Lewis Hamilton’s first year with Mercedes came to a sour conclusion today in Brazil, as he finished ninth following a run-in with Williams’ Valtteri Bottas and a subsequent drive-through penalty for his role in the incident.
Sunday was a mixed bag for the former World Champion. His Mercedes squad managed to lock up second in the constructors’ championship behind Red Bull, but Hamilton slipped to fourth in the driver’s table behind the now-retired Mark Webber.
Had he been able to hang on to third, it would’ve been his first Top-3 result in the driver’s standings since 2008.
“From my side, it was a tough race today,” Hamilton said. “I don’t know what happened exactly with Valtteri and will have to have a look at the replay. I thought that I had moved to the left, he outbraked me and then we touched but it happened so quickly and it was obviously judged that I did something wrong.”
In his comments to NBCSN’s Will Buxton (seen above), Hamilton was markedly bothered about his season altogether despite coming out very well from his move over to Mercedes from the struggling McLaren.
On the other side of the coin, Hamilton was pleased that his team claimed the No. 2 spot in the constructors’ table, its best showing there since returning to Formula One in 2010.
“It’s the reward for what I know has been many years of hard work and my thoughts are with everyone here at the track and back at our factories at Brackley and Brixworth,” the Brit said.
“We’ve got so much to look forward to next season so I’ll put today behind me quickly and focus on what should be a great year in 2014.”
MotorSportsTalk continues its annual review of the Verizon IndyCar Series drivers that raced in 2017. The 2017 season behind the wheel was better for Ed Carpenter than either of the last two years, but still wasn’t ideal results-wise in his six oval starts.
Ed Carpenter, No. 20 Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet
- 2016: 25th Place (5 Starts), Best Finish 18th, Best Start 5th, 0 Top-5, 0 Top-10, 1 Lap Led, 11.2 Avg. Start, 21.8 Avg. Finish
- 2017: 22nd Place (6 Starts), Best Finish 7th, Best Start 2nd, 0 Top-5, 1 Top-10, 5 Laps Led, 11.3 Avg. Start, 12.3 Avg. Finish
Ed Carpenter’s 2017 season was largely one of frustration, both behind the wheel and as a team owner.
While a respectable turnaround in results occurred – Carpenter finished between seventh and 12th in five of his six oval races after a nightmare season of ending 18th or worse in each of his 2016 starts – this is still not what he sets out to strive for in the races he does. Lost opportunities loomed larger than any official result he or the Ed Carpenter Racing team achieved.
Carpenter and new teammate JR Hildebrand, in for the departed Josef Newgarden, dominated preseason testing in Phoenix but Hildebrand could only muster third in the race, Carpenter a season-best seventh. Then at Indianapolis, Carpenter (second) and Hildebrand (sixth) flew the flag for Chevrolet in qualifying and practice pace, but they fell to 11th and 16th on race day owing to a front-wing change and late-race penalty for passing before a restart.
Both drivers got collected in incidents at Texas. Hildebrand qualified and finished a season-best second in Iowa but that result came only after the ECR crew rebuilt his car from a crash in practice. Then Carpenter had a practice crash in Pocono and despite a rapid rebuild, they missed the clock to qualify by mere minutes and were unable to do so. Carpenter’s spin on a slick Gateway track at the start of the race sent him over Will Power’s nose assembly in one of the scarier looking incidents of the year, although fortunately he was OK.
In a similar refrain as we often write, it’s not that Carpenter’s lost his ability to drive and he remains one of the series’ savviest and smartest people in the paddock. There have been a lot of extenuating circumstances of late, and it almost felt as though this team had “empty nest” components. Since September, Carpenter has had to secure his team’s future with a move away from its Speedway, Ind. shop, line up Spencer Pigot for a full-time drive replacing Hildebrand in the No. 21 car, find a new road/street course driver in the No. 20 car, and manage both driving and owning himself.