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Hamilton happy to keep his word, after losing crucial points

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BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) Lewis Hamilton was happy he kept his word, despite losing crucial points at the Hungarian Grand Prix on Sunday.

Hamilton could have taken third place, and limited the points damage after championship leader Sebastian Vettel won the race.

Instead, he let his Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas past at the end and the Finnish driver took third, with Hamilton finishing fourth.

He was returning a favor after Bottas had earlier let Hamilton overtake him in order to chase down the Ferraris of Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen, who placed second.

But the end result was that Hamilton now trails Vettel by 14 points – rather than 11 – in the title race heading into the month-long summer break. When scrapping for every point, those are valuable.

“I want to win the championship the right way. I don’t know if that will come back to bite me or not,” Hamilton said in the Mercedes motorhome afterward. “I do think today was the right way to do things. Today shows I am a man of my word and that I am a team player.”

Bottas, who is third in the championship and an outsider for the title, was certainly appreciative.

“I don’t think every teammate would have done the swap back going for a podium,” said Bottas, who now trails Vettel by 33 points.

Over the past three seasons, Hamilton endured an often brittle relationship with former teammate Nico Rosberg, who retired from F1 after narrowly beating Hamilton to win last year’s title at the last race.

They feuded on several occasions, and were sometimes openly critical and suspicious of each other. There seems to be genuine harmony between Bottas and Hamilton, even though the British driver accepts it was hard to throw points away.

“It’s more a decision from the heart, probably. The brain is more cut-throat and every point counts,” he said. “I think if you do good things, good things come back to you.”

In the past three years, Mercedes crushed the competition and secured three straight drivers’ and constructors’ championships while Ferrari chased the shadows of the Silver Arrows.

Although Hamilton has won four of 11 races this season so far, and Bottas has won two, Mercedes is experiencing more problems than before. So far this season, there have been issues with tires, with the balance in the car, and now the malfunctioning team radio.

On Sunday, the communication link went down for a long spell, meaning that Hamilton could not inform his team how the car felt.

“I had a lot more pace than Valtteri, but at the time the radio wasn’t working and I couldn’t communicate with the team,” he said. “When you don’t have the radio it’s like driving with a blindfold on. You know your pace but they (the team) don’t know how fast you are pushing and how hard you are pushing.”

The F1 championship resumes at the Belgian GP in Spa on Aug. 27.

2016 Knoxville Nationals champ Jason Johnson succumbs to injuries from sprint car crash

Photo courtesy Jason Johnson Racing official Facebook page
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Former Knoxville Nationals champion sprint car driver Jason Johnson has died from injuries suffered in a crash Saturday night in a World of Outlaws race at Beaver Dam (Wisconsin) Raceway).

Known as the “Ragin’ Cajun” for his aggressive style of racing, Johnson, 41, passed away this morning, according to an announcement by WoO. He was one of the most respected and well-liked drivers on the circuit by both fellow competitors and fans.

According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Johnson, a Eunice, Louisiana resident, was racing for the lead in the main event on the one-third-mile clay track with eventual race winner Daryn Pitman, when Johnson crashed on Lap 18 shortly after a restart.

Johnson’s car left the track surface in Turn 3 and flew through at least one billboard adjacent to the racetrack, according to media and witness reports.

It took rescue workers several minutes to extricate Johnson, who was taken by ambulance to a local hospital before being airlifted to Aurora Summit Hospital in Summit, Wisconsin, according to the Journal Sentinel report.

How many will remember Johnson:

Johnson, who won the 2016 Knoxville Nationals – the sport’s biggest race – in Iowa in storybook fashion, had been a primarily part-time racer on various sprint car circuits from 1998 until he went full-time on the Outlaws series, capturing Rookie of the Year honors in 2015.

MORE: Knoxville win should be big boost to Jason Johnson’s season, career

Johnson had 12 wins on the Outlaws circuit, including two victories this season.

The Journal Sentinel also posted a statement from SLS Promotions, which promoted Saturday’s race:

“Everyone at SLS Promotions offers our deepest, most sincere thoughts, prayers and condolences to Bobbi Johnson (Jason’s wife), Jaxx Johnson (the couple’s son) and the entire Johnson family and JJR Racing team.

“Jason was a great competitor and true ambassador for the sport. It was an honor and a privilege to work with him during his time on the World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series trail. Jason will never be forgotten”

Other notables also commented on his death on social media:

According to the Journal Sentinel, Johnson is the second driver in four years to die at the small track northwest of Milwaukee. In September 2014, Scott Semmelann, 47, was killed there while practicing for an Interstate Racing Association event.

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