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Briatore: Hamilton should focus less on music, more on F1

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Ex-Renault Formula 1 chief and driver manager Flavio Briatore believes that defending world champion Lewis Hamilton needs to focus more on his racing commitments and less on his pursuits away from the track.

Hamilton is chasing a fourth F1 drivers’ championship in 2016, but has squandered a 19-point lead over Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg to trail by eight with six races remaining in the season.

Hamilton has a jet-set lifestyle away from the track, enjoying a celebrity status outside of F1 unmatched by any other driver on the grid.

However, Briatore believes that if Hamilton is to beat Rosberg to the drivers’ title in 2016, he needs to charge all of his efforts on his on-track performances.

“Rosberg seems lately to have his head in place,” Briatore told Italy’s La Gazzetta dello Sport.

“Hamilton is a bit ‘DJ’, a bit ‘rapper’. He has great talent, but if you want to win you have to concentrate on only one thing.

“If I were him, I would work a little less on music and more on F1.”

Hamilton has faced criticism about his lifestyle throughout his F1 career, but is always quick to defend his interests outside of the sport.

“Do I enjoy my life? Absolutely. You can call it as you want,” Hamilton told Auto Motor und Sport back in April.

“All people are different. It’s good when a character is unique. There are still far too many people who think that they have to adapt to be accepted.

“The more people who break out of this bubble and find themselves, the better.”

Helio Castroneves ‘hustling’ for IndyCar, IMSA rides; talking with four to five teams

Helio Castroneves IMSA IndyCar
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As his season gathers steam, Helio Castroneves said his prospects for finding new rides for 2021 in IMSA and IndyCar also are gaining momentum.

The three-time Indianapolis 500 winner said Monday he is optimistic about landing in either or perhaps a combination of both series when Team Penske and Acura end their DPi partnership after this season.

“A lot of people I spoke with, four to five teams, are interested,” Castroneves said. “Whether it’s doing Indy 500 only, whether it’s pushing to do full time or do the sports cars as well. It’s been a very nice conversation.

LOOKING AHEADTeam Penske drivers seeking new rides for 2021

“I have a lot of respect for all the teams that have been talking, and I feel the same feedback. We just have to wait for their (sponsor) connections, and I’m also looking for some connections on my side as well, so hopefully we’ll be able to put this together and get something very soon.”

Given two decades of success with Penske in IndyCar and IMSA, Castroneves’ resume hardly needs burnishing. But the Brazilian has combined with co-driver Ricky Taylor in the No. 7 Acura DPi to win the past two overall victories at Road America and Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.

But Castroneves, who doesn’t have a manager, said he has been working the phones hard rather than wait for the strong results to bring in the calls.

“At this point, I feel like I’m the one who needs to be talking to them because people need to know I want to continue racing and understand my desire,” Castroneves, 45, said. “There is opportunity, no question, in both (IndyCar and IMSA), which I’m really happy about it. However, because of the COVID-19, a lot of things sometimes have to be a little delayed. But I’m excited. Whatever the opportunity and whatever destiny guides me, whether IndyCar or sports cars, trust me I’ll be as happy as it could be and doing my 100 percent like I always did.

“It’s like politics, you need to be out there, good news or bad news. People have to make notice of your presence. I’m hustling. I want to continue to keep it going. Hopefully, we’ll have good news very soon.”

The news has been all good lately on track for Castroneves and Taylor, who hope to continue their run Sunday at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

The No. 6 duo has surged to sixth in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship standings, 10 points out of the lead with four races remaining. After thinking there was “no hope” to be competitive after opening the season with three consecutive poor finishes, Taylor now sees an opportunity for a happy ending.

“With the program going away, Helio has won all the big races and given so much back to the team and left such a mark, he’s really part of Penske history,” Taylor said. “For me, it’s been an opportunity of a lifetime to be a part of it. I’d like to leave my little mark as well. Helio has won everything except for a championship.

“Obviously, we’ve won races already together, but we can win a championship now. I think if both of us can do that together and both win our first championship for ‘The Captain,’ that would be an absolute dream come true, and we can tie a bow on it and be happy.”