Hamilton “gutted” to retire early on in Japan

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Lewis Hamilton’s Japanese Grand Prix weekend came to a disappointing end on Sunday as he retired from the race on lap nine as a result of contact at the first corner.

The Briton made a good start (pictured) but he made contact with Sebastian Vettel’s Red Bull and received a puncture on his right-rear tire. Hamilton dropped to the back of the field and pitted for repairs, but ultimately the damage to his car proved to be too great and he retired eight laps later.

“I got a fantastic start this afternoon, better than both Red Bulls for probably the first time this year,” Hamilton said. “Mark moved right, so I had to move as well, which sandwiched Sebastian between me and Romain. Seb’s front wing clipped my right rear, cut the tire and that was that. It wasn’t his fault at all, just one of those things that wasn’t meant to be this afternoon.”

Hamilton said that he felt bad about the incident following his team’s hard work across the course of the race weekend.

“I feel most gutted for the team – the guys here at the track and in the factory – because they are doing an amazing job right now and we’re just not getting the reward for it,” he said.

Hamilton has failed to finish on the podium in the past four races and he is now mathematically unable to win the drivers’ championship this year.

Mercedes’ attention will now turn to the constructors’ championship with the German marque battling with Ferrari and Lotus for second place, but Hamilton’s retirement and Rosberg’s eighth-place finish meant that the Silver Arrows are now ten points behind their Italian rivals.

Recapping the 2018 Dakar Rally with “best of” video highlights

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EDITOR’S NOTE: NBCSN will air additional Dakar Rally highlights on Monday at 7 p.m. ET.

As it has done so for four decades, the 40th annual Dakar Rally – the most grueling test of man and machine anywhere – produced a number of surprise finishes and also several disappointments for drivers or riders who were expected to do well in the nearly 5,600-mile trek that began in Peru and continued through Bolivia and ending in Argentina.

NBCSN has aired highlights from all 14 stages (actually 13, because one stage was completely rained out) during the Rally’s two-week run, which concluded Saturday.

Here’s some of the “best of” highlights from the overall Rally highlights, followed by a quick guide that gives you wrapups to all 14 stages.

So, without further adieu, here’s NBCSN’s “best of” the 2018 Dakar Rally:

2018 Dakar Rally: Best of cars

2018 Dakar Rally: Best of bikes

2018 Dakar Rally: Best of trucks

2018 Dakar Rally: Best of quads

Lastly, here’s a day-by-day wrapup of how the Rally played out.

MORE: Dakar Rally daily stages schedule, NBCSN broadcast schedule, list of all competitors.

MORE: Stage 14 overall Rally wrapup

MORE: Stage 13 wrapup

MORE: Stage 12 wrapup

MORE: Stage 11 wrapup

MORE: Stage 10 wrapup

MORE: Stage 9 cancelled due to weather, impassible course conditions

MORE: Stage 8 wrapup

MORE: Stage 7 wrapup

MORE: Stage 6 wrapup

MORE: Stage 5 wrapup

MORE: Stage 4 wrapup

MORE: Stage 3 wrapup

MORE: Stage 2 wrapup

MORE: Stage 1 wrapup