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Lewis Hamilton confident young Mick Schumacher will make it to F1

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AUSTIN, Texas (AP) Lewis Hamilton said Thursday he is confident Mick Schumacher, the son of former seven-time champion Michael Schumacher, will make it to Formula One.

Mick Schumacher won the European Formula 3 championship last weekend, the first title for the 19-year-old. His father, Michael, is the most successful driver in F1 history who suffered a near-fatal brain injury while skiing in 2013 after retiring.

Hamilton said he doesn’t think the Schumacher name will be a burden on the youngster’s rising career.

“There will 100 percent be a Schumacher back in F1, partly because of the name but secondly because he’s doing a good job,” Hamilton at the U.S. Grand Prix, where he has a chance to clinch his fifth championship this weekend in Texas.

Mick Schumacher won eight of the last 15 races in F3 this season and said this week he will announce his future race plans soon.

“He obviously has a lot of talent like his dad had, just like Keke and Nico (Rosberg),” Hamilton said. “I think he could be great for the sport.”

Mick Schumacher has not yet been picked up by an F1 team’s junior program. A natural progression would be to race in Formula 2 next season. Current Williams driver Lance Stroll made the jump from F3 to Formula One last season.

Two-time F1 champion Fernando Alonso said fans should be careful not to burden the younger Schumacher with expectations.

“I never met him, I only see the results from the outside,” Alonso said. “It would be good for the sport to have the Schumacher name on F1, but let’s see what the future brings and not put extra pressure on him that I’m sure he already has. Let time decide.”

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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).