race,” Hamilton said.

“I’m really happy to get this result, it’s great for the team. I’ve had it much worse in the first race. I take this as a real bonus to come back from seventh.”

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.