Nico Rosberg made no secret of his frustration after a difficult Canadian Grand Prix weekend that saw his Formula 1 drivers’ championship lead fall to just nine points.
Rosberg was forced wide at the first corner by Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton, causing him to drop to 10th at the end of the first lap after taking to the grass.
“I was massively pissed off in the moment,” Rosberg admitted after the race.
“In the end it’s just racing on the edge, tough racing and that’s it. I gave it a go around the outside in Barcelona and it worked out. Today it didn’t work out and that’s it.
“Of course very, very frustrating, but it’s my job to make sure I’m ahead after a battle like that. It didn’t work out today.”
Rosberg fought his way back into contention for a podium finish, only for a puncture to force him into a second pit stop.
Having burned more fuel than planned during his fightback, Rosberg was hamstrung in the closing stages when he tried to recover fourth from Max Verstappen, spinning in the process on the penultimate lap.
“I was really low on fuel because of battling all the way through and always having to overtake,” Rosberg said.
“It was difficult to understand how low. I knew the number was massively red and I didn’t know if I’d get to the end of the race.
“I did a huge lift and coast lap in the end with Kimi [Raikkonen] just to try and keep it over the start-finish line.
“That was the big problem with Max. I could only launch a couple of attacks. Every time I launched an attack, he defended very well and I needed to back off again to save fuel.
“The whole race was so complicated with a lot of things. I had the puncture as well which cost me a podium, I’m quite sure.
Chase Sexton stumbled in San Diego and Eli Tomac had a hard fall in Anaheim 2, but the Monster Energy Supercross numbers for Houston suggest they will continue to be the ones to beat in Houston. To do so, they will have to turn back challenges from another pair of riders who have swept the top five in the first three rounds and another with a worst finish of sixth.
There are reasons to believe Webb and Roczen can keep those streaks alive.
Webb is the only multiple winner at Supercross’ current Houston stadium. His pair of wins came in 2019 and 2021, the same year he won his two 450 championships.
Clinton Fowler points out this week, that Webb has carried that strength into 2023. Webb had a late surge in Anaheim 1, advancing from fifth to second in the final six laps. In San Diego, he set his ninth fastest lap with two to go and his eighth fastest on the final lap. He posted his fastest lap of Anaheim 2 on Lap 12 while the rest of the field did so on Lap 6 on average.
By comparison, Tomac set his 14th fastest lap on the final circuit in route to winning the Main at San Diego while he was trying to keep Webb at bay.
With a sixth at San Diego, Dylan Ferrandis barely missed sweeping the top five in his first three races as did Tomac with a sixth last week at Anaheim 2.
This will be the 46th year Supercross has visited Houston and with 55 races the city is tied for the second-most with Detroit.
Webb won most recently in 2021 in the final race of three held there that year as the series executed a strategy of racing in residencies to limit travel during height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Tomac and Justin Barcia also won in Houston in 2021.
Two privateers have started the season on a high note.
Joshua Cartwright and Joshua Varize have each made the last two Mains. Cartwright finished 18th in San Diego and 21st last week in Anaheim 2 – all while working fulltime as a Business Intelligence Analyst at the University of Texas, Dallas. Varize earned a top-15 (12th) in San Diego and was 21st in Anaheim 2 in his third season on a 450.
The numbers show none of the active 250 Supercross East riders have won in Houston, so no matter who steps on top of the box, there is going to be a fresh face. That is not surprising since most of the top competitors have not raced at this venue yet.
Michael Mosiman has a pair of top-fives there, however. His best finish was a second in the second 2021 race. Garrett Marchbanks scored a top-10 in his rookie season of 2019 in Houston.
In the 250 East division, Hunter Lawrence is one of the favorites to win the title now that Christian Craig has moved to 450s. Last year he had four wins and nine podiums, but failed to set a fast lap in a race.