Pirelli World Challenge: Mid-Ohio results

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Alex Figge was the biggest winner from the Pirelli World Challenge race weekend at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. The driver of the No. 9 K-PAX Racing Volvo S60 took his second and third wins of 2013 in the GT class, sweeping the weekend. Races air Sunday, August 18, at 2 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Network.

Bad luck has stunted his championship chances in the top class of the series, so his wins didn’t play a major role on the title chase. However, accident damage to his radiator cost Johnny O’Connell, in the No. 3 Cadillac Racing Cadillac CTS-V.R, a fair number of points in Round 12 on Sunday. A pair of podium finishes brought James Sofronas, in the No. 14 GMG Audi R8 LMS, to within 13 points of O’Connell with just two races remaining. Sofronas has three early-season wins.

In GTS, Mark Wilkins (Saturday) and Lawson Aschenbach (Sunday) took class wins. The win was the second for Wilkins of 2013 in the No. 38 Kinetic Motorsports Kia Optima turbo while Aschenbach captured his fifth win of 2013 in the No. 10 Blackdog Speed Shop Chevrolet Camaro. Jack Baldwin, the No. 73 GTSport with Goldcrest Porsche Cayman S, had fourth and third place finishes and still leads Wilkins by 87 points for the GTS lead.

The pair of Touring Car and Touring Car B-Spec races on Saturday saw Michael Cooper (TC, both races), Ernie Francis Jr. (TCB race 1) and Robbie Davis (TCB race 2) take class victories. Cooper, in the No. 1 Atlanta Motorsports Group Mazda 3, held off a sustained challenge from Tristan Herbert in race 1 and had an easier time of it in race 2. Francis Jr. (No. 98 Breathless Performance Mazda 2) wasn’t able to repeat his win in race 2 after being caught up in a first-lap accident, and Davis (No. 37 MINI of Charleston Racing MINI Cooper) held off Tyler Palmer for the latter win.

The full event coverage from Mid-Ohio can be found here on the Pirelli World Challenge website.

F1 2017 driver review: Lewis Hamilton

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Following on from the driver reviews from the Verizon IndyCar Series, MotorSportsTalk kicks off its Formula 1 recaps by looking back on Lewis Hamilton’s championship year.

Lewis Hamilton

Team: Mercedes AMG Petronas
Car No.: 44
Races: 20
Wins: 9
Podiums (excluding wins): 4
Pole Positions: 11
Fastest Laps: 7
Points: 363
Laps Led: 527
Championship Position: 1st

Lewis Hamilton may have wrapped up his fourth Formula 1 world title with two races to spare, but his margin of victory was far from representative of what was arguably his greatest championship victory yet.

Mercedes entered 2017 bidding to become the first team to defend its titles across a seismic regulation change, and appeared to be on the back foot early on after Ferrari impressed in pre-season testing and won the opening race through Sebastian Vettel.

Hamilton was left wrestling with a “diva” of a car, as coined by Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff, but was able to get on top of it by the second race of the year in China, taking a dominant win in wet-dry conditions.

The win was representative of Hamilton’s form through the first portion of the season. When he won, he won in style – as in Spain, Canada and on home soil in Great Britain – but the off weekends saw him struggle.

Heading into the summer break, Vettel’s championship lead stood at 14 points, with the pair’s on-track rivalry having already spilled over in Baku when they made contact behind the safety car.

But Hamilton then produced the form that propelled him to titles in 2014 and 2015, breaking the back of the season through the final flyaways. As Vettel and Ferrari capitulated over the Asian rounds, picking up just 12 points when a full score of 75 for three wins was certainly in reach, Hamilton capitalised and put himself on the brink of the title.

While Hamilton’s run to P9 in Mexico was a messy way to wrap up his hardest-fought title to date, getting across the line and the job done was a significant result.

Unlike his last two titles, Hamilton was tasked with an enemy outside of the team in this title race and a car that arguably wasn’t the fastest on the grid.

But his unquestionable talent and ability to dig deep to get himself out of tough situations – Singapore and Brazil being two key examples where the result was far from expected – proved crucial once again.

Hamilton is now in the annals of F1 history as one of its all-time greats. The pole record is his, and only two drivers can boast more world titles than him (Michael Schumacher and Juan Manuel Fangio).

Depending on how long he wants to continue racing, going down as F1’s statistical all-time great is certainly not out of the realm of possibility.

Season High: Charging from the pit lane to P4 in Brazil, a race he could have even won.

Season Low: Dropping out in Q2 in Monaco, only recovering to P7 in the race.