Hamilton fights back to seventh in rollercoaster Chinese GP

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Lewis Hamilton made the best of a bad situation in Sunday’s Chinese Grand Prix by fighting from the back of the grid to finish seventh for Mercedes.

Hamilton arrived in China set on ending teammate and title rival Nico Rosberg’s run of five straight race wins, only to be hit with a grid penalty for a gearbox change before the weekend had even started.

His problems grew worse on Saturday when his engine failed in qualifying, leaving him to start from 22nd in Shanghai.

Hamilton made a good start to pick up a few positions off the line, only to get tangled up in an incident with Felipe Nasr at Turn 2 (pictured) that forced him into pitting for repairs.

It would be the first of five pit stops for the Briton in China, with Mercedes changing strategy in reaction to the race that kept twisting in the early stages.

The decision to fit him with a set of medium tires and go long to the end of the race on lap 31 allowed Hamilton to rise up to fifth at one point, but he was unable to pass Williams’ Felipe Massa for position.

This gave Daniel Ricciardo and Kimi Raikkonen the chance to catch and pass Hamilton on fresher, quicker tires, leaving him to settle for seventh come the checkered flag.

Hamilton said he felt it was the most he could achieve given the circumstances, and is now focusing on cutting the 36 point gap to Rosberg in the coming races.

“I got a good start, but it’s always tricky being at the back and trying not to get caught up in the domino effect of any contact at the first corner,” Hamilton said.

“I tried to avoid whatever happened in front of me but I just got tangled up in it. It was just a bit unfortunate, really. From there it was always going to be a battle – but I had a lot of fun fighting back through! There were plenty of overtakes, from what I can remember!

“I gave it everything I had and P7 was about the limit. There was nothing left in the tires at the end and, although it’s pretty good for overtaking here, I had quite a lot of damage to the car which made it difficult to get close on the brakes. From what I could feel there was definitely some aero loss and possible suspension damage too, as the car seemed to be flexing all over the place.

“But that’s racing – it happens sometimes and at least I still managed to get a few points on the board. It’s a pretty big hit points-wise today – but I’ll just have to do what I can to make it up over the next few races.”

Malcolm Stewart sidelined by knee surgery for ‘extended duration’

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The knee injury that kept Malcolm Stewart from mounting up for Anaheim 2 will require surgery and he will be sidelined for “an extended duration” of the Monster Energy Supercross season, according to the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna team.

“I just wanted to give you guys an update,” Stewart said on Instagram. “It’s not the news you guys want to hear, but I took a spill last week and hurt my knee pretty bad to the point that we’re going to have to get surgery done.

“I’m definitely bummed out about it; I felt we were riding pretty good and were just now starting to get the ball rolling, but it is what it is.”

Stewart’s season started with high expectations until accidents in the first two rounds left him 15th in the standings.

He ended 2022 on a high note, finishing a career high third in the Supercross standings. He then missed the start of the Pro Motocross season with another knee injury.

The 2023 season appeared to live up to his expectations. Despite back-to-back accidents, Stewart contended for podiums at both Anaheim 1 and San Diego. He won his heat at San Diego.

“It was very tough to receive the news that Malcolm will need to undergo knee surgery,” Nathan Ramsey, Team Manager for the Husqvarna team said in a press release. “He has worked so hard to be in a position to win races this year and I truly believe he was ready.

“The Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing program will support him in every way that we can through his recovery and we can’t wait to get him back on track and back at the races.”

Stewart joins 250 rider Jalek Swoll on the sidelines after he broke an arm in a practice session. Swoll will be relieved by Talon Hawkins beginning this week at Houston, Texas.

A replacement rider has not been announced for Stewart, which means the focus shifts to his 450 teammate Christian Craig, who currently sits 12th in the standings with three top-15s in the opening rounds.