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.

March 29 in Motorsports History: Scott Dixon wins first race after reunification

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Reunited and it felt so good.

That’s what drivers likely thought before the 2008 IndyCar opener at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

For the first time since 1995, major-league open-wheel racing in the United States was under the banner of a sole sanctioning body as Champ Car and the Indy Racing Leauge had reunified just a month prior.

Scott Dixon celebrates after winning the 2008 IndyCar opener at Homestead. Photo: Jim Hines/IndyCar.

The first race after reunification also saw a reversal of fortunes for Scott Dixon, who won the race after losing the 2007 IRL championship in crushing fashion.

In the 2007 season finale at Chicagoland Speedway, Dixon ran out of fuel while leading on the final lap of the race. The race victory – and championship – went to Dixon’s future teammate, Dario Franchitti.

But the tides turned for Dixon nearly seven months later, and the Kiwi was able to win with the help of another driver’s misfortune.

Tony Kanaan was leading with seven laps remaining when E.J. Viso spun and made contact with Kanaan’s car. Kanaan remained on track through the caution period despite suffering obvious damage to his right front suspension.

On the final restart with three laps remaining, Dixon and others cars easily passed Kanaan’s wounded car on the outside. Dixon then maintained his lead through the checkered flag to win at Homestead for the second time in his career.

“I think Marco (Andretti) and T.K. probably had a little bit better cars today, but we came through with the win, and that’s what counts,” Dixon told ESPN after his 12th career victory.

Following his victory at Homestead, Dixon continued to redeem himself through the course of the 2008 season. In May, he won the Indianapolis 500 for the first (and so far only) time. Following Indy, he went on to win four more times in 2008 and won his second series championship.

Also on this date:

1998: Mika Hakkinen won the Grand Prix of Brazil, the first of eight victories in his first championship season.

2010: Will Power won the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, which was held on a Monday morning because of rain postponing the race on Sunday.

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