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How can Nico Rosberg become F1 world champion in Brazil?

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Interlagos could witness the crowning of Formula 1’s 33rd world champion on Sunday as Nico Rosberg bids to claim his maiden title at the Brazilian Grand Prix (NBCSN, NBC Sports app 10am ET).

Rosberg heads into Sunday’s race with a 19-point lead over Mercedes teammate and title rival Lewis Hamilton in the championship standings, meaning that victory will secure him a first crown with one round to spare.

Hamilton starts from pole at Interlagos with Rosberg second on the grid, setting the state for a tense fight between the two chief protagonists of F1’s V6 turbo era.

So just how can Rosberg win the title today? Here are – fitting with the political nature of the past week – his ‘paths to victory’.

How Nico Rosberg can win the championship in Brazil

IF ROSBERG WINSthe world championship is assured, regardless of where Hamilton finishes.

IF ROSBERG FINISHES SECOND – Hamilton must finish fourth or lower.

IF ROSBERG FINISHES THIRD – Hamilton must finish sixth or lower.

IF ROSBERG FINISHES FOURTH – Hamilton must finish eighth or lower.

IF ROSBERG FINISHES FIFTH – Hamilton must finish ninth or lower.

IF ROSBERG FINISHES SIXTH – Hamilton must finish 10th or lower.

Should Rosberg fail to finish any higher than seventh, the championship is guaranteed to go to the final race of the year in Abu Dhabi at the end of November.

Rosberg’s track record at Interlagos should give him hope of sewing up the title today: he has won the past two Brazilian Grands Prix.

Hamilton, on the other hand, has never won in Brazil – a stat he will need to rectify if he wants to realistically keep his title hopes alive.

The Brazilian Grand Prix is live on NBCSN and the NBC Sports app from 10am ET on Sunday.

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.”