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Rosberg surprised by Hamilton’s move leading to Spain crash

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Nico Rosberg was surprised by the move that Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton made on the first lap of Sunday’s Spanish Grand Prix that ultimately caused them to crash out of the race.

Rosberg made the better start from second on the grid in Barcelona, sweeping around the outside of Hamilton at the first corner.

Hamilton fought back and lined up a move down the inside of Turn 4, with Rosberg shifting his car to the right-hand side of the track to block him off.

Hamilton refused to back down though, moving onto the grass and losing control. His car clipped the barrier before then careering into Rosberg ahead, eliminating both drivers on the spot.

Both the team and the stewards cleared either driver of causing a collision, deeming it to have been a racing incident.

Hamilton claimed after the race that Rosberg had been going slowly into the corner as he was running in the wrong engine mode, which was backed up by the stewards.

Speaking after the race, Rosberg gave his version of events, saying that he was surprised Hamilton had tried to pass on the inside.

“I was aware of the situation, I saw Lewis coming closer, so I went for the usual racing driver action of closing the door as early as I could,” Rosberg said.

“I was making it clear I wasn’t leaving any space, so I was very surprised that he went for the gap anyway.

“The stewards decided it was a race incident, so we will accept that – we will leave it at that.”

The retirement ended Rosberg’s run of seven straight victories, and although he remains 39 points clear in the drivers’ championship, his frustration was evident.

“It was my race and our race to win,” Rosberg said.

“I was here to win, that’s what I was looking forward to and what I was really excited about at Turn 1 after getting past Lewis.

“So for us to end in the sandtrap like that, it is as bad as it gets.”

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.