Hamilton on pole for season-opening Australian Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton will start tomorrow’s season-opening Australian Grand Prix from pole position after finishing fastest in the first qualifying session of the year in Melbourne on Saturday.

After topping final practice earlier in the day, Hamilton carried his form through all three stages of qualifying by posting the fastest time, with an eventual pole lap of 1:26.327.

MORE: Watch full qualifying replay

Rosberg was forced to settle for second place in the final standings, finishing almost six-tenths of a second behind his teammate after a scrappy qualifying session. Felipe Massa won the battle to be ‘best of the rest’ behind Mercedes, qualifying third ahead of Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen of Ferrari.

Q1 began in earnest at Albert Park with rookie drivers Carlos Sainz Jr and Max Verstappen among the first out on track, but the same could not be said of Manor. Despite its best efforts, the team was unable to complete a single lap in either practice or qualifying, meaning that neither of its cars will start the race on Sunday.

Despite setting the early pace on the soft compound tire, Ferrari had no answer for Mercedes’ pace come the checkered flag in Q1. Hamilton and Rosberg were able to go P1 and P2 on the medium compound despite the pace deficit, proving the pace of the W06 Hybrid.

With the Manor cars already out, just three more cars would be eliminated in Q1. Daniil Kvyat encountered more problems with his Renault engine, meaning that he could only get out on track in the final five minutes of the session. The Russian managed to produce a lap good enough for P13 in the classification, though, securing his place in Q2.

Jenson Button may have sounded cynical when he said on Thursday that anything better than P18 would be an achievement for McLaren, but he was in fact very accurate. Problems with the power being produced by the Honda engine meant that neither Button nor his teammate Kevin Magnussen could get out of Q1, leaving them P17 and P18 on the grid respectively. Marcus Ericsson of Sauber completed the dropzone, finishing 16th.

Looking to continue his form from FP3 earlier on Saturday, Hamilton was quick to turn up the heat once again in Q2 by posted a fastest lap of 1:26.893 early on. Although Rosberg was able to get within three-tenths of his teammate, the German driver was forced to settle for P2 once again.

A late flurry of times saw the final positions inside the top ten change hands quickly, but Lotus was the eventual beneficiary, getting both of its cars into Q3. Carlos Sainz Jr. put in a great display to finish P8 in the standings, but teammate Max Verstappen was less fortunate, sitting P12 in the final standings after making a mistake on his final Q2 lap.

Hamilton sent out an early statement of intent in Q3 by going a full 2.4 seconds quicker than the rest of the field with his first lap time. Although Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel was able to halve this deficit, in the sister Mercedes, Rosberg made a rare qualifying error. By going off at the second to last corner, the German ruined his first timed lap, handing provisional pole to Hamilton.

When Rosberg did eventually post a lap time, it was still half a second down on Hamilton, but the Briton elected to complete his final lap and find an additional one-tenth of a second to secure the first pole position of the season.

Williams had been due to lock out the second row of the grid, only for a mistake from Valtteri Bottas to leave the Finn down in P6. Sebastian Vettel qualified an excellent fourth for Ferrari on debut behind Felipe Massa, with Kimi Raikkonen fifth.

Home favorite Daniel Ricciardo made the best of a bad situation at Red Bull to qualify seventh, finishing less than two-tenths clear of rookie Toro Rosso driver Sainz. Lotus failed to continue its good form in Q3, qualifying ninth and tenth, but Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado already appear in far better shape in 2015 than they were last year.

At the front though, there is no denying that Mercedes remains the team to beat. What will be most worrying to Rosberg is the gap to Hamilton at the front, but the Briton will only use this as a starting point for his championship bid in 2015.

Be sure to join us from 12:30a ET tomorrow to watch the Australian Grand Prix live on NBCSN and Live Extra.

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

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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