Friday, February 24, 2017

Lewis Hamilton tells Nico Rosberg: I am hunting you down

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton (left) sprays champagne over the face of teammate Nico Rosberg on Sunday. Pic/AP, PTI
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton (left) sprays champagne over the face of teammate Nico Rosberg on Sunday. Pic/AP, PTI

Sao Paulo: Lewis Hamilton warned Nico Rosberg he was “hunting” a fourth world title after describing his stunning triumph in Sunday’s wet and chaotic Brazilian Grand Prix as one of the easiest of his 52 career victories. The 31-year-old Briton won in Brazil for the first time at the 10th attempt to complete a hat-trick of consecutive wins and keep alive his championship defence, taking the title battle down to the wire at the final race, the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on November 27.

“I’m hunting and all I can do is what I am doing,” said a delighted Hamilton, who trails his Mercedes teammate and championship rival Rosberg, who finished second on Sunday, by 12 points with one race remaining. “The team have given me a great car and finally the reliability has been good. Right now, I am living in the moment. This was my dream when I was five or six, watching Nelson (Piquet) and Ayrton (Senna) race. It was one of my easier races, I didn’t have any spins, any moments. It was pretty straightforward,” Hamilton added.

Only Schumacher ahead
His 52nd win from his 60th pole position lifted Hamilton one clear of four-time champion Alain Prost in the record books, leaving only one driver ahead of him with more wins — seven-time champion Michael Schumacher on 91. Knowing he had to win to keep his title challenge alive, Hamilton — his racing helmet redesigned in tribute to Senna — drove with supreme concentration to claim a flawless victory in a dramatic race littered with accidents and stoppages amid the rainstorms.

“Not too bad,” he said, with deep irony. “I want to say a big thank you to the fans here, that was a long, long race. I appreciate all the support and they are so welcoming to us here. I was generally just chilling up front and when it rains it is usually a good day for me,” he said.

Force India might seal 4th
Sahara Force India has virtually sealed a historic fourth position in the constructors championship after securing 18 points. With this performance, Force India now have 163 points, 27 more than closest rival Williams, who failed to secure a single point from the penultimate race of the season. Valtteri Bottas finished 11th, just outside the points bracket while local hero Felipe Massa crashed out early into the race.

Last season, Force India had finished fifth with 136 points and with one race to go in Abu Dhabi, the team is set to record is best ever finish unless Williams come up with a dramatic show in the season-ending race. It was second-best performance of the season for Perez, who has savoured two podiums.

Lewis Hamilton will retain F1 title if…

> Hamilton (355 points) wins Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and Rosberg (367) finishes outside the top three
> The Brit finishes the race second and the German finishes somewhere lower than sixth place
> The defending champion finishes anywhere on the podium and Rosberg finishes outside the top eight
PS: A race win yields 25 points, while second and third place earns a driver 18 and 15 points respectively

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