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Hamilton: Belgian GP Safety Car call ‘a bit like NASCAR’

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Lewis Hamilton criticized the decision to deploy the Safety Car during Sunday’s Formula 1 race in Belgium, believing it was done in the interests of creating a closer battle at the front of the field.

The Safety Car was called for on Lap 30 at the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps after contact between Force India teammates Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon left debris strewn across the circuit.

The bunching of the field saw Hamilton’s lead over title rival Sebastian Vettel evaporate, with the Briton calling the decision “BS” over team radio at the time.

“I felt it was a bit like NASCAR, where they keep pulling out the safety cars for no reason,” Hamilton said after the race, referring to the ‘caution clock’ concept that looks to aid the on-track action.

“The wing was cleared. After we’d slowed down they could have done a Virtual Safety Car but I guess they wanted to see a race.

“That’s for sure the reason they did they, because there was hardly any debris, if at all, they cleaned it so well.”

Despite coming under pressure from Vettel immediately after the race returned to green, Hamilton was able to kick on and secure his fifth victory of the season, cutting the Ferrari driver’s championship lead down to just seven points.

“It’s an amazing feeling to come back into the season and start off on the right foot, being that the Ferraris obviously finished on the right foot going into the break,” Hamilton said.

“They’ve really put in a fantastic fight today. The speed and pace they had was very strong. There was not a single point at which I would say that I could be comfortable.”

Hamilton and Vettel will write the latest chapter of their rivalry this weekend at the Italian Grand Prix.

Steve Torrence takes NHRA points lead with Gatornationals victory

NHRA Gainesville Steve Torrence
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Two-time defending NHRA Top Fuel champion Steve Torrence took the points lead Sunday in the AMALIE Motor Oil Gatornationals, beating his father, Billy, in the final round at Gainesville Raceway.

Torrence had a 3.809-second run at 322.11 mph to win for the third time this year and 39th overall. He is now on track for another championship despite missing the season opener.

“We’ve got some good momentum and to be in the points lead, it’s a testament to how hard these guys work,” Steve Torrence said after the NHRA Gainesville victory. “We’ve just got to stay focused and concentrate on what the task at hand is, and that’s trying to win a championship. These guys give me an unbelievable race car and you just try not to screw it up.”

Ron Capps won in Funny Car, Alex Laughlin in Pro Stock and Matt Smith in Pro Stock Motorcycle.

Capps raced to his second win this year and 66th overall, beating Tim Wilkerson with a 3.937 at 323.12 in a Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat.

Laughlin topped Aaron Stanfield with a 7.068 at 204.76 in a Chevrolet Camaro for his first win this season and fourth in his career. Smith rode to his first victory in 2020 and 25th overall, topping Andrew Hines with a 6.843 at 196.99 on an EBR.