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Hamilton happy to help Bottas in bid for Mercedes F1 championship 1-2

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Lewis Hamilton is happy to help Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas in his bid to finish second in the Formula 1 drivers’ championship through the final two races of the season as Mercedes looks to finish the 2017 season on a high.

Hamilton wrapped up his fourth F1 world title in Mexico two weeks ago, with Mercedes securing the constructors’ crown seven days earlier at the United States Grand Prix.

With both titles wrapped up, Mercedes has already turned its attention to plans for 2018, but Bottas is still in contention to complete a one-two in the drivers’ championship for the German manufacturer.

Currently third overall, Bottas trails Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel by 15 points with two races remaining, having made up ground by a run to P2 in Mexico last time out.

While Hamilton is keen to finish his championship-winning season on a high by adding to his haul of nine wins so far this year, the Briton confirmed he would be happy to help Bottas’ bid to overhaul Vettel and finish second in the drivers’ standings.

“I am sure [I would help]. But I don’t think they are going to ask,” Hamilton said, as quoted by the official F1 website.

“Valtteri wants to get it on merit. He has been working hard throughout the year and is focused more than ever, so I know he wants to do it on his own.

“But if the team asks me, then for sure. As I said before, my mentality for the last two races is to win – and I have not been told otherwise.”

Hamilton eased off for the final three races after wrapping up his third F1 title in 2015, allowing then-teammate Nico Rosberg to build momentum before a successful championship bid the following season.

This time around, Hamilton has stressed he is as hungry as ever to win the final two races even with his crown confirmed as he looks to get a head-start for 2018.

“Nothing has changed, there are still two races to go! Maybe it has not sunk in completely: I am still in the same mental frame of mind that there are still races to be ticked off,” Hamilton said.

“It wouldn’t feel normal to back off at this moment. It is the best time ever to apply even more pressure – just because I can. There are still two wins available.”

Lewis Hamilton receives Daytona 500 invitation from Bubba Wallace

Lewis Hamilton Bubba Wallace
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Lewis Hamilton is a fan of the new NASCAR Cup Series team formed by Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan to field a car for Bubba Wallace.

Will the six-time Formula One champion also be a fan in person at a NASCAR race in the near future?

Wallace is hoping so.

After Hamilton tweeted his support Tuesday morning about the news of a Hamlin-Jordan-Wallace team making its debut with the 2021 season, Wallace responded with a sly invitation to the Daytona 500.

Much would need to be worked out, starting with how much garage and grandstand access would be afforded for a 2021 season opener that likely would occur during a still ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

But it would seem fitting given that Hamilton and Wallace have been two of the world’s most outspoken Black athletes about the quest for diversity and racial justice. Hamilton recently reaffirmed his commitment to activism after his donning a Breonna Taylor shirt sparked an FIA inquiry. Time just published a brief piece by Wallace saluting Hamilton as a trailblazer.

The idea of Hamilton attending the NASCAR season opener already had legs, too. The Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 driver has expressed a desire to race the Daytona 500 after he has retired from Formula One.

He was a spectator (with racing legend Mario Andretti) at four-time champion Jeff Gordon’s final Cup race as a full-time in the 2015 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. In 2011, Hamilton swapped cars with three-time champion Tony Stewart at Watkins Glen International.

Having rubbed shoulders with other racing greats so often, it would seem right for Hamilton — who is one victory from tying Michael Schumacher’s career record and also could tie the F1 record with a seventh championship this season — to spend some time with the greatest basketball player of all time.

Jeff Gordon was flanked by Mario Andretti and Lewis Hamilton before the 2015 Cup season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway (Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images).