Hamilton fastest as Mercedes impresses again on day three


Lewis Hamilton has continued Mercedes’ late pre-season push by finishing at the top of the timesheets on day three of the final F1 winter test in Barcelona.

The British driver put in a fastest lap time of 1:23.022 to finish two-tenths of a second clear of Williams’ Felipe Massa, who had led for most of the day after running on the super-soft tire just before lunch.

Hamilton proved once again that Mercedes is still the team to beat in 2015, beating Massa’s time despite lapping on the soft compound tire, which is thought to be 1-1.2 seconds slower than the super-soft.

After evaluating their new upgrades on the first two days of the final test in Barcelona, most teams opted to focus on both one-lap pace and race simulations on Saturday. Seven drivers completed over 100 laps, with Kimi Raikkonen finishing Ferrari’s first full race distance of the winter. The Finn ended the day third, 0.254s down on Hamilton at the top.

Mercedes’ day was not without its problems, though. The German marque was limited to just 76 laps in total after an issue on Hamilton’s car prevented the defending world champion from getting back out on track following the lunch break.

There was worse news down at McLaren, though, as Kevin Magnussen could complete just 39 laps before the team opted to end its running. The MP4-30 suffered an oil leak after lunch, bringing the McLaren reserve driver’s first stint in the 2015 car to an early end.

Sauber’s running was also curtailed when Marcus Ericsson stopped out on track in the final hour of running on Saturday. The Swede had posted a fastest lap of 1:24.477 to finish the day in fourth place, but was unable to complete his race simulation as a result of the issue.

Having only debuted the 2015 car on Friday, Nico Hulkenberg was keen to put in plenty of laps for Force India, and finished with the most mileage of any driver on Saturday. The German finished down in seventh place, but with over 150 laps on the board, the team will be hoping that some of the deficit created by the delays has been made up.

Carlos Sainz Jr. brought his winter testing programme to a close on Saturday by finishing fourth for Toro Rosso, but his hopes of a trouble-free day were ruined when his car stopped at turn three with 15 minutes remaining in the day. Max Verstappen will take over the reins of the STR10 on Sunday.

Romain Grosjean and Daniel Ricciardo both enjoyed solid days in their final runs before the first race of the year, finishing fifth and ninth respectively without suffering any stoppages or problems.

At the top though, it was Lewis Hamilton who followed in the footsteps of teammate Nico Rosberg by turning up the heat for Mercedes on Saturday and gapping the field, leaving little doubt as to where the advantage lies ahead of the new season.

Pre-season testing comes to a close on Sunday in Barcelona, with the first race taking place two weeks later in Melbourne, Australia.

Eli Tomac wins Houston Supercross: Hunter Lawrence takes early 250 East lead


With his 47th career victory and third of the 2023 season in Houston, Eli Tomac closed to within one win of tying Ricky Carmichael for third on the all-time Monster Energy Supercross list.

Tomac rebounded from last week’s crash by earning the holeshot in both his heat and the Main. At the start of the big show, he couldn’t shake Aaron Plessinger in the first four minutes and actually was in the process of losing the lead as a red flag waved for a crash involving Tomac’s teammate Dylan Ferrandis when he overjumped an obstacle and landed on Ken Roczen’s back fender as they raced for eighth.

“That was a tough race,” Tomac told NBC Sports’ Will Christien, referencing his loss to Chase Sexton in the heat. “And honestly, I was just beat down after that heat race and was searching quite a bit and was basically losing speed everywhere. I just rode better, straight up in the Main. I felt better.”

In their heat, Sexton passed Tomac at the two-minute mark and then simply rode away from the field. At the end, he had an almost eight-second gap on Tomac.

“It wasn’t great by any means,” Sexton told Jason Thomas. “I feel like the strengths I had all day, I really lagged in the Main event between the whoop and the sand section. I think I could have walked through it faster. It was still a good ride; it wasn’t great. I expected after the heat race he would be fired up.”

RESULTS: How they finished for the 450 Main in Anaheim 2

Jason Anderson scored his second consecutive pole, but he was not happy to finish third behind the two points’ leaders.

“We should be thankful every time we get to be up here,” Anderson said. “They’re making it tough on me, but all I can do is give my best.”

Tomac had to withstand a red flag and the distant second place finish in his heat to win the Houston Supercross race. In the post-race conference, he indicated that he did not make any changes to the bike and simply rode better.

Aaron Plessinger and Cooper Webb rounded out the top five.

Ferrandis was fitted with a neck brace, but still able to walk to the medical cart. He was still being evaluated by the medical staff as the night came to a close.

In 250s Hunter Lawrence entered the 250 East opener as the consensus favorite to win the championship this year with Christian Craig making the move into 450s and his brother Jett Lawrence in the West division. He answered quickly with a huge lead in Heat 1, but it almost went awry in the Main.

Lawrence got a good start, but he was passed early in the race by two-time MXGP champion (2020, 2022) Tom Vialle, who was making his Supercross debut this week. Vialle passed Lawrence on the first lap. When Lawrence tried to pass him back, Vialle scrubbed speed off a jump and pushed Lawrence wide, over the Tuff Blox.

Championships are made out of Lawrence’s response. He kept his composure and did not overcorrect before methodically working his way to the front.

“We had a little off track excursion. I wasn’t sure how hard across Tom was coming so I thought I’ll just go left, but then saw that was the side of the track. Thankfully I didn’t hit the Tuff Blox and got back on track safely. … Good start; put myself in position.”

Click here for full 250 East Main Results

Making a move from the 450 class to 250s, Max Anstie had immediate success. He finished second in his heat behind Jordon Smith and lined up with a great gate pick. He had to overtake Vialle in the opening laps and lost ground on Lawrence, that cost enough time to keep him from pressing Lawrence. This is Anstie’s first podium in the United States

“Honestly, I’ve dreamed of this for a long time to come up on these steps and man it’s a great feeling. I’ve really enjoyed the day and being on this 250, I feel like an 18-year-old kid. Everyday I’m learning.”

Smith backed up his heat win with a podium finish.

“It feels good to be back up here again,” Smith said. “It’s been a long time; a lot of injuries.”

Haiden Deegan proved the hype surrounding his debut in the 250 class was not unfounded. He finished fourth in his heat to advance to directly into the Main. During the early laps, he was circling the track in a podium position until a minor mistake sent him off the box. In the closing laps, he narrowly made an aggressive pass on Jeremy Martin and narrowly missed the podium with a fourth-place finish.

Martin held on to round out the top five.

Vialle was running in a podium position when went down with a 1:30 left on the clock. He ended his night seventh.

Chance Hymas was also making his 250 debut and scored a top-10 in eighth.

2023 Race Recaps

Anaheim 2: Triple Crown produces new winners Chase Sexton, Levi Kitchen
San Diego: Eli Tomac, Jett Lawrence double down
Anaheim 1: Tomac wins opener for the first time

Houston coverage

Houston by the numbers
Supercross unveils 16th edition of a Ricky Carmichael designed Daytona track
Power Rankings after week 3
Malcom Stewart out for “extended duration” after knee surgery
Haiden Deegan makes Supercross debut in Houston, Justin Cooper to 450s
Talon Hawkins set to relieve injured Jalek Swoll in Houston
Jalek Swoll out for an indefinite period with broken arm
Ken Roczen urgently needed a change
Chris Blose joins Pro Circuit Kawasaki in 250 East opener
Seth Hammaker to miss Houston with wrist injury
Jo Shimoda joins Seth Hammaker, Austin Forkner on injured list