Brake issue almost forced Rosberg to retire in Australia

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Mercedes Formula 1 chief Toto Wolff has revealed that Australian Grand Prix winner Nico Rosberg was almost forced to retire from the race due to a brake issue on his car.

Rosberg swept to his fourth consecutive race win on Sunday after an inspired strategy call allowed him to lead home teammate Lewis Hamilton and Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel.

However, it could have been very different had Mercedes opted to retire Rosberg from the race after his brake caliper overheated.

“Our plan from there had been to put Nico on a two-stop and Lewis a one-stop strategy before the red flag came out,” Wolff explained.

“We did the maths and opted to go with one set of mediums to the end, with the drivers on the knife edge of endurance and performance.

“Managing tires and temperatures became a big challenge, with debris causing an overheating brake caliper that almost forced us to retire Nico at one stage.

“Thankfully that was not the case and he led Lewis home for a hard-fought one-two.”

Wolff paid tribute to the Mercedes team after it scored a fifth straight one-two finish on Sunday, picking up maximum points from the season-opener.

“A perfect result to start the year, a great job from the drivers to manage and recover the race, fantastic work on the pit wall to give them the right strategy to do so and an incredible team effort from everybody at the factories to get us here.

“We must now sort our starts and look to carry out momentum into Bahrain.”

Alex Zanardi showing signs of interaction three months after crash

Alex Zanardi recovery
Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images
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MILAN — Italian racing driver turned Paralympic gold medalist Alex Zanardi has started responding to treatment with signs of interaction, more than three months after he was seriously injured in a handbike crash.

Zanardi has spent most of that time in intensive care after crashing into an oncoming truck during a relay event near the Tuscan town of Pienza on June 19.

“For several days now. Alex Zanardi has undergone cognitive and motor rehabilitation sessions, with the administration of visual and acoustic stimuli, to which the patient responds with momentary and initial signs of interaction,” the San Raffaele hospital in Milan said in a statement Thursday.

The hospital said that is “significant progress” but added that his condition remains serious, and that it would be “absolutely premature” to make a long-term prognosis.

Zanardi, 53, suffered serious facial and cranial trauma in the crash and was put in a medically induced coma. Doctors have warned of possible brain damage.

He was operated on several times to stabilize him and reconstruct his severely damaged face and the Milan hospital added that he recently had undergone another surgery to reconstruct his skull and would have another one in the coming weeks.

Zanardi lost both of his legs in an auto racing crash nearly 20 years ago. He won four gold medals and two silvers at the 2012 and 2016 Paralympics. He also competed in the New York City Marathon and set an Ironman record in his class.