Monday, April 23, 2018
Sports

F1's Lewis Hamilton: Teammate admitted to hitting me on purpose

SPA, Belgium — Nico Rosberg extended his championship lead and deepened his rift with Lewis Hamilton. The gloves are now truly off between the Mercedes rivals in their bitter fight for the Formula One title.

After Rosberg finished second at Sunday's Belgian Grand Prix, Hamilton claimed his teammate not only crashed into him from behind on purpose early in the race but admitted to it in a postrace team meeting.

"We just had a meeting about it, and he basically said he did it on purpose," Hamilton said, struggling to contain his anger. "He said he could have avoided it. He said 'I did it to prove a point.' "

Rosberg has 220 points, 29 ahead of Hamilton, who lost more than a minute after contact with Rosberg punctured his left rear tire and finished 19th, out of the points.

Race winner Daniel Ricciardo is third with 156 points.

Rosberg tried to downplay the incident and refused to reveal what was said at the team meeting.

"The stewards judged it's a racing incident. That's the best way to describe that," he said.

It's the third major intra-team Mercedes feud between Hamilton and Rosberg, who were once friends going back to their junior days racing carts.

At last month's Hungarian GP, Hamilton refused team orders to let Rosberg past. At the Monaco GP in May, Hamilton was incensed when Rosberg crashed late in qualifying, bringing out a safety car to end the session as well as Hamilton's chances at a pole.

Sprint Cup: Brad Keselowski was pragmatic about finishing second Saturday night to Penske racing teammate Joey Logano in the Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway. Logano's third victory this season gave him five consecutive finishes in the top six and Keselowski has been in the top five in points for 11 consecutive weeks. "I think the results speak for themselves, and we just need to keep rolling," Kese­lowski said. "We've got two teams that are legitimate contenders by really every stretch of the imagination."

IndyCar: Scott Dixon surged ahead with three laps left to win the Grand Prix of Sonoma (Calif.) as points leader Will Power recovered from a midrace spin to finish 10th. The race went on without incident several hours after a magnitude 6.0 earthquake struck nearby Napa. Power leads Penske racing teammate Helio Castroneves by 51 points heading to Saturday's double-points finale at Fontana. Also, Josef Newgarden signed to remain with co-owner Sarah Fisher for 2015, when the team becomes part of CFH Racing.

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