Vettel and Hamilton’s seasons start with a whimper


Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton’s 2014 campaigns started in the worst possible fashion today as both drivers were forced to retire within the first five laps of the Australian Grand Prix.

Having scored his 32nd career pole position on Saturday, Hamilton was the early favorite to win the race from the front row of the grid, but the Briton made a poor start and dropped down to third place. However, when driving onto the grid following the second of two parade laps after an aborted start, his Mercedes power unit began to splutter and sound ‘off-key’. Although he did manage to complete a few laps, the team eventually ordered him to return to the pits and park up due to a cylinder failure.

For Vettel though, the race was even worse. En route to the grid, the defending world champion – chasing his tenth straight GP win – reported that his engine was low on power. From 12th place, he failed to get a good getaway, dropping down to 14th and even losing a position to the Marussia of Max Chilton, such were his problems. After struggling around the track for five laps, the team eventually called Vettel in and ended his race. His title defence has started with a whimper.

Their teammates’ races were a stark contrast, though. Whilst Hamilton retired on lap four, Rosberg – who had jumped into the lead at the first corner – led from start to finish, proving Mercedes’ pace by winning with a 24 second advantage.

In the other Red Bull, Daniel Ricciardo scored his first Formula 1 podium on debut for the team, managing to fend off the McLarens of Kevin Magnussen and Jenson Button in the final stages of the race. This sent the partisan crowd into delirium as their favorite son finished in second place at his home grand prix.

However, with both teams running well in Australia, Vettel and Hamilton will undoubtedly feel that they are still capable of winning the drivers’ title in 2014.

Seattle Supercross by the numbers: Three riders separated by 17 points


Three riders remain locked in a tight battle with 17 points separating the leader Cooper Webb from third-place Chase Sexton and these are only a few Supercross numbers to consider entering Seattle.

Seattle Supercross numbers
Chase Sexton made a statement in Detroit with his second win of 2023. – Feld Motor Sports

For the fifth time in 10 rounds. Sexton, Webb, and Eli Tomac shared the podium in Detroit. Between them, the trio has taken 23 podiums, leaving only seven for the remainder of the field. Jason Anderson, Ken Roczen and Justin Barcia have two each with Aaron Plessinger scoring the other.

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.

Tomac has won two of the last three Seattle races and those two wins in this stadium are topped only by James Stewart. Fittingly, if Tomac gets a third win this week, he will tie Stewart for second on the all-time wins’ list. Tomac tied Ricky Carmichael for third with 48 wins at Oakland and took sole possession of that spot with his Daytona win.

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

2022: Eli Tomac
2019: Marvin Musquin
2018: Eli Tomac
2017: Marvin Musquin
2014: Ryan Villopoto

2022: Hunter Lawrence
2019: Dylan Ferrandis
2018: Aaron Plessinger
2017: Aaron Plessinger
2014: Cole Seely

By the Numbers

Anaheim 2
San Diego

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Chase Sexton wins in Detroit, penalized seven points