While at times both Force India and Williams have starred this season – Williams more recently, on the strength of Valtteri Bottas’ run of podiums – it’s Force India’s team boss praising Bottas that’s making a bit of news during the Formula One summer break.
Team principal Vijay Mallya hailed Bottas’ second-year leap in performance in comments made to Autosport.
“There can be no two opinions that Bottas has been the star of the season so far,” Mallya told Autosport. “Not only does he have the killer instinct but also the maturity not to get flustered.”
You can take this one of two ways.
One, Mallya is being magnanimous and genuinely praising a rival for his efforts this season.
Or, two, Mallya is short-sighting his own squad and own drivers, Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg, who haven’t been able to do quite as much as Bottas with the Force India chassis and the similar Mercedes power unit.
It’s an odd statement to make because until Hungary, Hulkenberg had scored points in every race – and for the most part, exceeded his machinery. Perez, meanwhile, bagged Force India’s first podium in five years with third at Bahrain earlier this year.
As it is, Mallya’s up for a fight the remainder of the season, and his drivers will have to beat Bottas on a regular basis to move Force India forward from fifth in the Constructor’s Championship.
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