Hamilton laser-focused on victory after historic Brazilian GP pole

Leave a comment

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.

Supercross points leader Eli Tomac finds silver linings in interruption

Leave a comment

Though his Monster Energy AMA Supercross championship charge was put on hold, the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic had a silver lining for Eli Tomac.

Off the road while the season was postponed for nearly three months, the points leader was able to be present as his girlfriend, Jessica, gave birth to their daughter, Lev, on April 26

“A huge blessing for us there,” Tomac told host Mike Tirico during a “Lunch Talk Live” interview (click on the video above) in which he also joked about becoming a pro at busting off diaper changes. “That was one good blessing for us as we had our daughter on a Sunday, that would have been on a travel day coming back from the race in Las Vegas.

NBCSN

“That was probably the only positive out of all this mess was being able to be there for the birth.”

But there also could be more good fortune for Tomac as the series resumes Sunday at Salt Lake City, Utah (3-4 p.m. ET on NBCSN, 4-6 p.m. on NBC).

The final seven events will be held over 22 days in Rice-Eccles Stadium, which sits at just over 4,000 feet.

The elevation could favor Tomac, who was born and lives in Colorado and is accustomed to riding and training at altitude, which is a departure for many Supercross riders (many of whom hail from California and Florida).

COVID-19 TESTING REQUIRED: Supercross outlines protocols for last seven races

“That’s going to be the test for us,” said the Kawasaki rider, who five of the first 10 races this season. “We’re at elevation in Salt Lake, so when you’re on a motorcycle, you have a little bit of a loss of power. That’s just what happens when you come up in elevation. And a lot of guys train at sea level, and we’re at 4,000 to 5,000 feet, so cardio-wise, we’ll be pushed to the limit.

“Most of our races are Saturday nights and back to back weeks, but this go around it’s Sunday and Wednesday, so recovery is going to be key.”

Supercross will race Sunday and Wednesday for the next three weeks, capping the season with the June 21 finale, which also will be shown on NBCSN from 3-4:30 p.m. ET and NBC from 4:30-6 p.m. ET.

Tomac, who holds a three-point lead over Ken Roczen (who also recently visited “Lunch Talk Live”), told Tirico he had been riding for 90 minutes Thursday morning on a track outside Salt Lake City.

“Most of us we can rely on our past riding pretty well,” Tomac said. “The question is if you can go the distance. That’s what a lot of guys have to train on is going the distance. We go 20 minutes plus a lap. That’s what you’ve got to keep sharp is your general muscles. Within two to three days, your brain starts warming up more if you take a few weeks off the motorcycle.”

Here is the schedule and TV information for the rest of the season:

  • Sunday, May 31 (3-4 p.m. ET, NBCSN; 4-6 p.m. ET, NBC);
  • Wednesday, June 3 ( 10:00 pm – 1:00 am ET, NBCSN);
  • Sunday, June 7 (5-8:00 p.m. ET, NBCSN);
  • Wednesday, June 10 (7–10 p.m. ET, NBCSN);
  • Sunday, June 14 (7-10 p.m. ET, NBCSN);
  • Wednesday, June 17 (7-10 p.m. ET, NBCSN);
  • Sunday, June 21 (3-4:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN; 4:30 – 6:00 p.m. ET, NBC).
Eli Tomac rides his No. 3 Kawasaki in the Feb. 29 race at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia (Charles Mitchell/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images).