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Wolff: Hamilton has been ‘on another level’ since summer break

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Heading into the United States Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton is always the race favorite given his success there throughout his career.

Unsurprisingly his Mercedes AMG Petronas boss, Toto Wolff, has nothing but high praise for Hamilton and after his incredible run of form since Formula 1’s summer break, is singing his praises even more than normal heading into the round at Circuit of The Americas this weekend.

Hamilton won three straight races out of the break in Belgium, Italy and Singapore, with second in Malaysia and another win two weeks ago at Japan now having swung the world championship completely in his favor as he enters Austin with a 59-point lead.

“We must also add our drivers to our list of strengths. Lewis has driven brilliantly this year – and since the summer break in particular, he has been on another level,” Wolff said in Mercedes’ pre-Austin advance.

“It has been impressive to watch him extracting everything from the car and working with the team to solve problems and improve even further.”

While not criticizing Valtteri Bottas, who’s had a rough run of form the last couple races sorting his driving style to the tight optimal operating window of this year’s Mercedes chassis, Wolff said he should be better as the season heads to its final fifth of the campaign.

“Valtteri has had a tougher time in recent races – but he demonstrated his work ethic and character to deliver a strong weekend in Suzuka, and he will be aiming to build on this performance in the final four rounds,” he said.

Wolff said the peaks and valleys in the car’s performance will serve it better as the team prepares for 2018, to look to have a more consistently dominant car over the course of the season.

“We returned from those races with a lot more understanding of our car and of the reasons for the performance swings we have experienced this season,” he said.

“Some of that understanding is already being applied to the final races, some of it will flow into next year’s project. But the bitter taste of our defeat in Malaysia once again confirmed that the tough days are the ones when you learn most – and when you lay the foundations for future success.”

Times for this weekend’s United States Grand Prix on the NBC Sports networks are linked here.

INDYCAR: Kanaan fastest in practice at Pocono

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Very fittingly, the fastest car in Saturday’s lone practice session for ABC Supply 500 was the No. 14 ABC Supply Chevrolet of Tony Kanaan.

The 44-year-old Brazilian showed plenty of speed in the afternoon’s two hour practice session at Pocono Raceway, turning a 216.354 mph lap around the 2.5-mile superspeedway.

The session was the only on-track activity of the day for the NTT IndyCar Series, as heavy cloud cover and rain postponed the first practice session of the day and cancelled qualifying completely.

As the rain began to clear and track drying got underway, INDYCAR officials made the decision to combine the postponed one-hour morning session with the one-hour afternoon session, creating a single two-hour session for drivers to reacquaint themselves with the track known as “The Tricky Triangle”.

Scott Dixon finished the session second fastest with a 215.761 mph lap, while Santino Ferrcucci ended the session third-fastest with an 215.377 mph lap.

Alexander Rossi (215.373 mph) was fourth fastest in the session, followed by Indy 500 winner Simon Pagenaud (215.368 mph), who ended the session fifth-fastest despite missing nearly 45-minutes of track time early on due to a clutch issue.

Colton Herta was sixth-fastest at the completion of the session with a 215.338 mph lap, while Sebastian Bourdais (215.267 mph), Charlie Kimball (214.818 mph), Ryan Hunter-Reay (214.623 mph), and Graham Rahal (214.617 mph) rounded out the top ten.

Current series points leader Josef Newgarden ended the session 17th-fastest with a 214.174 mph lap.

Live coverage of the ABC Supply 500 begins Sunday at 2:00 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

Click here for full practice results 

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