Williams finally score first point of the season

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Having endured their worst ever start to a Formula One season, Williams have finally attained some success by scoring their first point of 2013 at today’s Hungarian Grand Prix.

Pastor Maldonado crossed the line in 10th place to pick up a solitary point that puts the team on the scoreboard for 2013 with the Venezuelan taking advantage of others’ misfortune to move into the points with just five laps remaining.

Maldonado had been battling with Sauber’s Nico Hulkenberg during the race but the German driver was forced to take a drive-through penalty after speeding in the pit lane during a stop. Then, with just five laps remaining, Nico Rosberg suffered from an engine failure whilst running in 9th position, elevating Maldonado into the top ten to pick up a point.

Valtteri Bottas was not as fortunate as his teammate, retiring from the race due to a hydraulics failure on lap 43 of the race. Regardless, the team will be delighted to get off the mark after such a disappointing start to the season.

“For me, it’s special. We did a great race starting from 15th. We are improving every time,” Maldonado told Sky Sports after the race.

Despite this result, Williams are still 52 points behind the total they had at this point last season.

Neuville wins Rally Australia; Ogier takes FIA WRC title

Sebastien Ogier. Photo: Getty Images
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COFFS HARBOUR, Australia (AP) Belgium’s Thierry Neuville won Rally Australia by 22.5 seconds on Sunday as torrential rain added drama to the last day of the last race of the World Rally Championship season.

Neuville entered the final day with an almost 20 second advantage after inheriting the rally lead Saturday when his Hyundai teammate, defending champion Andreas Mikkelsen crashed and was forced to retire for the day.

His lead was halved by Jari-Matti Latvala early Sunday as monsoon-like rain made conditions treacherous on muddy forest stages on the New South Wales coast. The rain stopped on the short Wedding Bells stage where Neuville was almost 5 seconds quicker than his rivals, stretching his lead to 14.7 seconds entering the last stage.

COFFS HARBOUR, AUSTRALIA – NOVEMBER 17: Thierry Neuville of Belgium and Nicolas Gilsoul of Belgium compete in their Hyundai Motorsport WRT Hyundai i20 coupe WRC during Day One of the WRC Australia on November 17, 2017 in COFFS HARBOUR, Australia. (Photo by Massimo Bettiol/Getty Images)

That stage was full of incident. The driver’s door on Neuville’s Hyundai i20 coupe swung open in the middle of the stage and Neuville had to slam it closed as he approached a corner.

Latvala’s Toyota then crashed seconds from the end of the stage, allowing Estonia’s Ott Tanak, in a Ford, to take second place overall and New Zealalnd’s Haydon Paddon, in a Hyundai, to sneak into third.

Sebastian Ogier was fourth after winning the final, power stage but the Frenchman had already clinched his fifth world title before Rally Australia began. Neuville’s win was his fourth of the season, two more than Ogier, and was enough to give him second place in world drivers’ standings for the third time in five years.

Ogier owed his drivers’ title to his consistency: he retired only once and finished no worse than fifth all season.

Neuville admitted the last day was touch and go as the rain made some stages perilous, forcing the cancellation of the second to last stage.

“That was a hell of a ride,” Neuville said. “Really, really tricky conditions.

“I kept the car on the road but it was close sometimes. I knew I could make a difference but I had to be clever. You lose grip, you lose control and the car doesn’t respond to your input.”