Hamilton “gutted” to retire early on in Japan

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Lewis Hamilton’s Japanese Grand Prix weekend came to a disappointing end on Sunday as he retired from the race on lap nine as a result of contact at the first corner.

The Briton made a good start (pictured) but he made contact with Sebastian Vettel’s Red Bull and received a puncture on his right-rear tire. Hamilton dropped to the back of the field and pitted for repairs, but ultimately the damage to his car proved to be too great and he retired eight laps later.

“I got a fantastic start this afternoon, better than both Red Bulls for probably the first time this year,” Hamilton said. “Mark moved right, so I had to move as well, which sandwiched Sebastian between me and Romain. Seb’s front wing clipped my right rear, cut the tire and that was that. It wasn’t his fault at all, just one of those things that wasn’t meant to be this afternoon.”

Hamilton said that he felt bad about the incident following his team’s hard work across the course of the race weekend.

“I feel most gutted for the team – the guys here at the track and in the factory – because they are doing an amazing job right now and we’re just not getting the reward for it,” he said.

Hamilton has failed to finish on the podium in the past four races and he is now mathematically unable to win the drivers’ championship this year.

Mercedes’ attention will now turn to the constructors’ championship with the German marque battling with Ferrari and Lotus for second place, but Hamilton’s retirement and Rosberg’s eighth-place finish meant that the Silver Arrows are now ten points behind their Italian rivals.

Supercross: Husqvarna’s Jalek Swoll and Malcolm Stewart out with injury

Swoll Stewart injury
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Jalek Swoll and Rockstar Energy Husqvarna teammate Malcolm Stewart sustained injury in separate crashes late last week. Stewart missed Anaheim 2 and Swoll will not mount up for the 250 East season opener in Houston on February 4.

“Spent all of yesterday in the ER and today getting surgery so haven’t been able to make an update post,” Swoll posted on Instagram. “Spiral fractured my humorous yesterday and was lucky enough to get into surgery today. Absolutely heartbroken that I couldn’t show all the hard work me, [Mike Brown], [Aldon Baker], and [Joel Perez] were working on truly felt like this year was going to a big one with massive improvements we made but I guess it just wasn’t my time.”

The team announced on Instagram that Swoll underwent successful surgery to repair a broken bone in his arm, sustained in a practice crash on Friday. After missing the division opener, no further timeline has been given for his return.

Swoll made eight starts in the 250 West division last season with a best finish of fifth. In 2021, he scored his first SuperMotocross win in the outdoor Pro Motocross season at High Point Raceway in Mount Morris, Pennsylvania.

Stewart missed Anaheim 2 due to a practice injury. Likewise, the team did not announce a timetable for Stewart’s return.

He showed a lot of speed in the first two rounds before accidents eliminated him from contention in both rounds. He finished 16th at Anaheim 1 and 15th in San Diego, putting him in a points’ deficit that was already going to be difficult to overcome.

Stewart entered the 2023 season with a ton of confidence and believed all he needed was to stack his chips the right way to get this year’s championship.

Husqvarna is now represented by RJ Hampshire in the 250 West division and Christian Craig in 450s.

Hampshire had a rough weekend in Anaheim 2 and finished 11th in the overall standings after scoring a last place result in Race 2 with a bike sidelined by crash damage and a 13th in Race 3 after another fall.

Craig has not yet scored a top-10 on his 450 with a best of 11th at San Diego and Anaheim 2.

The news of these two injuries comes on the heels of the Pro Circuit Kawasaki team losing three of their four 250 riders.

Last week, Pro Circuit Kawasaki announced Seth Hammaker would miss the season opener with a wrist injury. Almost immediately, it was announced Jo Shimoda would also miss the 250 East opener with a shoulder injury.

Chris Blose will serve as a replacement rider in the 250 East division with Carson Mumford scheduled to replace the injured Austin Forkner in the West.