Sebastian Vettel looked to be on the cusp of his second victory at Silverstone with eleven laps left in the race, enjoying a sustained 3 second lead over Nico Rosberg in P2, but his luck ran out as a loss of drive forced him to pull over and retire from the race.
Vettel had taken the lead early on after Lewis Hamilton suffered a spectacular tire failure, allowing the Red Bull to pull ahead and keep a steady gap to Rosberg. However on lap 41, Vettel lost fifth gear and suffered a loss of drive, forcing him to pull over and retire from the race on the main straight to the delight of the British fans.
This marks Vettel’s first race without points and first DNF since the 2012 Italian Grand Prix, where he suffered an alternator failure along Monza’s pit straight, bringing to an end a superb run of results for the defending world champion.
The other impact of this DNF is that the championship tightens up once again. Vettel did look set to extend his lead in the drivers’ championship beyond the 40-point barrier had he won the race, but instead, Fernando Alonso cuts his lead to a reduced (yet still sizeable) 21 points.
Webb and Tomac won the last four championships with two apiece in alternating years, but they were not one another’s primary rival for most of those seasons. On the average, however, the past four years show an incredible similarity with average points earned of 21.0 for Webb and 21.3 for Tomac. With five wins so far this season, Tomac (23 wins) leads Webb (19) in victories but Webb (43) edges Tomac (41) in podium finishes during this span.
Sexton still has a lot to say and after winning last week in Detroit, he is speaking up. The Supercross numbers are against him entering Seattle, however, because a points’ deficit this large after Round 10 has been erased only once. In 1983 David Bailey was 47 points behind Bob Hannah, and like Sexton he was also in third place. Bailey took the points’ lead with one race remaining.
The seven points Sexton was penalized last week for jumping in a red cross flag section in Detroit could prove extremely costly.
In fact, it has been a series of mistakes that has cost Sexton the most. In the last two weeks, he lost 10 points with a 10th-place finish to go with his penalty. Erase those, and all three riders hold their fate in their hands.
Plessinger’s heartbreak in Detroit is still fresh, but the upside of his run is that was his best of the season and could turn his fortunes around. Prior to that race, he led only seven laps in three mains. He was up front for 20 laps in Detroit with five of those being the fastest on the track.
Last week’s win by Hunter Lawrence tied him with his brother Jett Lawrence for 17th on the all-time wins’ list. With the focus shifting to 250 West for the next two rounds, Jett has a great opportunity to pull back ahead. The real test will be at the first East / West Showdown in East Rutherford, New Jersey on April 22.
Last Five Seattle Winners
450s 2022: Eli Tomac
2019: Marvin Musquin
2018: Eli Tomac
2017: Marvin Musquin
2014: Ryan Villopoto