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Dixon scores a surprise second place at Gateway

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Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon did not hide his expectations for this weekend’s Bommarito Automotive Group 500 presented by Valvoline.

“I’ll be honest. We didn’t expect to finish on the podium,” Dixon said post-race.

The reality of Honda’s short-oval aero package is that it generates considerably more drag than that of Chevrolet’s, immediately putting Dixon and the other Honda runners on the back foot entering the weekend.

However, Dixon managed to mask that disadvantage the best of all the Honda drivers and ran inside the top five for nearly the entire race. And, he took advantage of Josef Newgarden’s aggressive pass on Simon Pagenaud to get around Pagenaud for second late in the race, which is where he stayed until the checkered flag.

Dixon described afterward that progress during Friday night practice gave him hope that they’d be able to at least hang with the Penske cars.

“I think we saw in the warmup that the gap had closed significantly with the trim level that we were able to achieve,” he said. “I think mechanically our car was very good. We took a pretty big step in downforce off the car.”

However, Dixon also added that drafting off the Penske cars allowed him to stay with them, and he would’ve been unable to keep them at bay had he ever been out front.

“Unfortunately with the aero kit that we have, in this configuration, it just has a ton of drag. I think for me personally, you know, running with them was the best opportunity for speed for us. It enabled us to stay with them. I think our car was quite good through one and two. Had we been out front, I think we would have been a sitting duck.”

Dixon finished, “It worked out well with how the race played out. As I said earlier, it’s kind of the best circumstances we could have helped for.”

Dixon’s second-place finish moves him up to second in the championship, 31 points behind points leader Newgarden.

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F1: Lewis Hamilton roars back from starting 14th to win German GP, regain points lead

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Heading into Sunday’s German Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton wasn’t given much of a chance after qualifying so poorly (14th) one day earlier.

But in one of the most significant rallies of the 2018 Formula One season, Hamilton roared back to not only win at Hockenheim, but also regain the lead in the F1 drivers championship standings at the halfway point of the season.

Ditto for Mercedes in the Constructors Championship.

“It was so tough out there,” Hamilton told Sky Sports/ESPN. “Conditions were perfect for business time. When it rained, I knew I’d have a good position, but you never know what’s going to happen behind the safety car.”

Despite rainy conditions for part of the race, not to mention wet overall conditions that caused a number of drivers to spin, Hamilton won the 66th race of his F1 career (44th with Mercedes AMG Petronas) in a time of 1:32.29.845 and took home 25 points for his fourth win of 2018.

It’s the furthest back a driver has come from back in the pack to win since Fernando Alonso started 15th and won the Singapore Grand Prix in 2008.

The win comes just a couple days after Hamilton re-signed with Mercedes AMG through the 2020 season, leading him to pay an immediate return on investment, so to speak.

“It’s obviously very, very difficult (to win) from that position and highly unlikely, but you’ve always got to believe,” Hamilton said. “I said a long, long prayer before the race started.

“When we did the parade lap, I could see how much support we had and I just wanted to stay collected and stay calm. The team did such a great job today, the car was fantastic, I’m so grateful.

“I would never have thought you could do something like that today, but I kept pushing and kept believing and it happened, so I really manifested my dreams today. Thanks to God.”

It was also the 125th F1 podium finish of Hamilton’s career.

To make the win even sweeter, Hamilton’s teammate, Valtteri Bottas, finished second, the first time in German GP history that homeland team Mercedes has finished 1-2.

It’s Bottas’ fifth podium of the season, all being runner-up finishes.

Kimi Raikkonen finished third, 6.5 seconds behind Hamilton, followed my Max Verstappen and Nico Hulkenberg. For Raikkonen, it was his 28th podium since his last win.

Sixth through 10th were Romain Grosjean, Sergio Perez, Esteban Ocon, Marcus Ericsson and Brendon Hartley.

Kevin Magnussen finished 11th, followed by Carlos Sainz, Stoffel Vandoorne, Pierre Gasly, Charles Leclerc and Fernando Alonso was the last running car, finishing 16th.

Failing to finish (17th through 20th) were Lance Stroll, pole sitter Sebastian Vettel (who made a mistake and crashed), Sergey Sirotkin and Daniel Ricciardo.

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