F1: Hamilton pleasantly surprised with Mercedes’ reliability in Jerez

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After their W05’s World Championship run in 2014, Mercedes’ new challenger, the W06, has a very tough act to follow in the 2015 Formula One season.

But during the last four days of F1 testing in Jerez de la Frontera, Spain, Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg’s new ride delivered particularly well in reliability.

As noted earlier today, both Mercedes men put in major mileage in Jerez. Rosberg logged 308 laps over his two days with the W06, while Hamilton logged 207 laps over his two days.

Hamilton, the reigning driver’s champion, turned in 117 laps on Wednesday and was third-quickest on the time sheets behind Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen and Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson.

Wednesday wasn’t altogether smooth for Hamilton, who had a spin and also lost a small amount of track time in the afternoon due to a cooling problem. But at day’s end, he remarked that the Jerez test was a great one for the Silver Arrows.

“[Team technical director] Paddy [Lowe] just said it has been the highest week of mileage,” Hamilton told reporters in Jerez. “That’s a surprise for us all. Nico had good days with over 150 laps on each and I averaged 100 laps, so it’s great to see the work put in by all the guys in the garage.

“We’ve put some decent mileage on the car this week and although you always want more, the reliability has been pretty special.”

As for his perspective on the W06’s performance, Hamilton said driving the car feels much like driving the W05 that he won 11 races in last year. However, he would not determine just how strong it is yet.

“Every single time I’ve driven the car, it never feels good the first time because the car is at its worst – the tires are not good in the cold conditions here in Jerez,” Hamilton explained. “It never feels good the first time, that’s just how it is, but you know that’s the worst it’s going to be this year because it will get better throughout the year.

“Overall the car feels very, very similar to last year, so [it’s] very difficult to pick out any differences.”

But while Mercedes racked up the miles, neither Hamilton or Rosberg finished P1 in times throughout the Jerez sessions. Ferrari led three of the four days (Sebastian Vettel led Sunday and Monday’s testing), and Sauber led on Tuesday with Felipe Nasr.

Hamilton said he didn’t pay much attention to his competition, though.

“I’ve not really been looking to be honest,” he said. “I’ve just been focusing on doing my own thing. I’m sure they’re on different fuel loads to others, and they look like they’re doing shorter, more attacking runs – which we are not.”

Travis Pastrana leads flag-to-flag in Nitro Rallycross as the series returns to America

Pastrana Nitro Rallycross
Barry Chin / Getty Images
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Travis Pastrana waited until the final trip around ERX Motor Park to take his Joker Lap – a longer way around the course that all drivers must do at least once in a race – and came out cleanly to win his first Nitro Rallycross race of 2022. With this win, Pastrana is the third driver to visit Victory Lane in the first three rounds of the 2022-23 season.

“This is the closest to a motocross track,” Pastrana told Katie Osborne on Peacock. “Thank you so much for a beautiful facility. It’s been a rough start to the season and I’m so thankful to be back out here. We had a good run in the side-by-side and now for this. This is much needed.”

Another thing needed was the sense of improvement. And Pastrana earned that affirmation each time he completed a lap around the course.

“I get my lap times read out and they said ‘fastest time of the week,’ ‘fastest time of the week’ (each time around) ” Pastrana said. “This is really special. We’re a long way behind in the championship, but welcome to America.”

In a pre-race press conference, Pastrana said that as Nitro Rallycross heads back to America, it was time for an American to win and he made good on his promise. Pastrana took the early lead over Robin Larsson and let the back of his Subaru hang out, taking risks he might not otherwise take if not for his need to win.

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Larsson’s second-place finish completed a perfect sweep of the podium in three rounds. In fact, he has not yet finished worse than second after winning the opening round at Lydden Hill in the United Kingdom and finishing second at Strangnas in Sweeden.

Fraser McConnel rounded out the podium for his best result of the season. He finished fourth in each of the first two rounds.

Last year, Pastrana finished second in this race to Scott Speed before narrowly edging his teammate for the championship.

Andreas Bakkerud crashed in prelims, but rebounded to finish just off the block in fourth. Bakkerud won the second round ahead of his teammate Larsson.

Oliver Bennett completed the top five.

Minneapolis is the first of three rounds scheduled in the United States. Next on the schedule is Glen Helen, Calif. on Octo 30 and then Phoenix at Wild Horse Pass on November 12th. Nitro Rallycross will then head to Saudi Arabia in December to continue their 2022-23 season.