After back-to-back F1 wins, Hamilton set for closer fight in Singapore

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Lewis Hamilton may head into this weekend’s Singapore Grand Prix coming off the back of two straight victories, but the Mercedes driver is braced for a closer fight with rival teams Ferrari and Red Bull at Marina Bay.

Hamilton became the first back-to-back race winner in 2017 by sweeping the final two European races of the season at Spa and Monza, moving into the lead of the drivers’ standings for the first time this year in the process.

Hamilton leads Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel by three points at the top of the championship, but with the tight and twisting nature of the street course in Singapore expected to suit the Italian marque well, another swing in momentum could occur.

Another threat to Hamilton comes courtesy of Red Bull, whose RB13 car is also better-fitted to tighter layouts than the high-speed tracks of Spa and Monza, leaving the three-time world champion on his toes.

“I think Red Bull will be fast this weekend. It’s not going to be the easiest of weekends, potentially,” Hamilton conceded on Thursday.

“But man, I’m coming with positivity and with the plan of winning this race. This is still regardless of if that is the case, the others potentially have a little bit more downforce, whatever it is.

“We have worked as hard as we can to understand the car and we come here with full attack.”

Mercedes delivered its most crushing performance of the season so far two weeks ago at Monza, sweeping to a one-two finish with half a minute’s advantage over Ferrari.

After hitting the sweet spot with the Mercedes W08 car in Italy, Hamilton is hopeful it can help the team in Singapore despite being a different type of circuit.

“Our understanding of the car will potentially help this weekend, but you never really know where you are going to be able to place the car,” Hamilton said.

“If we can get the car in a place where we are comfortable and a bit like where we were in the last two races, then we will definitely be strong in the fight.”

Three-time W Series champ Jamie Chadwick joining Andretti in Indy NXT Series for 2023

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Jamie Chadwick, the three-time W Series champion, will drive for Andretti Autosport in the Indy NXT Series next season.

Chadwick will make her debut in an American racing series in March, driving the No. 28 for Andretti Autosport with sponsorship from DHL. The 24-year-old will become the first female driver in 13 years to compete full time in the Indy NXT championship.

Chadwick joined the female free-to-enter W Series in its inaugural 2019 season, winning two races and the first of three consecutive championships. She has been a reserve driver for the Williams Formula One team and will continue in that role in 2023. She also has driven in the Extreme E Series.

Despite her success, Chadwick hasn’t landed a bigger ride in F3 or F2, and her break didn’t come until Michael Andretti contacted her and offered a test in an Indy NXT car.

The final three races of this year’s W Series schedule were canceled when funding fell through, but Chadwick still believes the all-female series was the right path for her.

“W Series has always been and will continue to be an opportunity to be racing for every female driver, so for my side, I looked at it while perhaps I would have liked to step up maybe earlier, at the same time being able to have that chance to race, get that experience, have that development, seat time… I was constantly learning,” Chadwick told The Associated Press.

“In that sense, I wasn’t frustrated at all. But on the flip side of it, now I’ve had that experience testing in the United States in Indy NXT and this is something I’m really excited about.”

Chadwick also is expected to have an enhanced role as a development driver next season with Williams, which chose American driver Logan Sargeant to fill its open seat on next year’s F1 grid.

“Andretti Autosport is proud to be supporting Jamie alongside DHL,” said Michael Andretti. “Jamie’s successful career speaks for itself, but Indy NXT gives Jamie the opportunity to continue her development in a new type of racing.

“We’ve turned out five Indy NXT champions over the years and look forward to continuing our role in developing new talent.”

Indy NXT is the new name of the rebranded Indy Lights Series, the final step on the ladder system before IndyCar.

Andretti will field two drivers next season in IndyCar that were developed in Indy NXT: Kyle Kirkwood, the 2021 champion, will return to Andretti after one season in IndyCar driving for A.J. Foyt Racing, and Devlin DeFrancesco is back for a second season.

Chadwick will be teammates in Indy NXT with Hunter McElrea and Louis Foster. She becomes Andretti’s second full-time female driver alongside Catie Munnings, who competes for Andretti United in the Extreme E Series.