F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain - Previews

Tough weekend ahead of Lewis Hamilton


Lewis Hamilton believes that he is in store for a difficult weekend at the Bahrain Grand Prix, despite finishing 3rd in China last time out for Mercedes.

“I anticipate it’s going to be a very tough weekend for us,” the 2008 world champion told Sky Sports.

“The team struggled a lot last year but we’ve made a huge step forward in how we look after our tires, so hopefully we’ll be a lot better this weekend.”

Hamilton has made a good start to the season despite the team claiming that they were not expecting to be competitive in 2013. With three strong scores to his name, the British driver is currently 4th in the drivers’ championship with 40 points, although many had expected better following his pole position in China.

Mercedes appears to be struggling with its tires, but Hamilton is slowly getting used to the more aggressive Pirelli compounds.

“There are a lot of different techniques you can have. There’s so much to learn, I’m always learning. Just in the last couple of months I’ve learnt a couple of new techniques which happen to help quite a lot.”

Hamilton also refused to back the complaints of Red Bull, who believe that the tires have hindered some of the racing this season.

“It’s a good challenge, even if people perhaps aren’t enjoying it.

“I don’t find it really difficult. I mean, I do come out of a pit stop and I want to push and go hard to try and gain. But in actual fact, it’s better to go a bit slower in those first few laps – which people are starting to notice.

“That’s what Kimi and Fernando and Sebastian have been doing, which has meant that their long race pace has been really good. It’s still great racing, it’s just different.”

Hamilton will be chasing his first win in Bahrain, although he has finished on the podium twice before in Sakhir. If the Mercedes W04 can manage its tires better this weekend, both Hamilton and Rosberg may be in a position to fight for the win.

IndyCar 2015 Driver Review: Gabby Chaves

Gabby Chaves
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MotorSportsTalk continues its run through the driver-by-driver field in the Verizon IndyCar Series. In 15th and the rookie-of-the-year for 2015, was Gabby Chaves.

Gabby Chaves, No. 98 Bryan Herta Autosport Honda

  • 2014: Indy Lights champion
  • 2015: 15th Place, Best Finish 9th, Best Start 12th, 0 Top-5, 2 Top-10, 31 Laps Led, 19.3 Avg. Start, 14.4 Avg. Finish

Some drivers finish better than their performances show. Some drivers have performances better than their results show. The latter statement applied to Gabby Chaves in his rookie year, in what was an impressive first season after making the step up from Indy Lights, which deservedly earned him rookie-of-the-year honors.

The best comparison I’d make for Gabby is of Josef Newgarden in 2012 with Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing, a first-year driver on a single-car, newish team to the series.

Chaves rarely dazzled in qualifying but that wasn’t his fault; he and engineer John Dick worked well together and Chaves recounted multiple times this year that a tweak here or tweak there, the wrong way, on the aero kit would send them down the wrong setup path.

Results in races didn’t measure up either but again that was through almost no fault of his own. The only time Chaves looked truly like a rookie was at St. Pete, when he had several collisions. Otherwise he was ahead of eventual winner James Hinchcliffe at NOLA before getting punted off, reliable through the month of May in Indianapolis, finally able to break through for a ninth place in Detroit race two, overachieving in Texas, 11th at Milwaukee after some great wheel-to-wheel racing with series winners and champions, and then phenomenal at Pocono as he was on course for a first career win or podium before late-race engine issues – his first DNF of the season.

For both Chaves and Herta, you’d love to see them together for another season, and the results and confidence for both parties will grow as a result. Those who’ve seen Newgarden’s rise over four years with Fisher and now CFH will note the long-term stability, and that’s what Chaves could do if he gets the time.

He planted the seed of being a great IndyCar driver, and he became pretty versatile during the year too with additional appearances in the DeltaWing prototype, a short-track midget and one of Herta’s Red Bull Global Rallycross cars. To boot, he’s a smart, great kid who is mature beyond his years, and someone you should be buying stock in now. Anyone who saw Chaves in the Mazda Road to Indy should not have been surprised by his rookie season in the big cars.

Off The Grid: Monza preview (premieres Saturday 10/10 on NBCSN)

F1 Grand Prix of Italy
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Having already taken you behind the scenes in Barcelona, Budapest, Singapore, Melbourne and Silverstone, Will Buxton and Jason Swales now head to one of Formula 1’s most iconic venues for the latest episode of Off The Grid.

Monza has appeared in all but one F1 season since the formation of the world championship in 1950, and is a firm favorite among drivers, teams and fans alike.

However, there is far more to the Italian Grand Prix than meets the eye, as we find out in Saturday’s premiere of Off The Grid: Monza at 9:30am ET (follows Russian GP qualifying).

Having honed his talents in go-karts as a kid, Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo is now trying to pass on his knowledge to the next generation of racers. But can he teach Will or Jason a thing or two?

We also catch up with Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg and get a feel for life on the road as he takes us for a tour of his lavish bus in which he travels in for the European F1 races.

Have you ever wondered just how the suits F1 drivers wear are made? We go behind the scenes at Alpine Stars’ factory in Italy and find out.

Off The Grid: Monza premieres on Saturday at 9:30am ET on NBCSN following Russian GP qualifying.