NBCSN’s Diffey, Hobbs preview F1’s 2015 season


NBC Sports Group’s coverage of the 2015 Formula One season begins with streaming coverage Practice 1 of the Australian Grand Prix tonight at 9:30 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Live Extra. Coverage of practice on NBCSN begins tonight (Friday morning) at 12:30 a.m. ET, and NBCSN will provide live coverage of the Australian Grand Prix on Sunday morning at 12:30 a.m. ET.

Full times from the weekend schedule are linked here.

Following are quotes from NBC Sports Group lead F1 play-by-play voice Leigh Diffey and veteran analyst and former racecar driver David Hobbs, previewing the upcoming F1 campaign.


Diffey on expectations in 2015: “It would be a massive surprise if anything changed as far as Mercedes’ dominance is concerned. What they put together last year, in one of the most revolutionary years in Formula One, was incredible. They’re going to be the hare everyone else is chasing. We’ll see who will be the best of the rest, between Ferrari, Red Bull and Williams.”


Hobbs: “I favor Hamilton over Rosberg because I think he’s better. Hamilton is one of the absolute top drivers that we’ve seen in the last decade. In his very first race in Melbourne (in 2007), he qualified fourth, and leapt into second place in the first turn. I really think he has the edge, especially when it comes to racing, over Nico. Not necessarily in qualifying, because Rosberg can turn in some blindingly fast laps. Rosberg doesn’t seem to have that same dominance and determination that Hamilton has in the races.”

Diffey: “There is no doubt that Lewis Hamilton clearly has the psychological advantage over Nico Rosberg, knowing that battle reached its most intense point, and, in the end, he has prevailed. With that said, just simmering away inside Rosberg is this unbelievable determination to prove us all wrong, that he is better than Lewis Hamilton. This is a rematch for Rosberg. I don’t see why we can’t have that amazing rivalry again this year.”


Hobbs: “Sergio Marchionne has changed that team so dynamically. He’s a man who is absolutely determined to succeed, and I think Ferrari will step up the pace enormously. Vettel is a driver not to be messed with. He had a dismal season last year, and I’m not quite sure why. Testing showed he and Raikkonen were a force to be reckoned with. Raikkonen and Vettel should have some wins this year in that Ferrari.”

Diffey: “We’ll see an improved Ferrari team. The way that Ferrari cleaned house makes them feel they have a healthier, restructured team. Vettel’s in a really happy place mentally, following in the footsteps of his hero, Michael Schumacher. Last year, the word you would have used to describe Ferrari was ‘turmoil.’ This year, you get a sense of calm. If it’s calm, then they can get good results.”


Hobbs: “Daniel Ricciardo was an absolute inspiration last year, to all of us. He won all of his races in the last few laps, and made Sebastian Vettel look pretty second-rate. He certainly shows tenacity, but whether Red Bull will have the speed this year is something we just don’t know. (Williams drivers) Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa showed a lot of speed last year. I fully expect Bottas to get his first win this season.”

Diffey: “The future faces of Formula One are Daniel Ricciardo and Valtteri Bottas. They finished third and fourth last year, and although Bottas hasn’t won a Grand Prix yet, you get the feeling that’s not far away. He and Ricciardo were the standouts last year.”


Hobbs: “Again – Alonso seems to have zigged when he should have zagged. The McLaren-Honda does not look like a terribly good duo at the moment. Things can change, and they will because Honda has made their name through engineering. If anyone can pull themselves out of the morass, they can. It seems amazing to me that they performed so badly at winter testing.”

Diffey: “McLaren is out on an island. It’s so unknown. They had a real troublesome testing period with their Honda power unit. They have not even put together a race simulation yet, and they’re going into the first race of 20 for the year. If they get through Melbourne with two cars finishing, it’ll be a miracle.”

2023 SuperMotocross Power Rankings after Seattle: Cooper Webb, Eli Tomac overtake Chase Sexton


Another crash while leading at Seattle dropped Chase Sexton from the top of the NBC SuperMotocross Power Rankings while solid performances by Cooper Webb and Eli Tomac allow them to climb the chart and threaten to make this a two-rider battle with six rounds remaining in the 2023 Monster Energy Supercross season.

SuperMotocross Power Rankings Seattle
Cooper Webb wags his finger at Chase Sexton after winning his heat in Seattle. – Feld Motor Sports

During the race, Webb knew he had ground to make up. Riding behind both Tomac and Sexton early in the Main, he was as far back as fifth on Lap 7 at Seattle. That position would cost him the red plate and give away the advantage he began to build with his first win of the season in Tampa. Sexton is often at his best as he battles from the back and he methodically worked his way through the field. At the end of the feature, he was nearly five seconds off Tomac’s pace, but during the past 45 days, he holds the advantage. A resurgent Tomac that could erase that advantage quickly though.

Tomac struggled in Indianapolis with a neck strain. That contributed to his worst performance of 2023 and his second result outside the top five. He finished third in Detroit two weeks ago, but it was a distant third after finishing off the podium in his heat during that round. In Seattle, it appeared the same thing might happen when Tomac finished third in the prelim behind his two principal competitors Webb and Sexton. The Main was a different story.

Tomac dropped to fourth in the opening laps behind both of his rivals early in the race, but he got around Webb on Lap 2 and kept charging. When Sexton fell to the ground on Lap 11 and dropped to fourth, Tomac was in position to strike. He scored his sixth win of the season to tie James Stewart for second on the all-time wins list. He now shares the red plate with Webb as the rounds wind down.

MORE: Eli Tomac gets rebound win in Seattle

Sexton has the speed, but he lacks the seasoning of Webb and Tomac. He’s pressing hard on every lap and that has bitten him several times this year. Sexton’s mistakes are costing him with a 10th-place finish at Indy, the loss of seven points at Detroit and a fifth in Seattle as the riders he’s battling stood on the podium. No one seriously questions Sexton’s talent or speed, but ultimately the results are what counts.

Justin Barcia is hitting his stride. He advances two positions this week after scoring his fourth consecutive top-five and second podium in that span of races. Barcia finished between sixth and eighth in five consecutive rounds from Anaheim 2 through Arlington, but he’s mostly avoided controversy and that puts him fourth in this week’s SuperMotocross Power Rankings after Seattle.

Jason Anderson had a solid performance in Seattle, but with a fifth-place finish in his heat and fourth in the Main he just keeps losing a little ground to the leaders. The biggest impact to his standing in the NBC Power Rankings is a 10th-place finish in Indianapolis that will take a while to age out of the 45-day formula. He’s tied for fourth in the championship points with Ken Roczen, who sits sixth in the rankings below. It’s important to be the rider “best in class” with Webb, Tomac and Sexton stealing the show.

450 Rankings

Rider Power
1. Cooper Webb 87.77 2 1
2. Eli Tomac 86.23 3 1
3. Chase Sexton 85.77 1 -2
4. Justin Barcia 80.71 6 2
5. Jason Anderson 80.69 4 -1
6. Ken Roczen 80.46 5 -1
7. Aaron Plessinger 75.86 7 0
8. Adam Cianciarulo 71.13 8 0
9. Christian Craig 69.86 9 0
10. Justin Cooper 62.88 10 0
11. Justin Hill 59.86 11 0
12. Dean Wilson 52.86 12 0
13. Josh Hill 49.00 15 2
14. Colt Nichols 48.67 13 -1
15. Shane McElrath 45.62 14 -1
16. Benny Bloss 43.00 16 0
17. Grant Harlan 38.08 20 3
18. Max Miller 37.67 24 6
19. Lane Shaw 36.67 21 2
20. Cade Clason 34.67 19 -1

Supercross 450 Points

The 250 West riders were back in action in Seattle and that gave Jett Lawrence the opportunity to break out of a tie with his brother Hunter Lawrence on the all-time wins list. It also provided Jett the opportunity to take back the top spot in the NBC SuperMotocross Power Rankings after Seattle.

SuperMotocross Power Rankings Seattle
Jett Lawrence regained the top spot overall in the NBC SuperMotocross Power Rankings with a near-perfect race in Seattle. – Feld Motor Sports

Jett has stood on the podium in every race this year with the exception of the second Triple Crown race at Anaheim 2 and that level of perfection gives him bragging rights. Rest assured that while the two brothers have a bond that is unapparelled in motorsports, there is no one they would rather beat. Neither has been particularly successful in Triple Crown rounds this year, however, and Jett could lose his advantage in two weeks in Glendale, Arizona under that format.

Lawrence is now two wins away from capturing the fourth-most wins at this level.

A rivalry is developing between Lawrence and Cameron McAdoo. Tired of losing to the affable Australian, McAdoo pushed the envelope last week in Seattle. He crowded Lawrence in the whoops during their heat race and sent both to the ground. That frustration could bubble over with four rounds remaining. One thing is certain, when these two riders are in proximity on the track, the cameras will be aimed in their direction.

Supercross 250 Points

A little means a lot this season. Finishing second to Lawrence in four of five rounds, RJ Hampshire would be losing ground to the leader no matter what, but an 11th-place finish in the overall at Anaheim 2 places him eighth on the chart below behind two of the 250 West riders and five 250 East competitors.

In the mains, Levi Kitchen has been all over the board with a win, one more top-five, two results on the high side of the single digits and a crash-induced 21st at San Diego. He’s really shown his speed in the heats, however, with a perfect record of top-fives and a win.

Mitchell Oldenburg makes the top five list among West riders with a perfect record of top-10 finishes. He’s heading in the wrong direction, however, falling from ninth overall to 11th after finishing outside the top five in both his heat and the Main last week.

250 Rankings

Rider Power
1. Jett Lawrence – W 90.75 2 1
2. Hunter Lawrence – E 90.43 1 -1
3. Nate Thrasher – E 84.00 3 0
4. Cameron McAdoo – W 80.50 4 0
5. Haiden Deegan – E 78.21 5 0
6. Jeremy Martin – E 78.00 6 0
7. Jordon Smith – E 76.77 7 0
8. RJ Hampshire – W 76.75 10 2
9. Levi Kitchen – W 76.67 8 -1
10. Max Anstie – E 74.43 11 1
11. Mitchell Oldenburg – W 73.67 9 -2
12. Max Vohland – W 72.55 13 1
13. Tom Vialle – E 72.07 12 -1
14. Pierce Brown – W 68.64 19 5
15. Enzo Lopes – W 67.83 17 2
16. Chris Blose – E 67.43 15 -1
17. Chance Hymas – E 67.10 16 -1
18. Michael Mosiman – E 65.80 18 0
19. Stilez Robertson – W 64.45 14 -5
20. Phil Nicoletti – W 59.25 20 0

* The NBC Power Rankings assign 100 points to a Main event winner and 90 points for each Heat and Triple Crown win, (Triple Crown wins are included with heat wins below the rider’s name). The points decrement by a percentage equal to the number of riders in the field until the last place rider in each event receives five points. The Power Ranking is the average of these percentage points over the past 45 days for the 450 class and last 90 days for 250s (because of the split nature of their season).

POWER RANKINGS AFTER WEEK 10 AT SEATTLE: Chase Sexton narrowly leads Cooper Webb
POWER RANKINGS AFTER WEEK 7 AT ARLINGTON: Jason Anderson narrowly trails Tomac
POWER RANKINGS AFTER WEEK 6 AT OAKLAND: Perfect night keeps Tomac first
POWER RANKINGS AFTER WEEK 4 AT HOUSTON: Tomac rebounds from A2 crash, retakes lead
POWER RANKINGS AFTER WEEK 3 AT ANAHEIM 2: Consistency makes Ken Roczen king
POWER RANKINGS AFTER WEEK 2 AT SAN DIEGO: Roczen moves up, Sexton falls
POWER RANKINGS AFTER WEEK 1 AT ANAHEIM 1: Tomac, Jett Lawrence gain an early advantage