United States GP Paddock Notebook – Sunday


AUSTIN – Lewis Hamilton’s march to the 2014 Formula 1 drivers’ championship continued at the Circuit of The Americas today as he managed to catch and pass title rival Nico Rosberg to clinch his third victory in the United States.

Yet again, Rosberg was made to look decidedly average by his teammate. The German driver simply had no answer for Hamilton’s pace, failing to hold a candle to him once he had been overtaken on lap 25 of the race. The margin at the line may only have been four seconds, but the impact of this victory is far, far greater.

This was perhaps the best of the three United States Grands Prix that have been held at the Circuit of The Americas (in terms of on-track action, that is). Not only did we have a close and well-fought fight for the race win, but throughout the field there were a number of great battles. Although the grid was two teams light, Austin still threw up a fantastic grand prix weekend that saw the tide take yet another turn in the favor of Lewis Hamilton.




Five stars for Lewis in the Lone Star State

With five wins on the bounce, Lewis Hamilton has entered unchartered territory. Only six other drivers have won five in a row before, and only two – Sebastian Vettel and Michael Schumacher – have won more than 10 across the course of a season. Quite simply, Lewis is making history.

Once again in Austin, he proved his champion credentials, overhauling Rosberg after lagging behind at the start as the medium tire came towards him. Ultimately, Rosberg was rather forgettable today. He kept Hamilton is sight, but lacked that extra gusto that the Briton has in abundance. Nico is yet to come from behind to win a race against Lewis this year.

The falsity of double points is clear

Without the utterly ridiculous double points race in Abu Dhabi at the end of the year, Hamilton would be poised to sew up the drivers’ championship in Brazil next weekend. He leads by 24 points, and would ordinarily need to carry a lead of 25 into the final race of the year to be champion.

Of course, now that figure is 50, even if he wins in Brazil and Rosberg retires, he could still end up losing the title. Nico’s only hope is that Lewis hits reliability problems late in the season – he’s got little else going for him at the moment.

Ricciardo continues to show Seb up

Another great display from Daniel Ricciardo in Austin today. The Australian driver rallied from a poor start to pass Kevin Magnussen, Fernando Alonso, Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa en route to his eighth podium finish of the season. It was another vintage display of great racecraft from Ricciardo, who is showing experience far beyond his three years in the sport.

As for Vettel? On paper, it seems that he did a good job, jumping from the pit lane at the start to P7 at the flag and overtaking seven cars in the final four laps. However, the German driver was still in a miserable mood after the race, complaining that he was too slow in the first stint and that his late overtaking spree was “fake”. The agitation at Red Bull is perhaps beginning to show as their glorious marriage enters its final three races in 2014.

Where is Kimi?

That was the question Lotus asked last year, and it’s very true once again in 2014. Kimi Raikkonen was nowhere today for Ferrari, finishing 13th out of 15 finishers behind both Lotus drivers and a Toro Rosso. The Ferrari F14 T may not be a good car, but still – his performance was simply terrible.

Fernando Alonso kept the Maranello flag flying, albeit barely in sixth place, but he rejected the idea of it being a “disaster” in the post-race media session. Instead, he was very unflustered about it – sixth was all they could do, so fair enough. The team will hope for better in Brazil next weekend, although any hopes of catching Williams are all but over.

Thank you, COTA

Ahead of the race start, I took some time to venture out into the general admission areas and meet some of the fans who had come to this weekend’s race in Austin. As I wrote in my three features earlier this week, the American market is being cracked with this race, and the wonderful turnout proved it. The sport is being embraced in the United States, and the wonderful facility that is the Circuit of The Americas put on a show once again. So thank you, COTA, for rocking it once again this weekend.


That’s all from the paddock in Austin. We’ll be bringing you more reports and features as the fallout continues over the next few days, and the Paddock Notebook will return for the final race of the season in Abu Dhabi.

Jett Lawrence wins Hangtown Pro Motocross, remains perfect in 450s

Lawrence Hangtown Motocross
Align Media

Jett Lawrence remains perfect in the Pro Motocross series after recording another perfect round at Hangtown in Rancho Cordova, California. In his second start on a 450, Lawrence won his second National with his fourth consecutive moto win. It is getting increasingly difficult to find the right superlatives to describe the exploits on the reigning 250 West Supercross champion.

“The track was so brutal out there,” Lawrence told NBC Sports Jason Thomas. “The bike handles amazing even when it’s not too friendly. You had to be really patient; you couldn’t take too much. I didn’t eat enough before that second moto. I kind of lost energy halfway through, but luckily I could use technique and balance and just keep that flow going.”

Lawrence leaves Hangtown with an 18-point advantage over Ferrandis in the 450 Motocross standings, but perhaps more importantly, he climbed to 19th in the SuperMotocross standings and should he stay there, he has an automatic invitation to the Main events in the SMX Championship.

“On this track, you just have to manage,” Lawrence continued. “If you try to take too much and not respect the track, it will bite you very quickly. It was humbling on the first few laps. I got kicked on the cutout at the start of the third section, the tabletop going to the left. I had to get my focus because the boys were coming.”

Still in his first few races since returning from a concussion suffered at Houston in the Supercross series, Dylan Ferrandis finished second with results of third in Moto 1 and second in Moto 2. While Ferrandis was happy with the result, he remains hopeful that he will contend for victory shortly.

“The first moto was very hard for my physically, Ferrandis said. “I got arm pump and when you get arm pump your body gets tired. But I’m very happy because we made a big change for the second moto. We tried stuff every session today and in the last moto the bike was much better, but unfortunately I wasn’t sure what I could do with this bike because the track was very hard and difficult to pass.”

RESULTS: How they finished in the 450 Overall at Hangtown

With the rash of injuries at the end of the Supercross season, the podium was filled with heartwarming stories. Cooper Webb returned to action last week in Pala and failed to make the podium. He is steadily improving with a third-place finish in Hangtown. after finishing with a 4-2.

“It’s incredible what seven days can do,” Webb said. “Last week I felt like I was going to get lapped in the second moto. This week, I could see the leader. It was nice. I fought hard, learned how to suffer again there and that felt nice.

Moto 2 wasn’t pretty for Lawrence. On several occasions in the opening laps, he nearly high sided as he rode the front wheel through the ruts. The reward was worth the risk. By the halfway point, Lawrence had 4.5-second lead over Webb, who was embroiled in a tight three-rider battle for second with his teammate Aaron Plessinger pressuring him and Ferrandis ready to take advantage if those made contact.

It took 20 minutes for Plessinger to get around Webb and once he did, he trailed Lawrence by four seconds. But then, with three minutes remaining, Plessinger crashed and had difficulty restarting the bike, handing second back to Webb who has seven seconds behind Lawrence. Plessinger fell to fourth with results of third and sixth.

Adam Cianciarulo rounded out the top five with a 5-4.

Last week Hunter Lawrence won the overall with a 3-1. He repeated that feat in Hangtown in an exact replica of his Fox Raceway results last week. In Moto 1, Lawrence got off to a slow start and lost 10 seconds in the opening laps. Forced to overcome a sixth-place position in the race at the end of Lap 1, he once again caught the riders ahead of him when the field hit heavy traffic. For the second week, scored another 3-1 for the Hangtown National win.

“The start was crucial’ I knew I had to go,” Lawrence told NBC Sports’ Jason Thomas. “They laid a lot of water down, so I didn’t want to be behind any longer than [I was]. First hot one of the year, was a bit of a wakeup call, so I’m happy to get out of here safe and healthy.”

Lawrence’s third-place finish in Moto 1 featured a fierce battle for final spot on the podium when he caught Spain’s Guillem Farres and France’s Tom Vialle. With Lawrence hailing from Australia, the international nature of the sport was highlighted.

Lawrence left Hangtown with a 10-point advantage over Haiden Deegan in the Pro Motocross championship battle.

Click here for 250 overall results

Justin Cooper finished second in both motos to finish second overall. Hangtown represented a huge improvement from Fox Raceway where he finished fifth overall with a 5-4 finish in the two motos. Cooper pressured Haiden Deegan in the second half of Moto 1 and he earned the holeshot in the second moto and stayed within three seconds of Lawrence in that race.

“He was following me a little bit, checking out my lines, seeing where he was better,” Cooper said. “It’s disappointing to give up the lead like that but it was way better than last weekend. I will definitely take two seconds. I want to be on the top of the step. I feel like I get close to the top step but I never get it done. That’s building up the frustration – the fire. I really want to get one of these wins, so it’s time to start digging.”

Haiden Deegan earned the first holeshot of his career in Moto 1 and rode away from the field, building a four-second lead in the opening laps. Cooper trimmed the lead at the halfway point and for a while it leveled off at two seconds. Then Cooper made another charge with three to go and closed to within a second. Deegan was biding his time, however.

“I was saving a little. I knew at the end Justin was going to try and put a charge on. I let him get up close and then sent it super hard at the end to break him a little at the end.”

Deegan’s first moto win comes in only his fourth National and he remains perfect in regard to podiums this year.

“This was a dream since I was a little kid, to win,” Deegan said. “And in my fourth race, it’s gnarly. I was just sending it. I was getting a little tired at the end becasue I left my mouth open the whole time. It’s unreal; I’m so hyped. I wanted to win bad and I proved it to you guys.”

Chaos erupted in turn 1 in Moto 2 Jeremy Martin went and another rider ran over his arm. Michael Mosiman crashed further down the track on that same lap. Both riders were helped off course by the Alpinestars Medical team.

2023 Motocross Race Recaps

Fox Raceway: Jett Lawrence wins in first 450 start

2023 Supercross Race Recaps

Salt Lake City: Chase Sexton ends the season with win
Denver: Chase Sexton wins, takes points’ lead with Eli Tomac injury
Nashville: Chase Sexton keeps hope alive; Cooper Webb out
New Jersey: Justin Barcia wins muddy race; first in two years
Atlanta: Chase Sexton is back in the championship picture
Glendale: Eli Tomac wins 51st, breaks tie with James Stewart
Seattle: Eli Tomac wins and ties Webb for first
Detroit: Chase Sexton inherits win after Aaron Plessinger falls
Indianapolis: Ken Roczen gets first win in more than a year
Daytona: Eli Tomac extends Daytona record with seventh win
Arlington: Cooper Webb wins for second time, closes to two of Tomac
Oakland: Eli Tomac ties Ricky Carmichael with 48 wins
Tampa: Cooper Webb gets first 2023 win
Houston: Eli Tomac bounces back from A2 crash to win third race of 2023
Anaheim 2: Triple Crown produces new winners Chase Sexton, Levi Kitchen
San Diego: Eli Tomac, Jett Lawrence double down
Anaheim 1: Eli Tomac wins opener for the first time

More SuperMotocross coverage

Chase Sexton is out for Hangtown
Enzo Lopes re-signs with Club MX for 2024
Record Supercross attendance reported in 2023
SuperMotocross Power Rankings after Pala
Results and points after Pala
Jett Lawrence wins Pala in his first MX start
450 Champion Chase Sexton takes back what he gave away
250 West Supercross champion Jett Lawrence ends dream career
250 East Supercross champion Hunter Lawrence overcomes doubt and injury