Hamilton on Baku qualifying error: “It was all me”


Yet again, Lewis Hamilton will be forced to play catch-up in a Grand Prix this year as he’ll roll off from 10th for Sunday’s European Grand Prix in Baku, Azerbaijan (Sunday, 8 a.m. ET, NBCSN).

Hamilton, who has won the two most recent Grands Prix in Monaco and Canada and has a propensity for winning at new circuits, lost his form in qualifying today after leading all three practice sessions around the treacherous 3.7-mile street circuit.

An error where Hamilton hit his right front wheel on a wall resigned him to 10th without a representative time, stopped on course with a damaged car, and leaves him playing catch-up for the fourth time this year.

While others were mechanical gremlins, Hamilton put his mistake today solely down to him.

“I don’t think Baku bit me. I tried to take too much. It was all me,” Hamilton told NBCSN’s Will Buxton afterwards. “It was nothing to do with the track or the team. I wasn’t driving well today.”

Hamilton said setup changes to improve upon an already dominant Friday in Baku backfired.

“It is definitely a track you have to take chances. But this was just not getting in a groove. One corner was good, one corner was bad,” he explained.

“It was just the most uncomfortable I’ve been a long time. I cant express why. Yesterday was great. Some changes overnight and not as great today. We will try to recover tomorrow.”

Hamilton will look to recapture the form but otherwise he risks losing points to Nico Rosberg for the first time in four races, since Russia when Rosberg last won.

“I have no idea, but yesterday was a really nice day. Try to get away from the hustle and bustle here, get some good night sleep and try to pick it up.”

Hamilton has scored points in his occasions following qualifying issues, but he’s at a net loss to points to Rosberg in those three races.

At China, he went from 22nd to seventh and at Russia, 10th to second. Monaco he had early qualifying issues within Q3 but rebounded to a famous victory after Red Bull’s tire mistake on a pit stop for Daniel Ricciardo.

In those three races, Rosberg has won twice and come seventh, so he’s scored 56 points in those three races to Hamilton’s 49.

Hamilton enters Sunday’s race nine points back of Rosberg.

Three-time W Series champ Jamie Chadwick joining Andretti in Indy NXT Series for 2023


Jamie Chadwick, the three-time W Series champion, will drive for Andretti Autosport in the Indy NXT Series next season.

Chadwick will make her debut in an American racing series in March, driving the No. 28 for Andretti Autosport with sponsorship from DHL. The 24-year-old will become the first female driver in 13 years to compete full time in the Indy NXT championship.

Chadwick joined the female free-to-enter W Series in its inaugural 2019 season, winning two races and the first of three consecutive championships. She has been a reserve driver for the Williams Formula One team and will continue in that role in 2023. She also has driven in the Extreme E Series.

Despite her success, Chadwick hasn’t landed a bigger ride in F3 or F2, and her break didn’t come until Michael Andretti contacted her and offered a test in an Indy NXT car.

The final three races of this year’s W Series schedule were canceled when funding fell through, but Chadwick still believes the all-female series was the right path for her.

“W Series has always been and will continue to be an opportunity to be racing for every female driver, so for my side, I looked at it while perhaps I would have liked to step up maybe earlier, at the same time being able to have that chance to race, get that experience, have that development, seat time… I was constantly learning,” Chadwick told The Associated Press.

“In that sense, I wasn’t frustrated at all. But on the flip side of it, now I’ve had that experience testing in the United States in Indy NXT and this is something I’m really excited about.”

Chadwick also is expected to have an enhanced role as a development driver next season with Williams, which chose American driver Logan Sargeant to fill its open seat on next year’s F1 grid.

“Andretti Autosport is proud to be supporting Jamie alongside DHL,” said Michael Andretti. “Jamie’s successful career speaks for itself, but Indy NXT gives Jamie the opportunity to continue her development in a new type of racing.

“We’ve turned out five Indy NXT champions over the years and look forward to continuing our role in developing new talent.”

Indy NXT is the new name of the rebranded Indy Lights Series, the final step on the ladder system before IndyCar.

Andretti will field two drivers next season in IndyCar that were developed in Indy NXT: Kyle Kirkwood, the 2021 champion, will return to Andretti after one season in IndyCar driving for A.J. Foyt Racing, and Devlin DeFrancesco is back for a second season.

Chadwick will be teammates in Indy NXT with Hunter McElrea and Louis Foster. She becomes Andretti’s second full-time female driver alongside Catie Munnings, who competes for Andretti United in the Extreme E Series.