John Watson respects Perez’s fighting spirit

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Former McLaren driver John Watson has told Jenson Button to stop complaining about Sergio Perez after the two teammates went head-to-head in last weekend’s Bahrain Grand Prix.

During the race, Button came under pressure from Perez who was on a different strategy. The Mexican driver lost his front wing endplate when trying to make a move, before eventually getting past the 2009 world champion a few laps later.

Despite protesting the move, Button could not respond, and he did not hide his annoyance after the race. However, Watson believes that Button should just face facts and admit that he was slower.

“If Perez gives Button a difficult time, it’s up to Button to come to terms with it,” Watson told the BBC.

“It’s a fact of life. He can’t expect Martin Whitmarsh to tell Perez to back off.”

Instead of complaining, Watson encouraged Button to respond by fighting back and dealing with the situation on track.

“If your kid teammate is pushing you hard, it’s not nice, but it’s part of the game. You have to respond by getting in and doing the best job.”

Watson also said that Button’s experience and credentials made him a yardstick for Perez this season.

“Button is very experienced and the number one driver in that team, even though McLaren say there is no number one and number two.

“He has a target on his back and Perez will think that if he beats him, he’ll be in the pound seat at McLaren.”

Team principal Martin Whitmarsh has held talks between the drivers to discuss on track etiquette, and McLaren will be keen to avoid a similar situation when Formula One returns to Europe in two weeks’ time.

Travis Pastrana leads flag-to-flag in Nitro Rallycross as the series returns to America

Pastrana Nitro Rallycross
Barry Chin / Getty Images
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Travis Pastrana waited until the final trip around ERX Motor Park to take his Joker Lap – a longer way around the course that all drivers must do at least once in a race – and came out cleanly to win his first Nitro Rallycross race of 2022. With this win, Pastrana is the third driver to visit Victory Lane in the first three rounds of the 2022-23 season.

“This is the closest to a motocross track,” Pastrana told Katie Osborne on Peacock. “Thank you so much for a beautiful facility. It’s been a rough start to the season and I’m so thankful to be back out here. We had a good run in the side-by-side and now for this. This is much needed.”

Another thing needed was the sense of improvement. And Pastrana earned that affirmation each time he completed a lap around the course.

“I get my lap times read out and they said ‘fastest time of the week,’ ‘fastest time of the week’ (each time around) ” Pastrana said. “This is really special. We’re a long way behind in the championship, but welcome to America.”

In a pre-race press conference, Pastrana said that as Nitro Rallycross heads back to America, it was time for an American to win and he made good on his promise. Pastrana took the early lead over Robin Larsson and let the back of his Subaru hang out, taking risks he might not otherwise take if not for his need to win.

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Larsson’s second-place finish completed a perfect sweep of the podium in three rounds. In fact, he has not yet finished worse than second after winning the opening round at Lydden Hill in the United Kingdom and finishing second at Strangnas in Sweeden.

Fraser McConnel rounded out the podium for his best result of the season. He finished fourth in each of the first two rounds.

Last year, Pastrana finished second in this race to Scott Speed before narrowly edging his teammate for the championship.

Andreas Bakkerud crashed in prelims, but rebounded to finish just off the block in fourth. Bakkerud won the second round ahead of his teammate Larsson.

Oliver Bennett completed the top five.

Minneapolis is the first of three rounds scheduled in the United States. Next on the schedule is Glen Helen, Calif. on Octo 30 and then Phoenix at Wild Horse Pass on November 12th. Nitro Rallycross will then head to Saudi Arabia in December to continue their 2022-23 season.