Maldonado has rare shot to extend points-scoring streak in Brazil


You may wonder how it’s possible to tie the 1989 cult baseball classic “Major League” in with a modern-day Formula One driver.

However, it is possible by virtue of one smart-alecky line from Bob Uecker as announcer Harry Doyle when he wisecracks about the then-hapless Cleveland Indians: “Well, the Indians with a chance to extend their winning streak to… two!”

Lotus’ Pastor Maldonado is in that same situation heading into Brazil this weekend, with a chance to extend his points-scoring streak to… two.

Ordinarily this wouldn’t be that big a deal, except for the fact that in Maldonado’s four seasons in F1, it’s something he’s only achieved once in 74 career starts.

In 2012, Maldonado finished fifth at Abu Dhabi and followed it up with ninth in the first U.S. Grand Prix at Austin. When it came to the season finale in Brazil that year, the then-Williams driver was unable to make it three in a row.

But 2012 was a fascinating season for Maldonado because thus far, it’s been the only season of four he’s scored points in more than one race (five total Grands Prix, including his Spanish Grand Prix win). In both 2011 (10th at Spa) and 2013 (10th at Hungary), Maldonado has scored only once all year, and he’s now equaled that with a ninth at Austin this past weekend.

He has that chance to go two-in-a-row this weekend at a track that, as mentioned above, he has yet to score. He’s optimistic racing in South America, and not far from his native Venezuela, that he’ll be able to deliver once more in the Lotus E22.

“Interlagos may not have the most impressive infrastructure but it is a great, historic circuit,” he said in the team’s pre-race advance. “I really love the track, the atmosphere and the people – there will be a lot of Venezuelans there! Hopefully we can have a great race and put on a good show for the South American fans.”

With setup balance hard to achieve – Maldonado said ideally, you’d want Monza-spec for one part of the lap and Hungaroring-spec for another – he thinks a wet race would spice things up even more.

“We’ve seen some epic races in Interlagos where wet weather has been a factor, and thunderstorms are present. We all know the amount of rain which can fall in Sao Paulo and the Interlagos track even has grooves cut into it to help the water flow off the track!” he said. “It’s a challenging circuit in the dry and even more so in the wet, but there have been some amazing races over the years because of this. Whatever the weather, we’ll be pushing for the best result possible.”

And if said result is in the top-10 for the second straight race, it will be a somewhat monumental occurrence.

Seattle Supercross by the numbers: Three riders separated by 17 points


Three riders remain locked in a tight battle with 17 points separating the leader Cooper Webb from third-place Chase Sexton and these are only a few Supercross numbers to consider entering Seattle.

Seattle Supercross numbers
Chase Sexton made a statement in Detroit with his second win of 2023. – Feld Motor Sports

For the fifth time in 10 rounds. Sexton, Webb, and Eli Tomac shared the podium in Detroit. Between them, the trio has taken 23 podiums, leaving only seven for the remainder of the field. Jason Anderson, Ken Roczen and Justin Barcia have two each with Aaron Plessinger scoring the other.

Webb and Tomac won the last four championships with two apiece in alternating years, but they were not one another’s primary rival for most of those seasons. On the average, however, the past four years show an incredible similarity with average points earned of 21.0 for Webb and 21.3 for Tomac. With five wins so far this season, Tomac (23 wins) leads Webb (19) in victories but Webb (43) edges Tomac (41) in podium finishes during this span.

Tomac has won two of the last three Seattle races and those two wins in this stadium are topped only by James Stewart. Fittingly, if Tomac gets a third win this week, he will tie Stewart for second on the all-time wins’ list. Tomac tied Ricky Carmichael for third with 48 wins at Oakland and took sole possession of that spot with his Daytona win.

Sexton still has a lot to say and after winning last week in Detroit, he is speaking up. The Supercross numbers are against him entering Seattle, however, because a points’ deficit this large after Round 10 has been erased only once. In 1983 David Bailey was 47 points behind Bob Hannah, and like Sexton he was also in third place. Bailey took the points’ lead with one race remaining.

The seven points Sexton was penalized last week for jumping in a red cross flag section in Detroit could prove extremely costly.

In fact, it has been a series of mistakes that has cost Sexton the most. In the last two weeks, he lost 10 points with a 10th-place finish to go with his penalty. Erase those, and all three riders hold their fate in their hands.

Plessinger’s heartbreak in Detroit is still fresh, but the upside of his run is that was his best of the season and could turn his fortunes around. Prior to that race, he led only seven laps in three mains. He was up front for 20 laps in Detroit with five of those being the fastest on the track.

Last week’s win by Hunter Lawrence tied him with his brother Jett Lawrence for 17th on the all-time wins’ list. With the focus shifting to 250 West for the next two rounds, Jett has a great opportunity to pull back ahead. The real test will be at the first East / West Showdown in East Rutherford, New Jersey on April 22.

Last Five Seattle Winners

2022: Eli Tomac
2019: Marvin Musquin
2018: Eli Tomac
2017: Marvin Musquin
2014: Ryan Villopoto

2022: Hunter Lawrence
2019: Dylan Ferrandis
2018: Aaron Plessinger
2017: Aaron Plessinger
2014: Cole Seely

By the Numbers

Anaheim 2
San Diego

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Chase Sexton wins in Detroit, penalized seven points