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Hamilton calls Canadian GP one of F1’s ‘exceptional’ races

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Lewis Hamilton has called the Canadian Grand Prix is one of Formula 1’s “exceptional” races ahead of his bid for a sixth victory in Montreal on Sunday.

Hamilton took his very first F1 win at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve back in 2007, and has since claimed a further four races, putting him second on the victory list in Canada behind Michael Schumacher (seven wins).

“Obviously having the amazing experience I had in 2007, I remember standing on the podium and looking down at my Dad and just seeing the biggest smile I’d ever seen in my life on his face, which was a very proud moment,” Hamilton reminisced.

“And then just since then, I think every year I’ve come I’ve just grown a lot I think with Canada and Montreal, and the following has grown along the time as well in 10 years. So the love I come and receive when I get here is spectacular, and you definitely feel the energy.

“Here’s a great race, the weather’s generally pretty good. The circuit’s incredible and unique to its own. The city’s one of the greatest cities. I’ve not been here when it’s not been a grand prix, but during the grand prix, there’s a huge buzz here.

“I love being here. I try and get here a bit earlier because the food’s great, the people are great, and I generally get left alone so it’s a good weekend.”

Canada is celebrating 50 years of F1 this weekend, and Hamilton believes it holds a place among the very best races on the sport’s calendar.

“Formula 1 is obviously made up of a lot of great countries, a lot of great races,” Hamilton said.

“But there are the exceptional races, and there are only a few of them, and this is race is in that few.”

Looking ahead to the coming weekend, Hamilton said that he felt Mercedes is on the back foot in the fight with the rival Ferrari team, having slipped to 25 points behind Sebastian Vettel in the drivers’ championship last time out in Monaco.

“I think Toto [Wolff, Mercedes F1 boss] mentioned that he thinks that Ferrari [is quickest], and we obviously have seen Ferrari are the quickest at the moment so they’re the favorites,” Hamilton said.

“But we’re working very hard to rectify the issues we had in the last race and hope that we can attack this weekend.

“They’ve got some unique bits on the car I think that will work well this weekend, but that doesn’t mean we can’t take the fight to them.”

Rinus VeeKay to drive for Ed Carpenter Racing in 2020

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Ed Carpenter Racing has signed 2019 Indy Lights runner-up Rinus VeeKay to drive the full 2020 NTT IndyCar Series season, the team announced Wednesday.

VeeKay will drive the No. 21 Chevrolet previously occupied by Spencer Pigot.

“I’m so happy!” the 19-year-old driver from the Netherlands said in a press release. “It’s a dream come true and something we have worked extremely hard for over the last couple of years. To step up from USF2000 to the NTT IndyCar Series in three years is really special.”

In his maiden Indy Lights season this year, VeeKay collected six race victories and seven pole potions. VeeKay previously won the 2018 Indy Pro 2000 championship, and finished second in the 2017 USF2000 standings.

VeeKay’s success in the ladder series caught the attention of Carpenter, who gave VeeKay the opportunity to first test for the team at Portland International Raceway in August.

“I have been following Rinus’s path through the Road to Indy, especially the past two years,” Carpenter said. “It was clear to me that he deserves to be in an Indy car. After his first day in a car at Portland this past season, that feeling became even more apparent. His pace, feedback and demeanor inside the car was very impressive for such a young driver.”

As a driver, Carpenter will be VeeKay’s teammate during the five oval races in 2020, once again returning to the team’s No. 20 entry. An announcement on which driver will pilot the No. 20 on the road and street circuits will be made at a later time.

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