Hamilton laser-focused on victory after historic Brazilian GP pole

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Lewis Hamilton’s assault on the Formula 1 record books continues this weekend through qualifying for Sunday’s Brazilian Grand Prix, but his immediate focus now shifts to retaining his World Championship crown for a third consecutive season and fourth time overall.

The Mercedes AMG Petronas driver won his 60th career pole position on Saturday, which means he’s only the third driver in F1 history to achieve that plateau. Michael Schumacher has the all-time record with 68 and the late Ayrton Senna has 65.

Meanwhile a win for Hamilton on Sunday would be his 52nd of his career, breaking a tie with Alain Prost at 51, which he equalled with his win two weeks ago in Mexico.

The records are nice but a win is also the only thing that will keep his title hopes alive for 2016. He enters Sunday’s race down 19 points to teammate Nico Rosberg, and if Rosberg wins the race, it’s game over for the title. Rosberg has won in Brazil the last two years.

So Hamilton has to secure his first Brazilian Grand Prix win, and add this circuit to the list of those he’s won on (he’s only not won at Interlagos and Baku among the 21 circuits on the 2016 calendar), to keep his title alive.

Compared to his seemingly laid-back attitude in the American rounds in Austin and Mexico City, Hamilton was very much steely-eyed and laser-focused on the task at hand during the post-qualifying press conference.

“I don’t remember every single qualifying session we’ve had. I felt quite comfortable in qualifying as I have all through the weekend. Nico has been getting quicker, but I’ve had him covered through the weekend,” Hamilton said.

“It’s remarkable when you think about what we’ve done with this team to have as many poles,” he added, noting Mercedes has now achieved its 19th pole in 20 races, a new F1 record for any team.

“It’s a true sign of teamwork. It’s the best possible outcome… only my second pole here, it’s a track I’ve really struggled with, so happy to be at the front.”

Hamilton also said he was “ready for whatever” weather conditions may come. Although he’s not won a race here, he did famously secure his first of his three World Championships here in the rain in 2008.

Simon Pagenaud’s engineer relives 2019 Indy 500 victory on Twitter

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The Team Penske engineer for last year’s Indianapolis 500 winner is reliving Simon Pagenaud’s day by tweeting about what he was doing each moment a year later.

Starting with an observation that he awoke in his Indianapolis hotel room at 4:30 a.m., Ben Bretzman (@benbretzman) sent nearly two dozen tweets by 11 a.m. ET about how the morning before the 103rd running of the Indianapolis 500 unfolded.

Bretzman was through the infield tunnel and in Gasoline Alley by 6 a.m. By 7:30 a.m., he was wondering if his driver was awake yet, but he had heard for the first time from Pagenaud 45 minutes later.

‘BACK HOME AGAIN’Sunday at 2 p.m. ET, NBC

FIERCE FRIENDSHIPPagenaud, Rossi recall epic battle of 2019 Indy 500

Among other highlights: The team’s last strategy meeting was at 8:30 a.m.; final check of the weather was at 9:30 a.m. and Bretzman gave the No. 22 Dallara-Chevrolet a once-over at 10:35 a.m. before it was pushed to the grid.

Follow @BenBretzman to watch the day unfold from the pit box and tune into “Back Home Again at 2 p.m. ET on NBC as Pageanud and Alexander Rossi, who are good friends off the track, recap their epic duel with host Mike Tirico.

Simon Pagenaud and engineer Ben Bretzman debrief at Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IndyCar photo by Joe Skibinski).