GP2: Marciello claims maiden win as Nasr cuts the gap to Palmer

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In another entertaining weekend of GP2 racing at Spa-Francorchamps, Ferrari junior driver Raffaele Marciello claimed his maiden race win after seeing off McLaren’s Stoffel Vandoorne in an epic feature race battle.

The two youngsters made the most of the wet conditions to surge ahead at the front of the field before scrapping for the race win in the final few laps of the race.

Just as the feature race got underway on Saturday, a heavy rain shower hit the circuit that was severe enough to warrant a red flag. American driver Conor Daly was the only casualty of the few laps in the rain, making a mistake and finishing his race in the gravel.

Vandoorne had held the lead from pole position, and quickly moved ahead at the front alongside Marciello. The McLarenย junior appeared to have the race under control, enjoying a lead of a couple of seconds over the Racing Engineering driver before taking to the pits for a fresh set of intermediate tires.

Marciello stayed out a few laps longer, and was flying when he came back out on fresh tires. Theย Italian driver quickly reeled in Vandoorne before the two put on a fantastic duel at the front of the field, showing racecraft far beyond their years. In the end, Marciello found a way past at Rivage after getting a better run on the Belgian along the Kemmel straight.

After a difficult start to the season, it was an important win for Marciello to take, but he could only finish in 14th place in the sprint race on Sunday.

In the battle for the drivers’ title, Felipe Nasr managed to cut Jolyon Palmer’s lead at the top of the standings to 32 points after winning the sprint race on Sunday. The Brazilian could only qualify P11 on Saturday, but rallied to finish ahead of Palmer in both races and reduce the gap by eleven points.

In GP3, Red Bull junior Alex Lynn took a big step towards the championship by claiming his first win since the feature race in Austria. He now leads New Zealand’s Richie Stanaway by 32 points at the top of the standings.

Lewis Hamilton comes home to Mercedes factory after fourth title

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On Monday, the Formula 1 schedule finally allowed teams to be in Europe before heading to Abu Dhabi for this weekend’s season finale.

And as such, that provided a window for now four-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton to return to the Mercedes AMG Petronas factories in Brackley and Brixworth to be celebrated for taking the driver’s title, as Hamilton an Valtteri Bottas delivered Mercedes its fourth straight constructor’s title.

Hamilton was at Brixworth, the home ofย Mercedes-AMG High Performance Powertrains (HPP) and its highly successful Mercedes-Benz Power Units first before heading to Brackley, where he was welcomed with a “guard of honor” as the entire team came out to greet him.

The champion was overwhelmed at the response and the welcome.

“This a very emotional day. I was not expecting this, thanks everyone for the warm welcome,” he said. “Today is something that I will never forget, turning up at the front gate of the factory and seeing everyone out on the street to welcome me – I’m blown away.

“This has been an incredible year, it’s been an incredible journey together. There’s a huge amount of respect and appreciation I have for everyone. I’ve been in the sport for a long time now, but to see the work ethic in Brixworth and Brackley really inspires me. Every time I come around, I see everyone operating at 100%, which encourages me to bring my best performance.

“Thank you all for helping me achieve my dreams, it would not have been possible without you. This is the best championship year, because we’ve been fighting another team and because we’ve had the difficulties and challenges we’ve had – that just makes it so much greater.”

A social roundup of images and videos are below, all via Hamilton and the Mercedes team on social media.