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F1: Hamilton hopes Spanish GP a turning point for Mercedes

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Lewis is hopeful that a Mercedes AMG Petronas 1-2 in the Spanish Grand Prix will be a sign of things to come for the team that has won every constructor’s and driver’s championship since 2014.

Scuderia Ferrari appeared to have an early-season edge, with Sebastian Vettel scoring a pair of victories and three-consecutive poles entering Spain.

While Hamilton took a fortuitous win at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, he knew that Ferrari still had somewhat of an upperhand.

And his victory also came at the expense of teammate Valtteri Bottas, who suffered a cut tire while leading in the final laps. Consequently, Hamilton was a bit muted in celebration.

The Spanish Grand Prix was a completely different story, however, as both Hamilton and Bottas started on the front row, and Hamilton dominated on the way to victory. Bottas, to his credit, finished second to give the team a 1-2.

“This is when we are going to start trying to continue to apply the pressure,” Hamilton said in the post-race press conference. “A 1-2 for the team. We have the Mercedes board here with us who have been supporting us from day one, so it’s great to have them all here and see that true force within the team – strength in depth. So I hope we can continue.”

Still, while he and the team are getting better with every race, and are developing a more thorough understanding of the W09, Hamilton is aware of how quickly things can change, and he isn’t putting the cart before the horse.

“I think it’s obviously a little bit early to say but I would like to hope that it could be part of a turning point,” he explained. “There is… race by race we’re understanding the tires more, which is a bit battle for everyone. We could just as easily go to the next race and struggle getting our tires working and be nowhere. So, it’s a little bit early to say. We do after the five races now have a much, much better understanding of the car, of what we need to do to get the car to be working – but we still have learning to do, improvements to be made. We still need to add performance to the car throughout the year, so that’s what we’re going to be continuing to be working on.”

Hamilton now leads Vettel by 17 points in the driver’s championship, while Mercedes leads Ferrari by 27 in the constructor’s.


Porsche pulls GTLM cars from Mid-Ohio because of COVID-19 positives

Porsche Mid-Ohio COVID-19
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Porsche will skip Saturday’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race with its two GTLM cars at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course after three positive COVID-19 tests were confirmed during the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

That resulted in Porsche choosing to pull out of the Nurburgring 24 Hour endurance race in Germany, electing to avoid sending any team members as a precautionary measure.

Porsche Motorsport announced Tuesday that its COVID-19 decision also would apply at Mid-Ohio to its No. 911 and No. 12 teams.

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Three of Porsche’s four IMSA GTLM drivers — Laurens Vanthoor, Frederic Makowiecki and Nick Tandy — also were racing in Le Mans. The trio has remained isolated in Europe and won’t be allowed to travel.

“Based on yesterday’s decision that no employee or racing driver of our Le Mans team will participate in the Nürburgring 24 Hours, we have today decided that this ruling will also apply to the upcoming IWSC race in Mid-Ohio,” Fritz Enzinger, vice president for Porsche Motorsport, said in a release. “This means that Laurens, Nick and Fred will not be traveling to the USA.

“This is very regrettable, but we would like to emphasize that in this case as well the health of all those concerned is the prime focus of the decisions we have taken.”

The decision also affects Earl Bamber, who teamed with Vanthoor to win the GTLM championship last year in the No. 912.

Porsche said its GTLM Porsche 911 RSR-19 entries will return for the Oct. 10 race at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval.

That will reduce the GTLM class to four cars — two Corvettes and two BMWs — this weekend at Mid-Ohio, in what could be somewhat of a 2021 preview. Porsche Motorsport announced earlier this year that it will leave IMSA after the 2020 season because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.