Adrian Sutil’s hopes and dreams of scoring a point today in Austin were dashed on the first lap when he was taken out by Sergio Perez at Turn 15. Coincidentally, it was the second straight year the two drivers collided on the first lap of the United States Grand Prix – difference was last year Perez drove for McLaren and Sutil for Force India. Perez is now with Force India and Sutil with Sauber.
Sutil started ninth, a season-best, for his first Q3 appearance since the 2013 British Grand Prix, as he looked to deliver both his and Sauber’s first points of the year. It was Sauber’s best start of the season, as well.
“Today was a good opportunity for us to score points or really try and have a chance,” Sutil told NBCSN’s Will Buxton in the pits. “Sergio did a silly move in my opinion. I couldn’t see it. Car was completely broken. He almost hit Raikkonen. We’ll keep trying and hope for some points. We need two. I think he should come and see me pretty soon… let’s see what he says.”
Perez has spoke as well, also to Buxton: “It’s really unfortunate. This is one of those races you really want everything to go perfect. Very soon in the race, very early, I got into contact with Sutil. I saw the opportunity. I will take responsibility. I took a gamble and it didn’t work out. Sorry for that. We have some telemetry to prove I was having issues with the brakes. We can explain what happened.”
This brought out the first safety car of the race and caused several pit stops.
Pastor Maldonado, Esteban Gutierrez and Jean-Eric Vergne have just been issued 5-second stop-and-go penalties for speeding behind the safety car.
Watch the USGP on NBC and NBC Sports Live Extra as we speak.
Media and fan attention focused on a controversial run-in between Haiden Deegan and his Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing teammate Jordon Smith during Round 10 of the Monster Energy Supercross race at Detroit, after which the 250 East points’ Hunter Lawrence defends the young rider in the postrace news conference.
Deegan took the early lead in Heat 1 of the round, but the mood swiftly changed when he became embroiled in a spirited battle with teammate Smith.
On Lap 3, Smith caught Deegan with a fast pass through the whoops. Smith briefly held the lead heading into a bowl turn but Deegan had the inside line and threw a block pass. In the next few turns, the action heated up until Smith eventually ran into the back of Deegan’s Yamaha and crashed.
One of the highlights of the battle seemed to include a moment when Deegan waited on Smith in order to throw a second block pass, adding fuel to the controversy.
After his initial crash, Smith fell to seventh on the next lap. He would crash twice more during the event, ultimately finishing four laps off the pace in 20th.
The topic was inevitably part of the postrace news conference.
Smith had more trouble in the Last Chance Qualifier. He stalled his bike in heavy traffic, worked his way into a battle for fourth with the checkers in sight, but crashed a few yards shy of the finish line and was credited with seventh. Smith earned zero points and fell to sixth in the standings.
“I think he’s like fifth in points,” Deegan said. “He’s a little out of it. Beside that it was good, I don’t know. I wasn’t really paying attention.”
Deegan jokingly deflected an earlier question with the response that he wasn’t paying attention during the incident.
“He’s my teammate, but he’s a veteran, he’s been in this sport for a while,” Deegan said. “I was up there just battling. I want to win as much as everybody else. It doesn’t matter if it’s a heat race or a main; I just want to win. I was just trying to push that.”
But as Deegan struggled to find something meaningful to say, unsurprisingly for a 17-year-old rider who was not scheduled to run the full 250 schedule this year, it was the championship leader Lawrence who came to his defense.
“I just want to point something out, which kind of amazes me,” Lawrence said during the conference. “So many of the people on social media, where everyone puts their expertise in, are saying the racing back in the ’80s, the early 90s, when me were men. They’re always talking about how gnarly it was and then anytime a block pass or something happens now, everyone cries about it.
“That’s just a little bit interesting. Pick one. You want the gnarly block passes from 10 years ago and then you get it, everyone makes a big song and dance about it.”
Pressed further, Lawrence defended not only the pass but the decision-making process that gets employed lap after lap in a Supercross race.
“It’s easy to point the finger,” Lawrence said. “We’re out there making decisions in a split millisecond. People have all month to pay their phone bill and they still can’t do that on time.
“We’re making decisions at such a fast reaction [time with] adrenaline. … I’m not just saying it for me or Haiden. I speak for all the guys. No one is perfect and we’re under a microscope out there. The media is really quick to point a finger when someone makes a mistake.”
The media is required to hold athletes accountable for their actions. They are also required to tell the complete story.