Rosberg holds on to beat Hamilton and win Brazilian GP

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Nico Rosberg has claimed his first victory in almost four months today after winning the Brazilian Grand Prix at Interlagos.

The German driver enjoyed a titanic battle with Mercedes teammate and championship rival Lewis Hamilton at the front of the field, with the gap rarely growing beyond one second in the final stages of the race as the Silver Arrows put on a show for the fans in Brazil.

A mistake for Hamilton meant that he trailed his teammate by seven seconds at one point, only for the Briton to reel Rosberg back in and come close to a sixth straight victory before falling short at the flag.

In third place, Felipe Massa completed the podium for Williams, claiming an emotional result at his home grand prix behind the two Mercedes drivers in a dry race at Interlagos.

Despite Bernie Ecclestone suggesting that pole position may not be the best place to be, Rosberg made a very clean getaway from the right-hand side of the grid to hold onto his lead at the start. Hamilton managed to keep ahead of the two Williams drivers as McLaren’s Kevin Magnussen jumped up to sixth place at the expense of Sebastian Vettel. After Sauber made a “technical change” on his car, Adrian Sutil was forced to start from the pit lane, joining at the back of the pack.

The high tire wear meant that early pit stops were in order for the drivers, with Felipe Massa the first of the leaders to pit, taking on new medium compound rubber from third place on lap six. In the sister Williams, Valtteri Bottas followed suit soon after, with race leader Rosberg coming in one lap after the Finn.

This gave Hamilton a chance to post a quick in-lap while Rosberg pitted, but he marginally fell short of his teammate, coming out just behind Rosberg who in turn was stuck in traffic. Rosberg managed to use the traffic to drop Hamilton, though, retaking the lead when Nico Hulkenberg made his belated first stop and enjoying a 2.3 second lead over his teammate once he had moved back up into second place.

As the track temperature continued to rise, tire degradation became a real problem for all of the teams, forcing the drivers to carefully manage their Pirellis and keep their pit wall informed of any issues that may have cropped up. All of the front-runners developed blisters on their front tires, but they still managed to keep up a good pace in light of the problems.

On lap 25, the second round of stops began with Massa once again being the first front-runner to take on a fresh set of tires, but the Brazilian was forced to sit in his box for five seconds due to a stop/go penalty for speeding in the pits earlier in the race.

With his front tires crying enough, Rosberg pitted for a second time, allowing Hamilton to take the lead. The Briton posted the fastest lap of the race, and looked set to remain in the lead after stopping due to his impressive pace, only for an uncharacteristic spin at turn four to deal his hopes of winning the race a serious blow. Once Hamilton had stopped, he trailed Rosberg by seven seconds at the front of the field, facing a big recovery drive to win a sixth straight race.

A slow stop for Valtteri Bottas meant that he dropped out of contention for the podium, while Kimi Raikkonen also saw his hopes of a top three finish go up in smoke when a front jack failure for Ferrari in the pits caused him to drop down the order after an impressive first half of the race. It was a worse situation for Daniel Ricciardo, though, with the Red Bull driver retiring from the race on lap 42 due to a brake problem, ending his 15-race streak of points.

At the front though, Hamilton did not ease the pressure on Rosberg, carving into the gap lap by lap to reduce the margin to just 2.3 seconds by the time of their third and final pit stops. Once again, it was Rosberg who blinked first, diving into the pits on lap 51, giving Hamilton a short window to try and cut the gap to his teammate. The Briton took to the pits just one lap later, and although he was unable to retain the lead, he was within one second of Rosberg at the front of the field.

The chase between the Silver Arrows saw them exchange fastest sector times, with the gap rarely going beyond a few tenths of a second. With ten laps remaining, Rosberg still led, but was having to negotiate the traffic ahead whilst keeping an eye on his mirrors that were full of his teammate.

Both drivers began to struggle with tire wear, leaving them looking for what little grip remained whilst fighting for position. Hamilton continued to be quicker in the first sector, with Rosberg then recovering the time in the final two thirds of the circuit to ensure that he stayed ahead as the laps continued to tick down.

In the end, Hamilton simply couldn’t find a way past his teammate, with Rosberg soaking up all of the pressure to win the race and claim his first victory since the German Grand Prix in July. At the flag, the difference was just 1.4 seconds, but it was enough for Rosberg.

Felipe Massa completed the podium in a rather lonely third, having easily beaten McLaren’s Jenson Button. The British driver will still be pleased with the result, though, having finished ahead of world champions Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso. Kimi Raikkonen eventually crossed the line in seventh ahead of Nico Hulkenberg, Kevin Magnussen and Valtteri Bottas.

As a result, just 17 points will separate Hamilton and Rosberg heading to the final round in Abu Dhabi, and with the momentum from this race win, Rosberg will feel far more optimistic about his championship chances than he did before today’s grand prix.

X44 Racing win 2022 Extreme E championship as Abt Cupra score first race victory

2022 Extreme E Uruguay
Extreme E
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Abt Cupra Racing’s Nasser Al-Attiyah and Klara Andersson scored their first win in the Extreme E Energy X Prix in the 2022 finale in Uruguay as Lewis Hamilton’s X44 Vida Carbon Racing drivers Sebastien Loeb and Cristina Gutierrez survived a chaotic finale to edge the 2021 champion Rosberg X Prix team of Johan Kristoffersson and Mikhaela Ahlin-Kottulinsky, by two points.

“There are so many emotions,” Andersson said in Extreme E’s coverage. “I’ve been waiting for this for so long. In my second race, first full weekend to be at the top of the podium: it’s big.”

Andersson was behind the wheel at the finish.

Rosberg Racing entered the event with a 17-point advantage over X44, but the standings were close enough that four teams remained in contention in Round 5.

“It’s a crucial weekend for us,” Loeb said in Extreme E’s coverage prior to the race. “We are not in the best position to win the championship, but the only thing we can do is try to win the race and score as many points as possible.”

The top two title contenders each crashed in qualification and were relegated to the Crazy Race, Extreme E’s version of the Last Chance Qualifier (LCQ). For the moment, they had the steepest hill to climb, but then the other two championship contending teams, Chip Ganassi Racing and Acciona Sainz Racing failed to advance from their heats.

Only one team advances from the Crazy Race, so the X44 drivers were in a must-win situation to simply keep hope alive.

More: Extreme E 2023 schedule

Ahlin-Kottulinsky and Gutierrez ran wheel to wheel into the first turn at the start of the LCQ.

The Rosberg racer experienced crash damage in that turn that damaged her front steering, but managed to limp back to the pits at the end of her two-lap stint. The team attempted to fix the steering, but incurred a penalty for having too many mechanics in the pit area.

Meanwhile, Gutierrez took the early lead, but knew she would need to sit through a five-second penalty for an incident earlier in the weekend. The female half of the gender equal pair erased the penalty by entering the Switch Zone with a five-second lead before turning the car over to Loeb.

That was all the nine-time World Rally Championship titlist needed to give him the advantage needed to win the Crazy Race.

But the championship was not over yet. X44 Racing needed to finish third or better in the five-car finale to earn enough points for the title and after advancing from the LCQ, they were forced to take the worst grid position.

A chaotic start to the Finale saw Loeb run as high the lead and low as fourth after getting pushed off course during his first lap. And that is how he entered to Switch Zone.

On her first lap, Gutierrez slammed into Molly Taylor. With one lap remaining, X44 and Gutierrez were still in fourth and the title hope was quickly evaporating, but it was announced halfway through the lap that the third-running Andretti United team would suffer a penalty for a Switch Zone infraction. The seven-second deduction for Timmy Hansen braking too late in the zone made the difference in the title.

Coming off a disappointing Copper X Prix when Tanner Foust and Emma Gilmour crossed under the checkers first, but were relegated to fifth by penalty, the McLaren pair scored their first podium of the season in second.