Hamilton caught Rosberg once, and he’ll do it again

2 Comments

Lewis Hamilton has vowed to make up for his second retirement of the season at the Canadian Grand Prix that saw him fall 22 points behind teammate Nico Rosberg in the drivers’ championship.

Rosberg’s lead is the biggest that it has been since the Australian Grand Prix, where he won the race to take a 25-point lead over Hamilton after the latter’s retirement from the race.

In Canada, both Mercedes cars were hit with an ERS problem, causing Hamilton to retire. Rosberg managed the problem and came home in second place, extending his lead at the top of the standings.

After winning four straight races to overhaul Rosberg’s first advantage, Hamilton is frustrated to have dropped back once again, but he is ready to go on another winning streak to make up for it.

“Montreal was a bit of a strange one for me,” he said. “I felt I had the pace right from the beginning of the weekend, but things just never quite came together. It’s frustrating when these things are out of your hands.

“The two DNFs so far this season have not been ideal but that’s racing and there’s a long, long way to go. I caught up before and I can catch up again. It’s going to take another four wins to make the difference so I’m going to do my best to get those results.”

Hamilton has now turned his attention to next weekend’s Austrian Grand Prix, which has been revived for 2014 after eleven years away. The Briton is relishing the opportunity to race at a new circuit, and he is gunning to claim his fifth win of the season in Spielberg.

“I’ve never driven the circuit but I’ve been working on it in the simulator and I’m sure I’ll learn it pretty quickly when we get out on track,” Hamilton said. “It’s always exciting to go to a new venue, so it should be an interesting weekend. I’m feeling good in the car right now and I’ll be pushing flat out to come away with maximum points this time around.”

IndyCar 2017 driver review: Ed Carpenter

Getty Images
Leave a comment

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.