Williams best of the rest once again in qualifying

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As Mercedes scored its ninth pole position in ten races through Nico Rosberg, Williams once again proved itself to be the ‘best of the rest’ by qualifying second and third at Hockenheim.

Following Lewis Hamilton’s crash in Q1, Rosberg looked set to go unchallenged en route to pole position. Valtteri Bottas did give him a brief scare late on, but the Finn was happy to settle for second place, feeling that he could have not gone any quicker.

“Yeah, today we must be really happy with the result we got, second and third, well done to everyone,” Bottas said after the session on Saturday. “I think Mercedes is still ahead, but the lap I had at the end was no mistakes and a really nice lap, so really felt I got everything out of the car.”

For Felipe Massa, third place was almost a disappointment as he struggled to get a lap together during qualifying, but he is still happy to be fighting at the front alongside Bottas.

“I think I was struggling to put the lap together,” he said. “I had some movement from the tires and I was not able to have a perfect car, just to put all the sectors together.

“I was able to do one sector better in one way, the other sector better in the other way. The car was not 100 per cent perfect in terms of set-up to put the perfect lap and Valtteri did really a very good lap.

“But anyway I’m still quite happy with the result and I’m quite happy with our car and for sure in the race the conditions are completely different, the feeling of the car as well is different, so let’s try to a very good job tomorrow as well.”

Williams is currently enjoying a revival following a difficult period in the history of the team. Last season, Bottas and former driver Pastor Maldonado could score just five points in total, leaving the team ninth in the constructors’ and as the lowest-ranked scoring team.

This year though, everything has changed. Massa started on pole in Austria, leading an all-Williams front row, whilst Bottas has finished on the podium in the last two races. You would have to think that if Mercedes hits trouble in Germany as it did in Canada, this time it would be Williams who could pick up the pieces.

X44 Racing win 2022 Extreme E championship as Abt Cupra score first race victory

2022 Extreme E Uruguay
Extreme E
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Abt Cupra Racing’s Nasser Al-Attiyah and Klara Andersson scored their first win in the Extreme E Energy X Prix in the 2022 finale in Uruguay as Lewis Hamilton’s X44 Vida Carbon Racing drivers Sebastien Loeb and Cristina Gutierrez survived a chaotic finale to edge the 2021 champion Rosberg X Prix team of Johan Kristoffersson and Mikhaela Ahlin-Kottulinsky, by two points.

“There are so many emotions,” Andersson said in Extreme E’s coverage. “I’ve been waiting for this for so long. In my second race, first full weekend to be at the top of the podium: it’s big.”

Andersson was behind the wheel at the finish.

Rosberg Racing entered the event with a 17-point advantage over X44, but the standings were close enough that four teams remained in contention in Round 5.

“It’s a crucial weekend for us,” Loeb said in Extreme E’s coverage prior to the race. “We are not in the best position to win the championship, but the only thing we can do is try to win the race and score as many points as possible.”

The top two title contenders each crashed in qualification and were relegated to the Crazy Race, Extreme E’s version of the Last Chance Qualifier (LCQ). For the moment, they had the steepest hill to climb, but then the other two championship contending teams, Chip Ganassi Racing and Acciona Sainz Racing failed to advance from their heats.

Only one team advances from the Crazy Race, so the X44 drivers were in a must-win situation to simply keep hope alive.

More: Extreme E 2023 schedule

Ahlin-Kottulinsky and Gutierrez ran wheel to wheel into the first turn at the start of the LCQ.

The Rosberg racer experienced crash damage in that turn that damaged her front steering, but managed to limp back to the pits at the end of her two-lap stint. The team attempted to fix the steering, but incurred a penalty for having too many mechanics in the pit area.

Meanwhile, Gutierrez took the early lead, but knew she would need to sit through a five-second penalty for an incident earlier in the weekend. The female half of the gender equal pair erased the penalty by entering the Switch Zone with a five-second lead before turning the car over to Loeb.

That was all the nine-time World Rally Championship titlist needed to give him the advantage needed to win the Crazy Race.

But the championship was not over yet. X44 Racing needed to finish third or better in the five-car finale to earn enough points for the title and after advancing from the LCQ, they were forced to take the worst grid position.

A chaotic start to the Finale saw Loeb run as high the lead and low as fourth after getting pushed off course during his first lap. And that is how he entered to Switch Zone.

On her first lap, Gutierrez slammed into Molly Taylor. With one lap remaining, X44 and Gutierrez were still in fourth and the title hope was quickly evaporating, but it was announced halfway through the lap that the third-running Andretti United team would suffer a penalty for a Switch Zone infraction. The seven-second deduction for Timmy Hansen braking too late in the zone made the difference in the title.

Coming off a disappointing Copper X Prix when Tanner Foust and Emma Gilmour crossed under the checkers first, but were relegated to fifth by penalty, the McLaren pair scored their first podium of the season in second.