Hamilton: Season has exceeded projections thus far

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Lewis Hamilton has said his first season at Mercedes has gone a lot better than he expected. And that’s despite his teammate Nico Rosberg winning twice, while the 2008 Formula One World Champion has yet to convert his Saturday pace into a victory.

“Overall, it has gone a lot better than I expected it would,” he said in his new blog for the BBC. “Coming to the team, I remember the excitement of having something new and fresh, going to the factory, sitting in the mock-up of the car and making a few changes to the way the team went about things.

“From the first race onwards, it has just been great to be up there in the mix at the front. I never expected to be ahead of McLaren, for example. Before I drove the car, I thought it was going to be tough to be in the top 10. I honestly meant that when I said it over the winter – just because the team had had a really difficult end to last season.

“I was thinking it was going to be a tough year.”

Mercedes enters this weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix second in the Constructor’s Championship, three points ahead of Ferrari. Hamilton says even more could have been achieved had it not been for poor luck or missed opportunities.

“For me, the ones that are really difficult are the ones where the car was able to win but I missed out for whatever reason,” he said. “The obvious one was Silverstone, where I was leading comfortably until my tire blew. Of course, there have also been other times when I’ve missed out through my own fault, like in Monaco.

Mercedes may be impacted more than most by the new Pirelli compound construction that debuts in Hungary this weekend. The team was barred from participating in the Silverstone young driver test last weekend as punishment for its secret test at Barcelona, and the “tiregate” saga that followed. Still, Hamilton’s had a good year to date and a win later this year would extend his streak of consecutive years with a win to seven.

Ken Roczen signs with HEP Progressive Ecstar Suzuki for 2023

Roczen Progressive Ecstar Suzuki
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ANAHEIM, California – Ken Roczen will make the move from HRC Honda to H.E.P. Motorsports with the Progressive Ecstar Suzuki team, ending a long and eventful offseason that saw his split from his longstanding team after he committed to running World Supercross (WSX).

“H.E.P. Motorsports is thrilled to announce that the team has signed Ken Roczen as its premier rider for the 2023 season,” the team announced on Instagram. “Former AMA Motocross champion Roczen will be aboard a Suzuki RM-Z450. Roczen, who won his most recent championship on a Suzuki, will be reunited with the brand and bring his exciting style, determination, and grit back to the RM Army.

“Ken Roczen will compete in the upcoming 2023 Supercross and Motocross Championship series which is set to start on January 7 at Anaheim Stadium in Southern California.”

For Roczen, it is a return to the bike of his youth and on which he had some of his greatest professional success.

“This thing has been going on for weeks and weeks and weeks in the making, but there was so much uncertainty,” Roczen told NBC Sports during Monster Energy Supercross Media Sessions. “It was a very unique situation. I just finally signed two nights ago, so it’s really only legit once the ink hits the paper. It’s been in the works for a long time, but there were just a lot of questions and a lot of input from a lot of other teams too.

“Good things take time, and I’m okay with that. I grew up riding Suzuki. Ot’s like a homecoming. It’s a special feeling”

Roczen won the 2016 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship on a Suzuki before making the move to Honda. That year he won nine of 12 Nationals and finished no worse than second as he easily outpaced Eli Tomac by 86 points. He finished third in his next Pro Motocross outing in 2018 after sitting out the outdoor season in 2017.

“I am beyond excited to reconnect with Suzuki for the 3rd time in my career. We’ve had a lot of success in the past and I’m looking forward to seeing what we can accomplish together in our future.” Roczen said in the Instagram post.