The last Malaysian Grand Prix is upon us this weekend from the Sepang International Circuit in Kuala Lumpur. After 19 years since its debut in 1999, the race will fall off the calendar from 2018.
This weekend still could be a pivotal one for the season following a frantic Singapore Grand Prix, which saw Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton win a race he probably wasn’t expecting to while Ferrari’s race fell apart after Sebastian Vettel, Kimi Raikkonen and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen all collided after the start/finish line.
Checking in with the latest after Singapore and before Malaysia is NBCSN pit reporter and insider Will Buxton from the Formula 1 paddock. We also welcome back producer Jason Swales on-site this weekend, having missed a couple races due to an injury.
Takuma Sato isn’t the only major Japanese athlete to take home top honors at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway this year. Countryman Yoshihide Muroya joined him in that on Sunday after winning Red Bull Air Race at IMS, and the Red Bull Air Race World Championship in the process.
Fittingly, the 101st Indianapolis 500 champion was there on site to join him in the celebration.
Muroya flew with a track-record run in the final and erased the four-point deficit to points leader Martin Sonka. The record run came after a disappointing qualifying effort of 11th in the 14-pilot field in the Master Class.
A day after the win, Muroya joined Sato in heading to Sato’s new Verizon IndyCar Series team, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s, Indianapolis-based shop.
A few social posts from Muroya’s victory and the subsequent celebration are below.
Muroya wasn’t alone among big winners at the Speedway. In the Challenger Class, Melanie Astles of France became the first woman to win a major race at IMS, and is the first female winner in the Red Bull Air Race World Championship.
Nine women have competed in the Indianapolis 500 (Janet Guthrie, Lyn St. James, Sarah Fisher, Danica Patrick, Milka Duno, Simona de Silvestro, Pippa Mann, Ana Beatriz, Katherine Legge) and Mann is the first woman to have been on the pole position at IMS, having done so for the Freedom 100 in 2010 in Indy Lights.