Hamilton hopes Mercedes doesn’t invoke team orders

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Lewis Hamilton hopes that Mercedes’ Formula 1 bosses do not invoke team orders following his clash with teammate Nico Rosberg on the final lap of Sunday’s Austrian Grand Prix.

The two Mercedes drivers collided while battling for the lead at the Red Bull Ring, leaving Rosberg with damage that meant he could only finish the race fourth.

Hamilton managed to continue and pick up his third victory of the season, cutting the gap to Rosberg in the drivers’ championship down to just 11 points.

Rosberg was deemed to have caused a collision by the stewards, leading team chief Toto Wolff to suggest that team orders may be used in the future to prevent repeat incidents.

Mercedes has persisted with letting its drivers race despite previous clashes, but the latest incident appears to have gone down as one too many.

However, Hamilton told reporters after the race that he wants to be able to race Rosberg freely on-track, having seen the impact of team orders before.

“I grew up wanting to race, and to get to Formula 1 and race the best and be the best by out driving another individual,” Hamilton said.

“I think they showed a replay of maybe Michael [Schumacher] and [Rubens] Barrichello many years ago and I was disappointed as a fan back then. We never want to see team orders like that ever happen.

“The great thing is that Toto and Niki [Lauda] have been great these past three years in allowing us to race and that’s what racing is about. It’s not always going to be blue skies and perfect, but that’s motor racing.

“We’re driving at 200 mph and you expect us to drive around and never have a problem? I doubt it.

“So I hope that it doesn’t change and I hope that we can continue to race. That’s just my honest opinion from my love of this sport.”

Ken Roczen signs with HEP Progressive Ecstar Suzuki for 2023

Roczen Progressive Ecstar Suzuki
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ANAHEIM, California – Ken Roczen will make the move from HRC Honda to H.E.P. Motorsports with the Progressive Ecstar Suzuki team, ending a long and eventful offseason that saw his split from his longstanding team after he committed to running World Supercross (WSX).

“H.E.P. Motorsports is thrilled to announce that the team has signed Ken Roczen as its premier rider for the 2023 season,” the team announced on Instagram. “Former AMA Motocross champion Roczen will be aboard a Suzuki RM-Z450. Roczen, who won his most recent championship on a Suzuki, will be reunited with the brand and bring his exciting style, determination, and grit back to the RM Army.

“Ken Roczen will compete in the upcoming 2023 Supercross and Motocross Championship series which is set to start on January 7 at Anaheim Stadium in Southern California.”

For Roczen, it is a return to the bike of his youth and on which he had some of his greatest professional success.

“This thing has been going on for weeks and weeks and weeks in the making, but there was so much uncertainty,” Roczen told NBC Sports during Monster Energy Supercross Media Sessions. “It was a very unique situation. I just finally signed two nights ago, so it’s really only legit once the ink hits the paper. It’s been in the works for a long time, but there were just a lot of questions and a lot of input from a lot of other teams too.

“Good things take time, and I’m okay with that. I grew up riding Suzuki. Ot’s like a homecoming. It’s a special feeling”

Roczen won the 2016 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship on a Suzuki before making the move to Honda. That year he won nine of 12 Nationals and finished no worse than second as he easily outpaced Eli Tomac by 86 points. He finished third in his next Pro Motocross outing in 2018 after sitting out the outdoor season in 2017.

“I am beyond excited to reconnect with Suzuki for the 3rd time in my career. We’ve had a lot of success in the past and I’m looking forward to seeing what we can accomplish together in our future.” Roczen said in the Instagram post.