2015 Austrian Grand Prix Preview


Following a brief sojourn to Montreal two weekends ago for the Canadian Grand Prix, Formula 1 now returns to Europe for the first of five races on the continent.

The Austrian Grand Prix rejoined the F1 calendar in 2014 after 11 years away, returning to the revamped A1 Ring in Spielberg, now under the ownership of Red Bull and bearing the name of the energy drink giant.

Nico Rosberg won last year’s event ahead of teammate Lewis Hamilton to clinch a Mercedes one-two, but after Felipe Massa claimed his first pole position in six years on Saturday, the weekend immediately became one of the most notable of the 2014 season.

This time around, we look poised to enjoy another all-Mercedes fight at the front of the field, but with both Ferrari and Williams lurking just behind and rain on the horizon for Friday and Saturday, anything could happen amid the Styrian mountains.

2015 Austrian Grand Prix – Talking Points

Hamilton looks to turn the screwsource: Getty Images

After suffering back-to-back defeats to Nico Rosberg in Spain and Monaco, Lewis Hamilton hit back in style at the Canadian Grand Prix two weeks ago with a comfortable victory. Now, the Briton will be hoping to turn the screw in the title race and deliver another blow to Rosberg’s championship hopes with a victory in Austria. After losing to the German driver at last year’s event, Hamilton will want to cross another grand prix off his hit-list this weekend.

Can Ferrari’s upgrades come to the fore?

Ferrari entered the Canadian Grand Prix with much fanfare and expectation following an upgrade to its power unit, only to fade to fourth and fifth place in the race far behind Mercedes at the front. The Red Bull Ring should suit the Ferrari SF15-T car, and it will be interesting to see just how much of a challenge either Sebastian Vettel or Kimi Raikkonen can pose to Hamilton and Rosberg this weekend.

Lightning strikes twice

Williams’ upset in Austria last year was one of the biggest shocks of the season. Felipe Massa’s pole position proved to be the only non-Mercedes pole of the 2014 season, and Williams could well have won the race had it opted for a more aggressive strategy instead of settling for P3 and P4. The team should run well once again this year, meaning that the battle to complete the podium – or perhaps even fight for the race win – will be an intense one.

But will lightning strike?

Looking at the weather forecast for the next few days, proceedings in Spielberg could be interrupted by more than a spot of rain. Thunderstorms are forecast for both Friday and Saturday in Austria, meaning that both practice and qualifying could be something of a lottery – albeit one with a little more running than we saw in the wet FP2 session in Monaco, one would hope. Sunday’s forecast is brighter, but the first real wet grand prix of the year could make for a very interesting turn of events.

Red Bull’s homecoming

Red Bull’s first home grand prix was something of a disaster in 2014 – Sebastian Vettel and both Toro Rossos retired; Daniel Ricciardo scored just four points – and 2015 is shaping up to be little better. After ailing to just two points in Canada, Red Bull is in need of a serious reboot in the coming races. Another humbling at its big weekend on home soil will only further the doubt already seeping into Dietrich Mateschitz’s mind, one would imagine.

2015 Austrian Grand Prix – Facts and Figures

Track: Red Bull Ring
Laps: 71
Corners: 9
Lap Record: Michael Schumacher 1:08.337 (Ferrari, 2003)
Tire Compounds: Soft (Option); Medium (Prime)
2014 Winner: Nico Rosberg (Mercedes)
2014 Pole Position: Felipe Massa (Williams) 1:08.759
2014 Fastest Lap: Sergio Perez (Force India) 1:12.142
DRS Zones: Main Straight (T9 to T1); Turn 2 to Turn 3

2015 Austrian Grand Prix – TV Times

Free Practice 1: NBC Sports Live Extra 4am ET 6/19
Free Practice 2: NBCSN 8am ET 6/19
Free Practice 3: NBC Sports Live Extra 5am ET 6/20
Qualifying: NBCSN 8am ET 6/20
Race: NBCSN 7:30am ET 6/21

For further broadcast details, click here.

Jett Lawrence wins Hangtown Pro Motocross, remains perfect in 450s

Lawrence Hangtown Motocross
Align Media

Jett Lawrence remains perfect in the Pro Motocross series after recording another perfect round at Hangtown in Rancho Cordova, California. In his second start on a 450, Lawrence won his second National with his fourth consecutive moto win. It is getting increasingly difficult to find the right superlatives to describe the exploits on the reigning 250 West Supercross champion.

“The track was so brutal out there,” Lawrence told NBC Sports Jason Thomas. “The bike handles amazing even when it’s not too friendly. You had to be really patient; you couldn’t take too much. I didn’t eat enough before that second moto. I kind of lost energy halfway through, but luckily I could use technique and balance and just keep that flow going.”

Lawrence leaves Hangtown with an 18-point advantage over Ferrandis in the 450 Motocross standings, but perhaps more importantly, he climbed to 19th in the SuperMotocross standings and should he stay there, he has an automatic invitation to the Main events in the SMX Championship.

“On this track, you just have to manage,” Lawrence continued. “If you try to take too much and not respect the track, it will bite you very quickly. It was humbling on the first few laps. I got kicked on the cutout at the start of the third section, the tabletop going to the left. I had to get my focus because the boys were coming.”

Still in his first few races since returning from a concussion suffered at Houston in the Supercross series, Dylan Ferrandis finished second with results of third in Moto 1 and second in Moto 2. While Ferrandis was happy with the result, he remains hopeful that he will contend for victory shortly.

“The first moto was very hard for my physically, Ferrandis said. “I got arm pump and when you get arm pump your body gets tired. But I’m very happy because we made a big change for the second moto. We tried stuff every session today and in the last moto the bike was much better, but unfortunately I wasn’t sure what I could do with this bike because the track was very hard and difficult to pass.”

RESULTS: How they finished in the 450 Overall at Hangtown

With the rash of injuries at the end of the Supercross season, the podium was filled with heartwarming stories. Cooper Webb returned to action last week in Pala and failed to make the podium. He is steadily improving with a third-place finish in Hangtown. after finishing with a 4-2.

“It’s incredible what seven days can do,” Webb said. “Last week I felt like I was going to get lapped in the second moto. This week, I could see the leader. It was nice. I fought hard, learned how to suffer again there and that felt nice.

Moto 2 wasn’t pretty for Lawrence. On several occasions in the opening laps, he nearly high sided as he rode the front wheel through the ruts. The reward was worth the risk. By the halfway point, Lawrence had 4.5-second lead over Webb, who was embroiled in a tight three-rider battle for second with his teammate Aaron Plessinger pressuring him and Ferrandis ready to take advantage if those made contact.

It took 20 minutes for Plessinger to get around Webb and once he did, he trailed Lawrence by four seconds. But then, with three minutes remaining, Plessinger crashed and had difficulty restarting the bike, handing second back to Webb who has seven seconds behind Lawrence. Plessinger fell to fourth with results of third and sixth.

Adam Cianciarulo rounded out the top five with a 5-4.

Last week Hunter Lawrence won the overall with a 3-1. He repeated that feat in Hangtown in an exact replica of his Fox Raceway results last week. In Moto 1, Lawrence got off to a slow start and lost 10 seconds in the opening laps. Forced to overcome a sixth-place position in the race at the end of Lap 1, he once again caught the riders ahead of him when the field hit heavy traffic. For the second week, scored another 3-1 for the Hangtown National win.

“The start was crucial’ I knew I had to go,” Lawrence told NBC Sports’ Jason Thomas. “They laid a lot of water down, so I didn’t want to be behind any longer than [I was]. First hot one of the year, was a bit of a wakeup call, so I’m happy to get out of here safe and healthy.”

Lawrence’s third-place finish in Moto 1 featured a fierce battle for final spot on the podium when he caught Spain’s Guillem Farres and France’s Tom Vialle. With Lawrence hailing from Australia, the international nature of the sport was highlighted.

Lawrence left Hangtown with a 10-point advantage over Haiden Deegan in the Pro Motocross championship battle.

Click here for 250 overall results

Justin Cooper finished second in both motos to finish second overall. Hangtown represented a huge improvement from Fox Raceway where he finished fifth overall with a 5-4 finish in the two motos. Cooper pressured Haiden Deegan in the second half of Moto 1 and he earned the holeshot in the second moto and stayed within three seconds of Lawrence in that race.

“He was following me a little bit, checking out my lines, seeing where he was better,” Cooper said. “It’s disappointing to give up the lead like that but it was way better than last weekend. I will definitely take two seconds. I want to be on the top of the step. I feel like I get close to the top step but I never get it done. That’s building up the frustration – the fire. I really want to get one of these wins, so it’s time to start digging.”

Haiden Deegan earned the first holeshot of his career in Moto 1 and rode away from the field, building a four-second lead in the opening laps. Cooper trimmed the lead at the halfway point and for a while it leveled off at two seconds. Then Cooper made another charge with three to go and closed to within a second. Deegan was biding his time, however.

“I was saving a little. I knew at the end Justin was going to try and put a charge on. I let him get up close and then sent it super hard at the end to break him a little at the end.”

Deegan’s first moto win comes in only his fourth National and he remains perfect in regard to podiums this year.

“This was a dream since I was a little kid, to win,” Deegan said. “And in my fourth race, it’s gnarly. I was just sending it. I was getting a little tired at the end becasue I left my mouth open the whole time. It’s unreal; I’m so hyped. I wanted to win bad and I proved it to you guys.”

Chaos erupted in turn 1 in Moto 2 Jeremy Martin went and another rider ran over his arm. Michael Mosiman crashed further down the track on that same lap. Both riders were helped off course by the Alpinestars Medical team.

2023 Motocross Race Recaps

Fox Raceway: Jett Lawrence wins in first 450 start

2023 Supercross Race Recaps

Salt Lake City: Chase Sexton ends the season with win
Denver: Chase Sexton wins, takes points’ lead with Eli Tomac injury
Nashville: Chase Sexton keeps hope alive; Cooper Webb out
New Jersey: Justin Barcia wins muddy race; first in two years
Atlanta: Chase Sexton is back in the championship picture
Glendale: Eli Tomac wins 51st, breaks tie with James Stewart
Seattle: Eli Tomac wins and ties Webb for first
Detroit: Chase Sexton inherits win after Aaron Plessinger falls
Indianapolis: Ken Roczen gets first win in more than a year
Daytona: Eli Tomac extends Daytona record with seventh win
Arlington: Cooper Webb wins for second time, closes to two of Tomac
Oakland: Eli Tomac ties Ricky Carmichael with 48 wins
Tampa: Cooper Webb gets first 2023 win
Houston: Eli Tomac bounces back from A2 crash to win third race of 2023
Anaheim 2: Triple Crown produces new winners Chase Sexton, Levi Kitchen
San Diego: Eli Tomac, Jett Lawrence double down
Anaheim 1: Eli Tomac wins opener for the first time

More SuperMotocross coverage

Chase Sexton is out for Hangtown
Enzo Lopes re-signs with Club MX for 2024
Record Supercross attendance reported in 2023
SuperMotocross Power Rankings after Pala
Results and points after Pala
Jett Lawrence wins Pala in his first MX start
450 Champion Chase Sexton takes back what he gave away
250 West Supercross champion Jett Lawrence ends dream career
250 East Supercross champion Hunter Lawrence overcomes doubt and injury