Hamilton snatches Singapore pole away from Rosberg

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Lewis Hamilton has secured pole position for tomorrow’s Singapore Grand Prix after edging out Mercedes teammate and championship rival Nico Rosberg in a close session at Marina Bay on Saturday evening.

The British driver posted a fastest lap time of 1:45.681 to finish just seven-thousandths of a second quicker than Rosberg, who appeared to have pole position sewn up after his final lap in Q3. Ultimately, he was denied, causing him to shout “dammit!” very loudly over the radio to his engineer upon hearing the result.

After showing early signs of pace in qualifying, Ferrari eventually tailed off with Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen qualifying fifth and seventh respectively. Red Bull was the team to stand out as Mercedes’ closest challenger, qualifying third and fourth with Daniel Ricciardo ahead of Sebastian Vettel once again.

Due to the big difference in pace between the option and prime tire, the top teams were unable to save a set of the quicker compound tires in Q1 in order to be sure of a place in the second session. After a disappointing showing in final practice, Lewis Hamilton quickly proved that Mercedes was still the team to beat by going fastest of all on the first prime runs ahead of Esteban Gutierrez (who had fitted options early) and the Ferrari duo of Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen. Nico Rosberg could only rank P6 on his first run following a lock-up at turn eight that was very reminiscent of his mistake at Monza, costing him some time.

Red Bull opted to send its drivers out for just one run on the super-soft tire, and although Daniel Ricciardo managed to move into P1 with his first lap, Sebastian Vettel was forced to back off and try again after traffic ruined his initial effort. He eventually found some space to move up to fifth as Ferrari continued to impress following FP3, with Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso finishing P1 and P2 at the end of the first session. Lewis Hamilton finished third, whilst the Red Bull duo of Vettel and Ricciardo finished ninth and tenth after the times tumbled at the end of the session.

At the bottom, the usual pretenders at Caterham and Marussia filled out the bottom four positions. They were joined in the dropzone by Adrian Sutil and Pastor Maldonado in the dropzone, after they qualified 17th and 18th respectively.

Keen to continue his good form from Q1, Kimi Raikkonen was one of the first drivers to head out in the second session, and quickly moved up into top spot with his first lap time. Fernando Alonso followed suit to go just 0.031s quicker than his teammate, but both were soon overhauled by Hamilton in the Mercedes, albeit by the narrowest of margins. With Rosberg down in fifth, Mercedes looked to have a serious fight on its hands for pole position.

The pace of the frontrunners was good enough to remove the need for a second flying lap. However, the fight to get through to Q3 was well and truly on further down the order as Felipe Massa was the first to hoist himself out of danger by going P4. His example was followed by teammate Valtteri Bottas in eighth, whilst Kevin Magnussen and Daniil Kvyat both managed to get into Q3 at the expense of their teammates, leaving Jenson Button and Jean-Eric Vergne in 11th and 12th respectively. Force India’s qualifying was a struggle, with Nico Hulkenberg finishing 13th and Sergio Perez qualifying 15th behind Sauber’s Esteban Gutierrez. Romain Grosjean propped up the Q2 order in P16.

For good measure, Nico Rosberg’s second run saw him move half a second clear of Hamilton at the top of the timesheets, suggesting that Mercedes did still have the advantage heading into the final part of qualifying.

All of the drivers that had made it through to Q3 headed out early for their first runs on the super-soft tire, and it was Felipe Massa who was the surprise suspect to sit on provisional pole. His lap of 1:46.007 saw him edge ahead of Ricciardo and Alonso, whilst Hamilton and Rosberg could go just sixth and seventh respectively on their first runs. However, with just three-tenths of a second separating the top seven, pole was by no means a foregone conclusion.

Kimi Raikkonen’s hopes of a first pole position of the year were dashed when he was told to pull his car back into the pits due to a problem. Ultimately, the Finn has to settle for seventh place, whilst teammate Fernando Alonso could not keep up his FP3 form and had to settle fifth place on the grid.

Daniel Ricciardo was the first to beat Massa in the race for pole position, but he eventually finished third as Mercedes rose to the front once again. Rosberg beat the Australian driver by one-tenth of a second and looked to have pole position in the bag, only for Hamilton to charge through and snatch pole by just 0.007s – the closest margin we have seen this season.

The result will be a huge boost for Hamilton as he looks to close the gap to Rosberg at the top of the drivers’ championship. However, the Briton will know that with his teammate starting alongside him on the front row, he will face a tough challenge under the lights in Singapore on Sunday.

Further back, Red Bull will be pleased with its efforts to lock out the second row of the grid, whilst Ferrari failed to keep up its practice form, leaving Fernando Alonso as the top car in fifth place and Kimi Raikkonen in seventh. Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas finished sixth and eighth for Williams, whilst Kevin Magnussen and Daniil Kvyat rounded out the top ten.

The stage is set for a thrilling Singapore Grand Prix on Sunday, so be sure to join us from 7.30am ET on NBCSN and Live Extra for all of the action from Marina Bay.

2023 SuperMotocross Power Rankings after Houston: Eli Tomac retakes 450 lead, Hunter Lawrence tops 250s

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After his Anaheim 2 crash, Eli Tomac was surprised he was not injured, but despite getting knocked down momentarily, he picked himself up, rode to last week’s win and reascended to the top of the SuperMotocross Power Rankings after Houston. This is the third time in three weeks Tomac has topped the rankings.

SuperMotocross Power Rankings Houston
Jason Anderson has back-to-back podiums to his credit and sits second in the Power Rankings. – Feld Motor Sports/MX Sports Pro Racing/Align Media

Last week, Tomac finished second in his heat before winning the Main – and that translated to near-perfect points in the Power Rankings, which award 100 for a win in the feature and 90 for a heat victory. Tomac’s average was marred by the Houston accident when he finished 13th in that heat before settling just outside the top five in overall standings. Racing is about bouncing back and last year’s Supercross and Motocross champion Tomac did just that as he chases a third consecutive title.

Jason Anderson earned his second consecutive podium finish with a third at Houston. He momentarily rolled past Aaron Plessinger into second during a restart following an accident involving Dylan Ferrandis and held that position for four trips around the track until he was tracked down by Chase Sexton. Afterward Anderson faded and finished 12 seconds off the pace, but along with a heat win, he easily leapfrogged Ken Roczen and Cooper Webb, who struggled in the fourth race of the season.

MORE: Eli Tomac rebounds from Anaheim 2 crash with Houston win

Webb held his position by passing Roczen in NBC’s SuperMotocross Power Rankings after Houston. Webb has been solid in 2023 with a worst moto result of seventh in the first Triple Crown race at Anaheim 2, but in order to be considered a solid challenger to Tomac he needs to win either a heat or main this week in Tampa.

Roczen was involved in the incident that sidelined Ferrandis in Houston. Racing for eighth at the time, his bike may have sustained some damage when Ferrandis landed on his back tire, but he was not overly impressive in his heat either with a fifth-place finish. That was enough to drop him three positions in the standings, but he still has Tomac in sight.

After his disappointing heat in San Diego when he crashed and sustained enough damage to place him last, Sexton has roared back. He won the overall in Anaheim 2’s Triple Crown format and narrowed the points’ gap slightly on Tomac. Last week he yarded the field in his heat race and won by a wide margin. A modest start in the Main kept him from getting to Tomac’s back wheel early in the Houston round, and he lost a little ground in the championship.

450 Rankings

This
Week
Rider Power
Avg.
Last
Week
Diff.
1 Eli Tomac
[3 Main; 3 Heats Wins]
85.20 2 1
2 Jason Anderson
[2 Heat Wins]
82.60 4 2
3 Cooper Webb 82.10 3 0
4 Ken Roczen 81.70 1 -3
5 Chase Sexton
[1 Main; 3 Heat Wins]
80.70 6 1
6 Dylan Ferrandis 71.60 5 -1
7 Aaron Plessinger 71.30 8 1
8 Justin Barcia 70.10 7 -1
9 Justin Cooper 68.00 NA
10 Adam Cianciarulo 67.40 9 -1
11 Joey Savatgy 61.20 10 -1
12 Marvin Musquin 61.00 10 -2
13 Malcolm Stewart
[1 Heat Win]
58.75 11 -2
14 Christian Craig 57.20 13 -1
15 Colt Nichols 56.50 14 -1
16 Dean Wilson 49.30 15 -1
17 Justin Hill 39.67 18 1
18 Shane McElrath 36.33 22 4
19 Brandon Scharer 34.00 21 2
20 Logan Karnow 33.33 19 -1

Supercross 450 Points


The 250 East division debuted in Houston and with only one race – and therefore no chance yet to stumble – three of their riders jumped to the top of the chart.

Hunter Lawrence had a perfect week with wins in both his main and heat. It wasn’t without drama, however, as he was forced to jump wide early in the feature to avoid contact with Tom Vialle, who was making his Supercross debut. Without a former 250 champion in the field, it is guaranteed someone new will grace the top of the box at Salt Lake City after the season-ender and it looks like it’s going to be Lawrence’s to lose.

SuperMotocross Power Rankings Houston
Jordon Smith’s last podium before Houston came four years ago in Detroit. – Feld Motor Sports/MX Sports Pro Racing/Align Media

It was more than four years ago that Jordon Smith scored his last Supercross podium in Detroit. Despite finishing second that afternoon, he was battling a wrist injury that eventually sidelined him. More injuries have followed, but Smith was a favorite to win the title in 2019 and he’s shown how well he can ride when he’s healthy.

Debuting third in the Houston SuperMotocross Power Rankings, Max Anstie moved from the 450 class last year to 250s in 2023 and the change has gone better than he anticipated. Finishing second in both his heat and main, Anstie was edged by Smith because he finished second behind that rider in their heat. That is Anstie’s first top-10 since finishing sixth at Southwick, Massachusetts last year on his 450. In that race, he scored fifth-place results in both motos.

Supercross 250 Points

Haiden Deegan proved the hype surrounding his graduation into the 250 class was well deserved and he landed fourth in his division and fifth overall in the SuperMotocross Power Rankings. In his first professional Supercross race, he finished fourth in his heat. In a field with twice the talent, he finished fourth again in the main. At Houston, he balanced aggression with patience. Now that he has a taste of that success, everyone will be watching him closely at Tampa to see if he can continue tiptoeing on the line.

Michael Mosiman, Jeremy Martin, and Vialle are tied for fifth in the 250 East division and seventh overall.

Vialle is the most notable of these three because he challenged for a podium position during the Main before making a mistake and falling in a turn. Significantly, this was not only his 250 debut, but his first time in Supercross. As with Deegan, he has generated a lot of attention for the coming weeks.

250 Rankings

This
Week
Rider Power
Avg.
Last
Week
Diff.
1 Hunter Lawrence – E
[1 Main; 1 Heat Win]
95.00 NA
2 Jordon Smith – E
[1 Heat Win]
90.50 NA
2 Max Anstie – E 90.50 NA
4 Jett Lawrence – W
[2 Main; 2 Heat Wins]
89.13 1 -3
5 Haiden Deegan – E 81.50 NA
6 Cameron McAdoo – W
[1 Heat Win]
77.63 2 -4
7 Mitchell Oldenburg – W 77.00 3 -4
7 Michael Mosiman – E 77.00 NA
7 Jeremy Martin – E 77.00 NA
7 Tom Vialle – E 77.00 NA
11 Stilez Robertson – W
[1 Heat Win]
76.75 4 -7
12 Chance Hymas – E 74.50 -12
13 Levi Kitchen – W
[1 Main Win]
73.75 5 -8
14 RJ Hampshire – W
[3 Heat Wins]
70.00 6 -8
15 Max Vohland – W 69.29 7 -8
16 Cullin Park – E 66.00 NA
17 Chris Blose – E 65.50 NA
18 Derek Kelley – W 63.75 8 -10
19 Enzo Lopes – W 63.25 9 -10
20 Pierce Brown – W 61.29 10 -10

* The NBC Power Rankings assign 100 points to a Main event winner and 90 points for each Heat and Triple Crown win, (Triple Crown wins are included with heat wins below the rider’s name). The points decrement by a percentage equal to the number of riders in the field until the last place rider in each event receives five points. The Power Ranking is the average of these percentage points over the past 45 days.

POWER RANKINGS AFTER WEEK 3 AT ANAHEIM 2: Consistency makes Ken Roczen king
POWER RANKINGS AFTER WEEK 2 AT SAN DIEGO: Roczen moves up, Chase Sexton falls
POWER RANKINGS AFTER WEEK 1 AT ANAHEIM 1: Eli Tomac, Jett Lawrence gain an early advantage