Gutierrez scores first points in Formula One

1 Comment

Esteban Gutierrez will be celebrating tonight after scoring his first points in Formula One, having made his debut at the beginning of the season. The Mexican driver ran strongly throughout the race at Suzuka today to cross the line in seventh place behind his teammate and ahead of Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg.

Having qualified in fourteenth place, Gutierrez made a fantastic start to jump up to ninth and he remained in the fight for the final points-paying positions for a large part of the race. However, he did not simply fall backwards, battling for position with Felipe Massa and Kimi Raikkonen before eventually losing out to both drivers. A drive-through penalty for Massa saw the Brazilian fall back down the order, allowing Gutierrez to make up a position. He then moved up to P9 on lap thirty-seven with a great overtake on Jean-Eric Vergne before benefitting from late pit stops for Jenson Button and Nico Rosberg.

In the final few laps, Rosberg did close up on the back of the Sauber, but the German driver was asked to save fuel. As a result, Gutierrez kept the three-time grand prix winner at bay to score his first points of the season.

Not only are these Gutierrez’s first points of the season, but they are also the first for any of the five rookies on the grid in 2013. Valtteri Bottas, Giedo van der Garde, Max Chilton and Jules Bianchi are all yet to score.

Gutierrez’s result also allowed Sauber to breakaway from Toro Rosso in the battle for seventh in the constructors’ championship, with the team now fourteen points ahead and just seventeen behind sixth-placed Force India.

Hunter and Jett Lawrence walk a delicate balance between winning races and favoring the fans

Hunter Jett Lawrence fans
Align Media
0 Comments

ANAHEIM, California – Hunter and Jett Lawrence are two of the most popular riders on the Monster Energy Supercross circuit, with fan bases that established and grew immediately when they came to America to ride for HRC Honda. Connecting with those fans came naturally for the charming Australian brothers, but it has not come without cost.

“It’s cool they’re there and it’s one of the things we try to do is give the fan that interaction,” Hunter told NBC Sports during Supercross Media Sessions ahead of the 2023 season. “It’s why we do ride days, meet-and-greets, press conferences  – all that stuff, because it’s exciting for them. We are trying to bridge the gap so they get personal interaction. Because that’s all they’re after. It’s all about getting that fan to think, ‘I know that guy. I didn’t meet him, but I get him. I get his humor.’ ”

There is no artifice in either brother. Their fan appeal is directly attributable to who they are at their core. And it’s that very genuineness that has throngs of fans standing outside their hauler, waiting for just a moment of their time.

“It’s about being yourself – talking to people,” Hunter said. “It’s not like I turn it on or turn it off; it’s just about being yourself. This is who we are, this is who you get and this is how it will be. You can’t portray something you’re not. If you keep saying you’re an orange, but apples keep popping out, it’s only a matter of time [until they figure it out].”

The key word is ‘throngs’, however. One person wanting just a few moments of time is incidental. Dozens are an entirely different matter.

“It’s tough in Supercross because it’s such a long day,” Hunter said. “The recovery side of it’s tough to do everything. We get stuck outside the grid; we can’t be there for like 10 minutes. We’re stuck there for like an hour. It gets overwhelming at times.

“You feel bad because you want to sign everything, but you’re still here for a job. Every race day is like that. We do the best we can, but there are so many people who wait out front. They’re screaming for you. Even when we’re coming off the sessions, they’re already yelling before you put your bike on the stands. You don’t even get time to take you helmet off.”

It can be a double-edged sword. Personality is only one part of the equation. A much bigger part of the brothers’ fan appeal comes because of their success. Hunter finished second in the last two Supercross 250 West title battles and third in the past two Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championships.

Jett won the last three titles he competed for, including last year’s 250 East Supercross Championship and the last two Motocross contests.

“I think they expect me to have nothing else to do on a Saturday and that I have unlimited energy,” Jett said. “But, I’m trying to recover for the next race.”

It’s a matter of timing. Jett has gained a reputation last year for handing out hundreds of donuts before the races during Red Bull fan appreciation sessions. And after the race, once the business at hand has been settled, Jett is equally available to the fans.

“After the race it’s fine; I’ll stay behind.” Jett said. “My job is done on the racing side of things, but until that last moto is done, my main thing is dirt bikes. The fans come along with it. The fans are part of the job, but main job at hand is the racing side of things. After the race, I’ll stay there for an hour or so. It’s a lot calmer.”