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Hakkinen: Silverstone victory the trigger for Hamilton’s F1 title win

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Formula 1 legend Mika Hakkinen feels that Lewis Hamilton’s dominant home victory at July’s British Grand Prix was the “trigger” for his charge to a fourth world championship in 2017.

Hamilton spent much of the year trailing Ferrari rival Sebastian Vettel in the drivers’ championship, but enjoyed a significant momentum swing over the Silverstone race weekend.

While Hamilton dominated the race, taking victory from pole position, Vettel endured a tough day that ended with a late tire failure, leaving him P7 at the checkered flag.

Vettel would take just two more wins following Silverstone, while the victory was the first of six in an eight-race spell for Hamilton that proved crucial in his charge to the championship.

Writing in his Unibet blog, two-time world champion Hakkinen said the importance of the Silverstone victory could not be understated, as well as praising Mercedes’ efforts to capture a fourth straight set of championships.

“Some people think the turning point in Lewis’ season came after the summer break, when he won three grands prix in a row at Spa, Monza and Singapore, but for me his dominant win at home in Silverstone was the trigger,” Hakkinen wrote.

“Behind him the Mercedes team had been working very hard to understand this year’s car, and the best way to get the most from the new regulations.

“When I visited pre-season testing in Barcelona I could see the new cars were very quick – physically larger with bigger tires and a lot more downforce. Definitely more demanding to drive.

“Mercedes worked hard to get the most of their ‘diva’, and this is where the teamwork became so important.

“There are a massive number of people involved in a competitive Formula 1 team and you need everyone at the factory to keep on pushing to the maximum level, making the changes that will solve problems, make the car go faster.”

Tempers flare as Graham Rahal, Sebastien Bourdais collide at Indy

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INDIANAPOLIS — A multicar crash with just over 20 laps remaining in the Indianapolis 500 had tempers flaring Sunday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Graham Rahal angrily confronted Sebastien Bourdais after the two collided while racing for position entering the third turn. As they spun beside each other, Rahal threw his hands up in the air and continued to gesture wildly at Bourdais as their cars came to a stop.

Rahal scrambled out of his car and went directly to Bourdais’ cockpit to scream at the driver before the safety crew arrived. Rahal then yanked off his gloves and threw them in his car after punching the air a few times.

The crash began after Bourdais’ left rear tire hit Rahal’s right front as they entered the corner and Bourdais seemed to come down on Rahal’s line.

“I’m just very disappointed,” Rahal told NBC Sports after being released from the care center. “It’s just another year to sit and think about it. I respect Sebastien as a driver, but I don’t respect that move.

“At those speeds, that’s how you kill somebody. I’m just not a fan of squeezing and putting people in those positions.”

Bourdais climbed out of his car shortly afterward and seemed unhurt. He was cited for avoidable contact by the IndyCar stewards and seemed somewhat remorseful about the move in an interview with NBC Sports.

“I didn’t think he had as much of the car as he did,” Bourdais said. “It’s always a dynamic thing. He got a run, it stalled there for a while, we made contact, and it sets up the whole thing. At that point. I’m just trying to collect the whole thing. It’s always easy to say I should have given up going into the corner.”

Rahal and Bourdais were former teammates at Newman-Haas Raccing.

“He’s been struggling all day,” Rahal said. “I was lifting a little bit to manage my gap. You can see him squeezing me and turns into me, and there nothing you can do. With 20 to go, you have to go. I think Sebastien knows that, which is probably why he hasn’t said much to me.”

The race was red-flagged at 3:17 p.m. on Lap 180 of 200 to clean up the debris from the multicar pileup.