Wolff surprised by Ferrari win, but defends Mercedes strategy calls

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Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff has explained how Sebastian Vettel’s victory for Ferrari in yesterday’s Malaysian Grand Prix took the German marque by surprise, but will only act as an incentive to increase development and up its game in 2015.

Vettel shocked the F1 world by winning the race in Sepang on Sunday, perfecting a two-stop strategy and underpinning it with a solid pace to lead home the three-stopping Mercedes duo of Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg.

Speaking to the media after the race, Wolff admitted that he had not expected Ferrari to catch Mercedes so quickly.

“No, I didn’t,” he said. “We’re always a little bit skeptical about our own advantage. We always believe that we have to keep sharp and to keep developing or we might get caught.

“But to be caught up within two weeks and lose the race is a bit of a surprise. It’s a bit of a wake-up call which is good for us.

“We need to increase the pace of our development. We have everything we need. Maybe put some things on the car earlier than we planned, but there’s no reason to panic.”

Starting from pole position, Hamilton appeared to be in the running to win the race until his final pit stop, when Mercedes fitted the Briton with hard tires instead of mediums, giving him no advantage over Vettel.

Hamilton himself had expected to use mediums, but was informed by the team that the only remaining set was worn after being used in the Q1 stage of qualifying on Saturday.

Wolff defended the strategy that Mercedes used in Malaysia, saying that Ferrari had simply been too good for the German team.

“Today’s strategy wasn’t a gut decision – it is algorithms and lots of scientific research and we add that little bit of racing spirit,” Wolff explained. “Today we relied on information we had over the weekend and what we’ve seen with the Ferrari was better than expected.

“On our own pace we were probably just about right. This is why we were confident that we would catch them at the end, but it just wasn’t enough.”

Saturday’s Supercross Round 5 in Houston: How to watch, start times, streaming info

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The championship race has tightened up as the Monster Energy AMA Supercross Series heads to NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas, for Round 5 of the 2023 season.

With his 450 victory in the Anaheim Triple Crown, Chase Sexton has moved within four points of two-time and defending series champion Eli Tomac.

Jason Anderson is coming off a second place in Anaheim after crashing out of the first two rounds while racing in the top five. Ken Roczen earned his first podium last week since the 2022 season opener and the first for Suzuki since Chad Reed at Detroit in 2019.

Here are the pertinent details for watching Round 5 of the 2023 Supercross schedule at NRG Stadium in Houston on Saturday, Feb. 4, 2023:


(All times are ET)

BROADCAST/STREAMING SCHEDULE: TV coverage of Round 5 will begin Saturday at 8 p.m. ET streaming on Peacock and will re-air Monday, Feb. 6 at 1 a.m. on CNBC. The Race Day Live show (including qualifying) will begin on Peacock at 2:30 p.m. ET.

NBC Sports will have exclusive live coverage of races, qualifiers and heats for the record 31 events in SuperMotocross. The main events will be presented on Peacock, NBC, USA Network, CNBC, and NBC Sports digital platforms.

Peacock will become the home of the SuperMotocross World Championship series in 2023 with live coverage of all races, qualifying, and heats from January to October. There will be 23 races livestreamed exclusively on Peacock, including a SuperMotocross World Championship Playoff event. The platform also will provide on-demand replays of every race.

ENTRY LISTS: 450 division l 250 division

EVENT SCHEDULE (all times ET):

Here are the start times for Saturday, according to the Monster Energy Supercross schedule from the AMA:

2:05-2:15 p.m.: 250SX Group C Qualifying 1
2:20-2:30 p.m.: 250SX Group B Qualifying 1
2:35-2:45 p.m.: 250SX Group A Qualifying 1
2:50-3 p.m.: 450SX Group A Qualifying 1
3:05-3:15 p.m.: 450SX Group B Qualifying 1
3:20-3:30 p.m.: 450SX Group C Qualifying 1
4:20-4:30 p.m.: 250SX Group C Qualifying 2
4:35-4:45 p.m.: 250SX Group B Qualifying 2
4:50-5 p.m.: 250SX Group A Qualifying 2
5:05-5:15 p.m.: 450SX Group A Qualifying 2
5:20-5:30 p.m.: 450SX Group B Qualifying 2
5:35-5:45 p.m.: 450SX Group C Qualifying 2
8:06 p.m.: 250SX Heat 1
8:20 p.m.: 250SX Heat 2
8:34 p.m.: 450SX Heat 1
8:48 p.m.: 450SX Heat 2
9:22 p.m.: 250SX Last Chance Qualifier
9:33 p.m.: 450SX Last Chance Qualifier
9:53 p.m.: 250SX Main Event
10:27 p.m.: 450SX Main Event

TRACK LAYOUT:

Click here to view the track map

HOW TO WATCH SUPERMOTOCROSS WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP SEASON IN 2023Full NBC Sports, Peacock schedule

FINAL 2022 STANDINGS: 450 points standings | 250 East points standings250 West points standings


2023 SEASON RECAPS

ROUND 1: Eli Tomac opens title defense with victory

ROUND 2: Oakland postponed by storms

ROUND 3: Tomac holds off Cooper Webb again

ROUND 4: Chase Sexton wins Anaheim Triple Crown


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