Hamilton delighted with fifth Chinese GP pole, but remains wary of Ferrari threat

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Lewis Hamilton has made no secret of his delight after securing his fifth pole position at the Chinese Grand Prix during qualifying on Saturday at the Shanghai International Circuit.

The defending Formula 1 world champion edged out Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg by just 0.042 seconds in the final part of qualifying, but it was enough to give him a third pole position of the season.

Hamilton has an impressive record in China, winning the race three times. He has also started on pole position in 2007, 2008, 2013 and 2014, making this his fifth pole position in Shanghai.

“I think China’s continuing to be generally a good circuit for me, a very, very positive vibe here,” Hamilton said. “The car’s handling fantastically well this weekend, a lot better than it was in terms of the whole weekend compared to how it was in Malaysia.

“At the end of the day, this team continues to do an amazing job, the guys back in the factory continue to do a great job to regroup after the last race and bring some improvements for this weekend. I feel very grateful for that.”

Mercedes was upstaged by Sebastian Vettel in Malaysia as the German driver claimed Ferrari’s first win in almost two years ahead of Hamilton and Rosberg.

However, the Briton explained after qualifying that a number of changes have been made to ensure that there is no repeat of this result, although he does remain wary of the threat from behind.

“Obviously it wasn’t the tidiest weekend for us,” Hamilton said, reflecting on Malaysia. “More so for me and my guys on my side of the garage, we just wanted to get our full program in.

“Fortunately we didn’t have any problems so far this weekend, so that’s a big step for us. Obviously we’e got a tough race ahead of us tomorrow.

“Nico is quite quick, and the Ferrari is very good with its long run pace. So it’s not over by any means.”

You can watch the Chinese Grand Prix live on NBCSN and Live Extra from 1:30a ET tomorrow.

Supercross reveals 2023 Daytona track designed by Ricky Carmichael for 16th time

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For the 16th consecutive year, Ricky Carmichael has designed a signature course for the Daytona Supercross race, which will be March 4, 2023.

Eli Tomac took advantage of a last lap mistake by Cooper Webb last year to win a record setting sixth Daytona race – and with that win, he broke out of a tie Carmichael.

Construction on the course will begin two days after the completion of the 65th running of NASCAR’s Daytona 500 when haulers start to unload 7,200 tons of dirt onto the grassy infield in order to create a course 3,300 feet long.

“Ricky has designed yet another incredible course for this year’s Daytona Supercross,” said Daytona International Speedway President Frank Kelleher in a press release. “We’re thrilled to unveil it to the fans, and we can’t wait for them to come out to the track and see it in person.”

MORE: Designs for SuperMotocross finals at zMax Raceway and Chicagoland Speedway

Carmichael’s Daytona course will take center stage for Round 8 of the 17-race Supercross season and the 31-race SuperMotocross season.

The Supercross race coincides with Daytona’s Bike Week, which runs from March 3-12 and includes races from the American Flat Track series and the legendary Daytona 200 speedway race that is contested on the infield road course.

Last year’s course was reported to have 57 obstacles including the return of an over-under bridge. For 2023 the number of obstacles listed in 42, but that will not keep this from being one of the toughest tracks on which the Monster Energy Supercross series will race.

Many of the same elements from last year will be present including sharp turns, vaulted jumps, sand sections and a finish line that aligns with the oval tracks’ start/finish line.

“This year’s Daytona Supercross design is one of the best,” Carmichael said. “It races great for the riders – it’s safe yet challenging and it’s very similar to last year with the split lanes. Daytona is the toughest, gnarliest race on the Supercross circuit, but it’s the most special to win.

“This track is going to produce great racing and I think the riders are going to put on a fantastic display for all our fans.”

While Tomac has dominated this race during his career, Daytona has also been the site of some other dramatic victories. In 2021 Aaron Plessinger scored his first career Supercross podium in 35 starts with a win there and reversed a three-year streak of bad luck on the track.

The Daytona Supercross race is the first of two the series will contest on speedway infield courses. A little more than one month later, Atlanta Motor Speedway will enter their third season as a supercross venue. These two courses will serve as an early test for the SuperMotocross three-race finale that begins September 9, 2023 at zMax Dragway in Charlotte, North Carolina. The three playoff races will each be held on courses that contain elements of Supercross and Motocross, much like Daytona and Atlanta.