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Hamilton fights back to seventh in rollercoaster Chinese GP

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Lewis Hamilton made the best of a bad situation in Sunday’s Chinese Grand Prix by fighting from the back of the grid to finish seventh for Mercedes.

Hamilton arrived in China set on ending teammate and title rival Nico Rosberg’s run of five straight race wins, only to be hit with a grid penalty for a gearbox change before the weekend had even started.

His problems grew worse on Saturday when his engine failed in qualifying, leaving him to start from 22nd in Shanghai.

Hamilton made a good start to pick up a few positions off the line, only to get tangled up in an incident with Felipe Nasr at Turn 2 (pictured) that forced him into pitting for repairs.

It would be the first of five pit stops for the Briton in China, with Mercedes changing strategy in reaction to the race that kept twisting in the early stages.

The decision to fit him with a set of medium tires and go long to the end of the race on lap 31 allowed Hamilton to rise up to fifth at one point, but he was unable to pass Williams’ Felipe Massa for position.

This gave Daniel Ricciardo and Kimi Raikkonen the chance to catch and pass Hamilton on fresher, quicker tires, leaving him to settle for seventh come the checkered flag.

Hamilton said he felt it was the most he could achieve given the circumstances, and is now focusing on cutting the 36 point gap to Rosberg in the coming races.

“I got a good start, but it’s always tricky being at the back and trying not to get caught up in the domino effect of any contact at the first corner,” Hamilton said.

“I tried to avoid whatever happened in front of me but I just got tangled up in it. It was just a bit unfortunate, really. From there it was always going to be a battle – but I had a lot of fun fighting back through! There were plenty of overtakes, from what I can remember!

“I gave it everything I had and P7 was about the limit. There was nothing left in the tires at the end and, although it’s pretty good for overtaking here, I had quite a lot of damage to the car which made it difficult to get close on the brakes. From what I could feel there was definitely some aero loss and possible suspension damage too, as the car seemed to be flexing all over the place.

“But that’s racing – it happens sometimes and at least I still managed to get a few points on the board. It’s a pretty big hit points-wise today – but I’ll just have to do what I can to make it up over the next few races.”

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.