Hamilton: Fastest ever Bahrain lap ‘incredible’ after struggles

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Lewis Hamilton made no secret of his delight after bouncing back from a series of defeats to Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg in practice for the Bahrain Grand Prix to take his 51st Formula 1 pole position on Saturday.

Hamilton trailed Rosberg in FP1, FP2, FP3 and Q1 before finally getting ahead in Q2 ahead of the final fight for pole.

Rosberg enjoyed the early advantage after Hamilton made a mistake on his first run to provisionally leave him fourth on the grid, only to dig deep and take pole position by 0.077 seconds.

“It’s not been a smooth sailing weekend in terms of pace, Nico’s been right on it all weekend,” Hamilton said.

“I was generally struggling to put laps together. Luckily the one lap that I did put together was the last lap, that was the only lap probably of the whole weekend so far. I hope the first of many. The car felt great.

“For my engineers and mechanics who were biting their nails throughout the weekend, working so hard to get the car to where it is today. Big thank you to everyone here and also at the factory.”

Hamilton’s lap of 1:29.493 was the fastest ever recorded around the Bahrain International Circuit, beating Mark Webber’s time of 1:29.527 set in practice for the 2005 race.

“It’s quite incredible to think we’re quicker now than the V10 days and it shows how far technology has come,” Hamilton said.

It is however worth noting that Hamilton’s time does not go down as the official lap record in Bahrain, with F1 rules stating that this must be set in the race.

The Bahrain Grand Prix is live on NBCSN and Live Extra from 10:30am ET on Sunday.

Supercross: Talon Hawkins to debut in Houston in relief of Jalek Swoll

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Talon Hawkins, 19, will make his Monster Energy Supercross debut on a 250 this week in Houston, Texas as a fill-in rider for Jalek Swoll.

During the Anaheim 2 weekend, the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna team announced Swoll underwent successful surgery to repair a broken arm suffered in a practice crash.

That same weekend, Hawkins made some noise. He took the lead from teammate Casey Cohran on Lap 2 of the 250 SX Futures Main and led for three laps before he was overtaken by eventual winner Daxton Bennick. Cochran also got around him to push Hawkins to third.

This will not be Hawkins SuperMotocross professional debut, however; he made three Lucas Oil Pro Motocross starts last year with results of 19th at Spring Creek in Millville, Minnesota, 27th at Ironman in Crawfordsville, Indiana and a best finish of 17th in the season finale at Fox Raceway in Pala, California.

Hawkins also has a top-10 finish in the 125 All-Star division at Pala in 2019 riding a Husqvarna.

Speaking with RacerXOnline.com before the Loretta Lynn Amateur Nationals, Hawkins predicted his future with Husqvarna would come down to how he performed in that race.

“It all just comes down to how I perform at Loretta’s,” Hawkins said. “Say I do really well, I get a top three in both classes and do a pretty solid job, I would like to go pro and just kind of finish out the rest of the series. But there’s also the option of waiting a little bit longer, going back out to [Aldon] Baker’s [Factory] or going anywhere and training, and just being prepared. I’m also open to that too. Honestly, it’s whatever the team wants. Whatever we think is the best option is what we’re going to go with. So, I don’t really have a plan right now, just looking into the future.”

Hawkins finished third overall in the 125 B/C and Schoolboy divisions at the Loretta Lynn Amateur Nationals.