Hamilton: No plans to ‘do the easy thing’ like Rosberg and retire

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Lewis Hamilton hasn’t had his old Mercedes AMG Petronas teammate and longtime rival since childhood, Nico Rosberg, to race this season for the first time since both entered Formula 1 more than a decade ago.

But Hamilton couldn’t resist poking the 2016 Formula 1 World Champion a bit when reflecting on his fourth title achieved on Sunday in Mexico.

“Obviously each year, I could do the easy thing like obviously Nico did which is just stop and retreat with these four titles,” Hamilton said during the post-race press conference.

“But I think there’s more in me, I think there’s more to come, more of a challenge, as there’s harder times ahead and I like that, I love that, that’s challenging.”

Rosberg’s shock retirement after winning the 2016 crown in Abu Dhabi last November turned the Formula 1 world on its head. Rosberg was a clear one-and-done in winning a title, emulating his father Keke and fulfilling his own childhood dream.

But Hamilton, who’s already made an assault on the record books over the course of his 11-year career with a record 72 pole positions and 62 race wins (second to Michael Schumacher’s 91), said he still has quite a bit more he wants to accomplish.

“I think, first and foremost, we all know how exceptional Michael (Schumacher) was and his records have lasted for so long and he will always… there’s one particular record which is going to be very hard for anyone to catch,” Hamilton said.

“Each year I don’t set a goal to make records. I have a goal of somehow… improving certain areas where you feel you could be better. I love racing, I love the… I’m different. I love my different qualities, compared to the others. That doesn’t mean they’re better or worse, I’m grateful for the qualities and the abilities I have in the car. It is very very crazy to think that I’ve matched certain records from people; weekend in, weekend out, someone tells me of a new record that I’ve crept up on, but there potentially many many more years to go.”

Hamilton’s life outside racing is just as notable for all the things he’s done and headlines he’s made, taking F1 to an arena far beyond the racetrack. His social media presence crafted over the last few years has generated as much attention as his on-track prowess. Those elements are as much a part of his legacy as what he’s done on track.

Still, although he’s won four titles, Hamilton still desires to go out on top – as Rosberg did last year – but with even more titles at his disposal. Schumacher holds the title record with seven World Championships, but Hamilton can equal second-placed Juan Manuel Fangio with five if he was to win the title again in 2018.

“Doing something different that helps you stand out, that really highlights your individuality I think is really important and that’s really something I’m working on, so I’ll continue to race while I love it.

“As I’ve said, I’ve enjoyed it this year more than ever. I do think about Jeez, it would be so nice at some stage just to live in one place, a lot more socializing, walking your dogs every day or surfing, whatever it is, but staying in one place for a period of time.

“But then I’m thinking there’s a lot of life to live beyond 40, there’s a lot to go and so the balance is: I can’t come back to Formula One, so there’s going to be a point in which OK, I’ve had enough.

“I’ve already been blessed and had such a wonderful time here in these ten years. Hopefully I have my place here and I’m going to continue to – whilst I’m at my best – continue to try and… and I want to go out on top so that’s my goal.”

NHRA: Dodge/Mopar to unveil new Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car today in Denver

Photos/video courtesy Dodge/Mopar
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If you’re a fan of NHRA Funny Car racing and Dodge/Mopar, you may notice something different at this weekend’s Dodge Mile-High NHRA Nationals at Bandimere Speedway in suburban Denver, Colorado.

Two-time (2011 and 2014) NHRA Funny Car champ Matt Hagan – who has won the last two NHRA national events in the last four weeks – will be piloting a newly-designed 2019 Mopar Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat, a 10,000-horsepower Funny Car that makes its debut today at Dodge/Mopar’s premier NHRA national event.

The new Charger SRT Hellcat succeeds the former Mopar Dodge Charger R/T, which had been in use since 2015.

“We improved on the body design,” Hagan said of the new Charger Hellcat. “It was already a great design, a great body. But now, we’re going to have a little more downforce, a little more traction on these racetracks and it will be a huge performance advantage.”

The new Hellcat includes a number of innovations, including a new front splitter to increase downforce. Just like its predecessor, the R/T, the Hellcat will go head-to-head with Chevrolet’s Camaro in the NHRA Funny Car ranks.

“We will be able to press harder with more downforce on the nose, which translates into huge amounts of downforce on the run,” Hagan said.

According to a media release, the new Hellcat features major design changes in three key areas: the front end, bodysides and burst panel placement:

* “At the front, the shape of the nose has been tweaked and a new splitter (photo), built of carbon fiber and Kevlar like the rest of the Funny Car body, has been added. The splitter substantially mimics the look and shape of the production vehicle’s splitter while generating greater downforce to help plant the Funny Car to the track.

* “Bodyside scallops have been redesigned to more closely identify with the production Hellcat while also enhancing on-track function and performance. The deeper character lines provide greater visual ties to the street version of the Hellcat, while also helping to mitigate the “body burn” common on all Funny Cars due to the close positioning of the exhaust headers.

* “The location of the burst panel on the hood has also been reworked. The panel is now centered over the top of the engine to more efficiently release energy and pressure in the event of engine issues, a common occurrence in race cars that are pushed to the razor’s edge of performance.”

Since the R/T was first introduced into the Don Schumacher Racing corps, it has gone on to 50 wins, 42 runner-up finishes and 40 No. 1 qualifiers in NHRA national events and one NHRA Funny Car World Championship (Ron Capps, 2016).

The new Charger SRT Hellcat, which can exceed 330-plus mph and covers 1,000 feet in under four seconds, is the drag strip version of the supercharged, 707-horsepower production Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat, the quickest, fastest and most powerful sedan in the world.

While Hagan will drive the first Hellcat, his other three Dodge-powered DSR teammates – Capps, Jack Beckman and Tommy Johnson Jr. – will soon take delivery of their own versions of the car over the remaining 11 races of the 2018 season.

One day after winning two weeks ago at Norwalk, Ohio, Hagan and crew chief Dickie Venables put the new Hellcat through its paces with several test runs. The results were so strong that it was decided to debut the car at Denver and run all qualifying and elimination rounds with it.

“We made four good, solid runs in testing at Norwalk,” said Hagan. “We put the body through a lot of different things and were really, really pleased with it.

“I really think it’s going to translate over to performance on the race track, and hopefully more win lights in the future.”

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