Mercedes celebrates F1 success with “Stars and Cars” homecoming

0 Comments

One week on from Lewis Hamilton’s sensational Formula 1 world championship victory in Abu Dhabi, Mercedes celebrated its incredible success across the course of the 2014 season at its “Stars and Cars” homecoming event in Germany today.

Some 50,000 fans ventured to Mercedes’ home city of Stuttgart for the event on Saturday, with a temporary show run circuit being built to allow the drivers to showcase their cars.

Hamilton and Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg were the stars of the show, celebrating a record-breaking year for Mercedes that saw the German marque win its first F1 championships since the 1950s when Juan Manuel Fangio and Stirling Moss were racing.

Moss was just one motorsport legend to make an appearance at the event, and was joined by Niki Lauda, Hans Herrmann and Klaus Ludwig.

Having enjoying a remarkable turnaround in fortunes in 2014 since switching to Mercedes engines, Williams was also represented in Stuttgart by Valtteri Bottas and test driver Susie Wolff.

Still basking in the glory following his victory in Abu Dhabi, Hamilton was quick to thank all of the fans that made the trip to celebrate Mercedes’ year.

“The reception from the fans here in Stuttgart was absolutely indescribable,” Hamilton said. “I celebrated my first world title with spectators here at Stars & Cars back in 2008, but this year, they have topped even my expectations. The atmosphere was fantastic and a fitting conclusion to this incredible season.

“I never thought in a million years that I would receive such support. Winning this title was the best moment of my life. The team turned in an extraordinary performance, for which I would like to thank all my colleagues in the factories at Brackley, Brixworth and here in Stuttgart. Our progress since last year has been absolutely phenomenal.”

An array of classic cars were on show at the event, including a grand prix racer dating back 100 years from the French Grand Prix.

“This event was the most fitting way to bring to a close this wonderful anniversary season, celebrating 120 years of motorsport and 80 years of the Silver Arrows,” Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff said. “We could not have devised anything better. Stars & Cars gave us the chance to say thank you to our loyal fans for their great support after a long motor racing season.

“It was just brilliant to hear the engines of current and classic Silver Arrows firing up around the Mercedes-Benz museum. Once again this year, Stars & Cars provided a unique blend of modern and classic motor sport.”

Jack Miller wins the MotoGP Japanese Grand Prix as Fabio Quartararo stops his downward points’ slide

0 Comments

Jack Miller ran away with the MotoGP Japanese Grand Prix at Motegi as Fabio Quartararo stopped his downward slide in the championship when a last-lap accident from his closest rival in the standings caused Francesco Bagnaia to score zero points.

Starting seventh, Miller quickly made his way forward. He was second at the end of two laps. One lap later, he grabbed the lead from Jorge Martin. Once in the lead, Miller posted three consecutive fastest laps and was never seriously challenged. It was Australian native Miller’s first race win of the season and his sixth podium finish.

The proximity to his home turf was not lost.

“I can ride a motorcycle sometimes,” Miller said in NBC Sports’ post-race coverage. “I felt amazing all weekend since I rolled out on the first practice. It feels so awesome to be racing on this side of the world.

“What an amazing day. It’s awesome; we have the home Grand Prix coming up shortly. Wedding coming up in a couple of weeks. I’m over the moon; can’t thank everyone enough.”

Miller beat Brad Binder to the line by 3.4 seconds with third-place Jorge Martin finishing about one second behind.

But the center of the storm was located just inside the top 10 as both Quartararo and Bagnaia started deep in the field.

Quartararo was on the outside of row three in ninth with Bagnaia one row behind in 12th. Neither rider moved up significantly, but the championship continued to be of primary importance as Bagnaia put in a patented late-race charge to settle onto Quartararo’s back tire, which would have allowed the championship leader to gain only a single point.

On the final lap, Bagnaia charged just a little too hard and crashed under heavy braking, throwing away the seven points he would have earned for a ninth-place finish.

The day was even more dramatic for the rider who entered the MotoGP Japanese Grand Prix third in the standings. On the sighting lap, Aleix Espargaro had an alarm sound, so he peeled off into the pits, dropped his primary bike and jumped aboard the backup. Starting from pit lane, he trailed the field and was never able to climb into the points. An undisclosed electronic problem was the culprit.

For Quartararo, gaining eight points on the competition was more than a moral victory. This was a track on which he expected to run moderately, and he did, but the problems for his rivals gives him renewed focus with four rounds remaining.

Next week, the series heads to Thailand and then Miller’s home track of Phillip Island in Australia. They will close out the Pacific Rim portion of the schedule before heading to Spain for the finale in early November.

It would appear team orders are not in play among the Ducati riders. Last week’s winner Enea Bastianini made an aggressive early move on Bagnaia for position before the championship contender wrestled the spot back.

In his second race back following arm surgery, Marc Marquez won the pole. His last pole was more than 1,000 days ago on this same track in 2019, the last time the series competed at Motegi. Marquez slipped to fifth in the middle stages of the race, before regaining a position to finish just off the podium.

In Moto2 competition, Ai Ogura beat Augusto Fernandez to close the gap in that championship to two points. Fernandez holds the scant lead. Alonso Lopez rounded out the podium.

Both American riders, Cameron Beaubier and Joe Roberts finished just outside the top 10 in 11th and 12th respectively.