The Formula 1 paddock has been rocked by today’s shock announcement that Sebastian Vettel will be leaving Red Bull at the end of this season, and is set to replace Fernando Alonso at Ferrari for 2015.
However, amid all of the drama, we still have the small matter of a qualifying session for the Japanese Grand Prix as Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg continue to fight for the 2014 drivers’ championship at Suzuka today.
You can watch qualifying for the Japanese Grand Prix live on NBCSN and Live Extra from 1am ET today. CLICK HERE to watch via live stream.
In a final practice session that was largely overshadowed by the Vettel news, Lewis Hamilton saw his hopes of enjoying a perfect weekend take a hit when he crashed out in the final few minutes of FP3. The team will have it fixed in time for him to head out in FP1, but it will not have done his hopes of beating Nico Rosberg – who was fastest in final practice – much good.
He may have a lot on his mind, but Vettel will be hoping to get on with the job at hand. He has never finished off the podium at Suzuka, winning the race four times in five attempts. A solid qualifying performance will be necessary today if he is to have a shot of beating the Silver Arrows on Sunday.
With Typhoon Phanfone rapidly approaching, tomorrow’s race is set to be a wet affair, and could even be set to start under the safety car if the downpour is torrential. Pole position is very important today.
All of the action from Suzuka is coming your way from 1am ET on NBCSN and Live Extra. CLICK HERE to watch via live stream.
The knee injury that kept Malcolm Stewart from mounting up for Anaheim 2 will require surgery and he will be sidelined for “an extended duration” of the Monster Energy Supercross season, according to the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna team.
“I just wanted to give you guys an update,” Stewart said on Instagram. “It’s not the news you guys want to hear, but I took a spill last week and hurt my knee pretty bad to the point that we’re going to have to get surgery done.
“I’m definitely bummed out about it; I felt we were riding pretty good and were just now starting to get the ball rolling, but it is what it is.”
Stewart’s season started with high expectations until accidents in the first two rounds left him 15th in the standings.
He ended 2022 on a high note, finishing a career high third in the Supercross standings. He then missed the start of the Pro Motocross season with another knee injury.
The 2023 season appeared to live up to his expectations. Despite back-to-back accidents, Stewart contended for podiums at both Anaheim 1 and San Diego. He won his heat at San Diego.
“It was very tough to receive the news that Malcolm will need to undergo knee surgery,” Nathan Ramsey, Team Manager for the Husqvarna team said in a press release. “He has worked so hard to be in a position to win races this year and I truly believe he was ready.
“The Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing program will support him in every way that we can through his recovery and we can’t wait to get him back on track and back at the races.”
Stewart joins 250 rider Jalek Swoll on the sidelines after he broke an arm in a practice session. Swoll will be relieved by Talon Hawkins beginning this week at Houston, Texas.
A replacement rider has not been announced for Stewart, which means the focus shifts to his 450 teammate Christian Craig, who currently sits 12th in the standings with three top-15s in the opening rounds.