Tire degradation costs Bottas five places on final two laps

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Valtteri Bottas will be leaving the Marina Bay Street Circuit tonight thinking of what could have been after losing five positions in the final two laps of the Singapore Grand Prix to eventually finish the race in 11th place.

The Finn had qualified eighth in Singapore and was running well until the dying stages of the race, when his tires – 36 laps old by the end – began to fade. This allowed Jean-Eric Vergne, Kimi Raikkonen, Sergio Perez, Nico Hulkenberg and Kevin Magnussen to all find a way past and leave the Williams driver outside of the points.

This result marks the first time in 2014 that Bottas has finished a race outside of the points, with his only other non-score the result of a retirement in Monaco.

“After the safety car we moved to a two-stop strategy and in the end the tires just weren’t able to hold on,” Bottas explained after the race. “On the final lap I had a big lock up in the rear tires when I was defending and after that I had no grip and cars could easily sweep past.

“I also had an issue with the power steering in the final stint and this made it harder to keep the tires alive as I lost a lot of feeling in the car. If I hadn’t had this issue then I might have been able to go until the end.”

Despite the result, Bottas was still pleased with how the weekend went as Williams stayed ahead of Ferrari in the race for third place in the constructors’ championship.

“Obviously I’m disappointed not to finish in the points but we can take a lot of positives from this weekend as we looked competitive at a track that is less suited to our car and we have kept third place in the constructors’ championship,” the Finn said.

In the sister Williams, Felipe Massa managed to come home in fifth place, continuing his good form from the Italian Grand Prix two weeks ago.

Travis Pastrana leads flag-to-flag in Nitro Rallycross as the series returns to America

Pastrana Nitro Rallycross
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Travis Pastrana waited until the final trip around ERX Motor Park to take his Joker Lap – a longer way around the course that all drivers must do at least once in a race – and came out cleanly to win his first Nitro Rallycross race of 2022. With this win, Pastrana is the third driver to visit Victory Lane in the first three rounds of the 2022-23 season.

“This is the closest to a motocross track,” Pastrana told Katie Osborne on Peacock. “Thank you so much for a beautiful facility. It’s been a rough start to the season and I’m so thankful to be back out here. We had a good run in the side-by-side and now for this. This is much needed.”

Another thing needed was the sense of improvement. And Pastrana earned that affirmation each time he completed a lap around the course.

“I get my lap times read out and they said ‘fastest time of the week,’ ‘fastest time of the week’ (each time around) ” Pastrana said. “This is really special. We’re a long way behind in the championship, but welcome to America.”

In a pre-race press conference, Pastrana said that as Nitro Rallycross heads back to America, it was time for an American to win and he made good on his promise. Pastrana took the early lead over Robin Larsson and let the back of his Subaru hang out, taking risks he might not otherwise take if not for his need to win.

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Larsson’s second-place finish completed a perfect sweep of the podium in three rounds. In fact, he has not yet finished worse than second after winning the opening round at Lydden Hill in the United Kingdom and finishing second at Strangnas in Sweeden.

Fraser McConnel rounded out the podium for his best result of the season. He finished fourth in each of the first two rounds.

Last year, Pastrana finished second in this race to Scott Speed before narrowly edging his teammate for the championship.

Andreas Bakkerud crashed in prelims, but rebounded to finish just off the block in fourth. Bakkerud won the second round ahead of his teammate Larsson.

Oliver Bennett completed the top five.

Minneapolis is the first of three rounds scheduled in the United States. Next on the schedule is Glen Helen, Calif. on Octo 30 and then Phoenix at Wild Horse Pass on November 12th. Nitro Rallycross will then head to Saudi Arabia in December to continue their 2022-23 season.