Daniel Ricciardo, Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel

Hamilton breaks 46-year-old British record for most poles


Lewis Hamilton made history today during qualifying for the Chinese Grand Prix as he claimed his 34th career pole position, and in doing so became the greatest British qualifier in Formula 1 history.

Having claimed pole number 33 in Malaysia, the Briton had been tied with compatriot Jim Clark, but today moved ahead of the two-time world champion who tragically died during an F2 race back in 1968.

Wet conditions at the Shanghai International Circuit opened up the fight for pole position as Red Bull and Ferrari looked to rain on Mercedes’ parade, but ultimately it was yet another pole position for the German marque as Hamilton finished six-tenths of a second clear of Daniel Ricciardo. His pole lap was one to be savored in the wet conditions, and he was in high spirits following the session on Saturday.

“It was a tough session today, but I really enjoyed it,” Hamilton explained. “It’s definitely the most satisfying feeling to come away with pole position in these wet conditions because the track is so slippery and you need to find the grip to put the lap together.

“The car felt great and the team have done a fantastic job this weekend. Our rivals look closer in the wet conditions, so we’ll be hoping it’s a dry race to take advantage of the position we’re in.

“We go into the race with a little bit of an unknown because after I struggled in practice on Friday. It felt pretty good in the wet, though, so I’m hopeful that we can convert our pole position into a strong race performance tomorrow.”

When asked about breaking Clark’s record, Hamilton was nonchalant and claimed that he did not know what figure he was on. That said, he used near enough the same line in Malaysia when he drew level with Clark and moved ahead of Nigel Mansell to claim the English record for poles (Clark hailed from Scotland).

Clark claimed his last pole position at the 1968 South African Grand Prix, which he duly converted into his final win in what was his final Formula 1 race. Having spent his entire career with Team Lotus, the Scotsman claimed two world titles and 25 wins despite starting just 72 races. He is widely regarded as being one of the greatest Formula 1 drivers of all time.

This result sees Hamilton move up to fourth place in the all-time list of pole position holders. However, he still has some way to go to match Michael Schumacher (68), Ayrton Senna (65) and current rival Sebastian Vettel (45).

IndyCar 2015 Driver Review: Gabby Chaves

Gabby Chaves
Leave a comment

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
© Getty Images
Leave a comment

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.