Rosberg: No explanation for late-season upturn in form

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Nico Rosberg has no explanation for his upturn in form towards the end of the 2015 Formula 1 season, but was delighted to pick up his fifth win in Sunday’s Brazilian Grand Prix.

Rosberg failed to put up much of a fight to Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton for this year’s drivers’ championship as the Briton wrapped up the title with three races to spare in Austin last month.

However, Rosberg has enjoyed a rapid improvement in fortunes since then, taking the last five pole positions heading into the race at Interlagos.

Rosberg controlled proceedings from start to finish, only losing the lead for three laps through the pit stops before crossing the line 7.7 seconds clear of Hamilton in second place.

The result secured back-to-back victories for Rosberg following his success in Mexico, and also marked his second straight win in Brazil.

Speaking on the podium, Rosberg was delighted to have dominated the race in such fashion, but spared a thought for the victims of the Paris terrorist attack on Friday.

“It’s been a great weekend for me here,” Rosberg said. “Of course everything is relative with what happened back in Paris, but still yeah, very, very happy.

“It went perfectly. Lewis put up a good challenge but I was able to control it and never give him a chance.”

Rosberg saw his lead drop to as little as 0.3 seconds in the early stages of the race, but the German insisted that he was always in control and only eased off at points to save his tires.

“No, no issues, just controlling the pace, never over-doing it, to not risk making a mistake and to not risk having too much degradation,” he said.

“We saw Lewis dropping off a lot with degradation in the second stint. Back in front, it was important to take care of the tires.”

When told by ex-F1 driver and podium interviewer Martin Brundle that he needed to produce this form earlier in the season, Rosberg wryly responded: “Thank you very much for that piece of advice…

“I’m pushing now as I was pushing at the beginning of the season. I don’t have an exact explanation for why it’s going so strongly now, but I’ll just keep it going.”

Victory in Brazil also secured Rosberg second place in the drivers’ championship for 2015, pulling him 31 points clear of Sebastian Vettel with 25 remaining in Abu Dhabi.

Hunter Lawrence defends Haiden Deegan after controversial block pass at Detroit


Media and fan attention focused on a controversial run-in between Haiden Deegan and his Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing teammate Jordon Smith during Round 10 of the Monster Energy Supercross race at Detroit, after which the 250 East points’ Hunter Lawrence defends the young rider in the postrace news conference.

Deegan took the early lead in Heat 1 of the round, but the mood swiftly changed when he became embroiled in a spirited battle with teammate Smith.

On Lap 3, Smith caught Deegan with a fast pass through the whoops. Smith briefly held the lead heading into a bowl turn but Deegan had the inside line and threw a block pass. In the next few turns, the action heated up until Smith eventually ran into the back of Deegan’s Yamaha and crashed.

One of the highlights of the battle seemed to include a moment when Deegan waited on Smith in order to throw a second block pass, adding fuel to the controversy.

After his initial crash, Smith fell to seventh on the next lap. He would crash twice more during the event, ultimately finishing four laps off the pace in 20th.

The topic was inevitably part of the postrace news conference.

“It was good racing; it was fun,” Deegan said at about the 27-minute mark in the video above. “I just had some fun doing it.”

Smith had more trouble in the Last Chance Qualifier. He stalled his bike in heavy traffic, worked his way into a battle for fourth with the checkers in sight, but crashed a few yards shy of the finish line and was credited with seventh. Smith earned zero points and fell to sixth in the standings.

Lawrence defends Deegan
Jordon Smith failed to make the Detroit Supercross Main and fell to sixth in the points. – Feld Motor Sports

“I think he’s like fifth in points,” Deegan said. “He’s a little out of it. Beside that it was good, I don’t know. I wasn’t really paying attention.”

Deegan jokingly deflected an earlier question with the response that he wasn’t paying attention during the incident.

“He’s my teammate, but he’s a veteran, he’s been in this sport for a while,” Deegan said. “I was up there just battling. I want to win as much as everybody else. It doesn’t matter if it’s a heat race or a main; I just want to win. I was just trying to push that.”

As Deegan and Smith battled, Jeremy Martin took the lead. Deegan finished second in the heat and backed up his performance with a solid third-place showing in the main, which was his second podium finish in a short six-race career. Deegan’s first podium was earned at Daytona, just two rounds ago.

But as Deegan struggled to find something meaningful to say, unsurprisingly for a 17-year-old rider who was not scheduled to run the full 250 schedule this year, it was the championship leader Lawrence who came to his defense.

Lawrence defends Deegan
A block pass by Haiden Deegan led to a series of events that eventually led to Jordon Smith failing to make the Main. – Feld Motor Sports

“I just want to point something out, which kind of amazes me,” Lawrence said during the conference. “So many of the people on social media, where everyone puts their expertise in, are saying the racing back in the ’80s, the early 90s, when me were men. They’re always talking about how gnarly it was and then anytime a block pass or something happens now, everyone cries about it.

“That’s just a little bit interesting. Pick one. You want the gnarly block passes from 10 years ago and then you get it, everyone makes a big song and dance about it.”

Pressed further, Lawrence defended not only the pass but the decision-making process that gets employed lap after lap in a Supercross race.

“It’s easy to point the finger,” Lawrence said. “We’re out there making decisions in a split millisecond. People have all month to pay their phone bill and they still can’t do that on time.

“We’re making decisions at such a fast reaction [time with] adrenaline. … I’m not just saying it for me or Haiden. I speak for all the guys. No one is perfect and we’re under a microscope out there. The media is really quick to point a finger when someone makes a mistake.”

The media is required to hold athletes accountable for their actions. They are also required to tell the complete story.