F1 Lewis Hamilton Spanish
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Lewis Hamilton wins Spanish GP for 88th career victory in Formula One

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MONTMELO, Spain — Lewis Hamilton had no problems with his tires Sunday as he coasted to victory at the Spanish Grand Prix, extending his championship lead to 37 points and clinching an 88th career victory to move within three of Michael Schumacher’s Formula One record.

The talk before the race was whether Mercedes’ tires would be vulnerable in the searing summer heat of Spain, after experiencing problems in the past two races at Silverstone.

But there were no such issues as Hamilton, who started from the pole position, finished a sizeable 24 seconds ahead of Max Verstappen for his fourth victory in six races this season.

With his 156th podium, Hamilton broke a record he shared with Schumacher.

Valtteri Bottas placed third to fall further behind second-place Verstappen in the standings.

The winding 4.7-kilometer ( 2.9-mile) Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, with its combination of slow and fast corners, is one of the hardest for overtaking.

After narrowly securing a record-extending 92nd career pole position Hamilton made a strong start on the long straight to the first corner. But Bottas was overtaken by Verstappen and the Racing Point of Lance Stroll – who jumped from fifth to third with a fine move on Bottas’ right flank.

Track temperatures on the circuit were around 50 degrees C (122 F) and Mercedes was concerned about catching too much sun.

“These black overalls are hot,” Bottas said during the race, throwing in an expletive for emphasis.

It was another miserable day for the struggling Ferrari team, with Sebastian Vettel finishing seventh and Charles Leclerc abandoning after his engine cut out on the track.

“I don’t know why the car switched off completely,” Leclerc said.

He crawled into the pits but the mechanics seemed at a loss to figure out what was wrong and his race was over on lap 41.

Helio Castroneves ‘hustling’ for IndyCar, IMSA rides; talking with four to five teams

Helio Castroneves IMSA IndyCar
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As his season gathers steam, Helio Castroneves said his prospects for finding new rides for 2021 in IMSA and IndyCar also are gaining momentum.

The three-time Indianapolis 500 winner said Monday he is optimistic about landing in either or perhaps a combination of both series when Team Penske and Acura end their DPi partnership after this season.

“A lot of people I spoke with, four to five teams, are interested,” Castroneves said. “Whether it’s doing Indy 500 only, whether it’s pushing to do full time or do the sports cars as well. It’s been a very nice conversation.

LOOKING AHEADTeam Penske drivers seeking new rides for 2021

“I have a lot of respect for all the teams that have been talking, and I feel the same feedback. We just have to wait for their (sponsor) connections, and I’m also looking for some connections on my side as well, so hopefully we’ll be able to put this together and get something very soon.”

Given two decades of success with Penske in IndyCar and IMSA, Castroneves’ resume hardly needs burnishing. But the Brazilian has combined with co-driver Ricky Taylor in the No. 7 Acura DPi to win the past two overall victories at Road America and Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.

But Castroneves, who doesn’t have a manager, said he has been working the phones hard rather than wait for the strong results to bring in the calls.

“At this point, I feel like I’m the one who needs to be talking to them because people need to know I want to continue racing and understand my desire,” Castroneves, 45, said. “There is opportunity, no question, in both (IndyCar and IMSA), which I’m really happy about it. However, because of the COVID-19, a lot of things sometimes have to be a little delayed. But I’m excited. Whatever the opportunity and whatever destiny guides me, whether IndyCar or sports cars, trust me I’ll be as happy as it could be and doing my 100 percent like I always did.

“It’s like politics, you need to be out there, good news or bad news. People have to make notice of your presence. I’m hustling. I want to continue to keep it going. Hopefully, we’ll have good news very soon.”

The news has been all good lately on track for Castroneves and Taylor, who hope to continue their run Sunday at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

The No. 6 duo has surged to sixth in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship standings, 10 points out of the lead with four races remaining. After thinking there was “no hope” to be competitive after opening the season with three consecutive poor finishes, Taylor now sees an opportunity for a happy ending.

“With the program going away, Helio has won all the big races and given so much back to the team and left such a mark, he’s really part of Penske history,” Taylor said. “For me, it’s been an opportunity of a lifetime to be a part of it. I’d like to leave my little mark as well. Helio has won everything except for a championship.

“Obviously, we’ve won races already together, but we can win a championship now. I think if both of us can do that together and both win our first championship for ‘The Captain,’ that would be an absolute dream come true, and we can tie a bow on it and be happy.”