Hamilton happy with Singapore podium at end of ‘tricky’ weekend


Lewis Hamilton felt glad to have finished on the podium in Sunday’s Singapore Grand Prix despite giving up the lead of the Formula 1 drivers’ championship to Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg.

Hamilton started third in Singapore and dropped behind Kimi Raikkonen during the second stint of the race as he struggled for pace on the soft tire.

Mercedes opted to change Hamilton’s strategy mid-race, bringing him in for a third stop late on to put pressure on Ferrari ahead.

Raikkonen was pulled in one lap later, only to emerge from the pits behind the Briton, allowing Hamilton to take third place behind Rosberg and Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo.

“First of all big congratulations to Nico. He drove fantastically well all weekend and fully deserved the win,” Hamilton said on the podium after the race.

“Very tough day today, but as always it is in Singapore. This weekend’s just been a bit of a tricky one for me. I’m so glad I could get back up on the podium and get some points for the team.”

Hamilton was unable to push in the early part of the race due to a minor brake issue that prompted Mercedes to warn him on a number of occasions about his pace.

“It was my brakes, I was struggling with my brakes which were overheating, so I had to slow down and watch the other guys pull away,” Hamilton said.

“We were looking at different ways to try and get them back under control. In the end once I did my second stop or third stop, my brakes were under control. Of course towards the end I got a bit of heat in them.

“I’ve got a lot of support out there this weekend and I just want to say thanks to everyone who came out. We’ll keep pushing.”

Rosberg’s victory saw him take the lead of the drivers’ championship for the first time since the British Grand Prix in the middle of July, demoting Hamilton back into second place.

“It’s a lot different to when I was here last year,” Hamilton said, reflecting on his 41-point lead following Singapore in 2015.

“All in all, with all that has gone on this year, I’m still in the fight but still a long way to go.

“I’m going to give it everything I’ve got.”

Hunter Lawrence defends Haiden Deegan after controversial block pass at Detroit


Media and fan attention focused on a controversial run-in between Haiden Deegan and his Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing teammate Jordon Smith during Round 10 of the Monster Energy Supercross race at Detroit, after which the 250 East points’ Hunter Lawrence defends the young rider in the postrace news conference.

Deegan took the early lead in Heat 1 of the round, but the mood swiftly changed when he became embroiled in a spirited battle with teammate Smith.

On Lap 3, Smith caught Deegan with a fast pass through the whoops. Smith briefly held the lead heading into a bowl turn but Deegan had the inside line and threw a block pass. In the next few turns, the action heated up until Smith eventually ran into the back of Deegan’s Yamaha and crashed.

One of the highlights of the battle seemed to include a moment when Deegan waited on Smith in order to throw a second block pass, adding fuel to the controversy.

After his initial crash, Smith fell to seventh on the next lap. He would crash twice more during the event, ultimately finishing four laps off the pace in 20th.

The topic was inevitably part of the postrace news conference.

“It was good racing; it was fun,” Deegan said at about the 27-minute mark in the video above. “I just had some fun doing it.”

Smith had more trouble in the Last Chance Qualifier. He stalled his bike in heavy traffic, worked his way into a battle for fourth with the checkers in sight, but crashed a few yards shy of the finish line and was credited with seventh. Smith earned zero points and fell to sixth in the standings.

Lawrence defends Deegan
Jordon Smith failed to make the Detroit Supercross Main and fell to sixth in the points. – Feld Motor Sports

“I think he’s like fifth in points,” Deegan said. “He’s a little out of it. Beside that it was good, I don’t know. I wasn’t really paying attention.”

Deegan jokingly deflected an earlier question with the response that he wasn’t paying attention during the incident.

“He’s my teammate, but he’s a veteran, he’s been in this sport for a while,” Deegan said. “I was up there just battling. I want to win as much as everybody else. It doesn’t matter if it’s a heat race or a main; I just want to win. I was just trying to push that.”

As Deegan and Smith battled, Jeremy Martin took the lead. Deegan finished second in the heat and backed up his performance with a solid third-place showing in the main, which was his second podium finish in a short six-race career. Deegan’s first podium was earned at Daytona, just two rounds ago.

But as Deegan struggled to find something meaningful to say, unsurprisingly for a 17-year-old rider who was not scheduled to run the full 250 schedule this year, it was the championship leader Lawrence who came to his defense.

Lawrence defends Deegan
A block pass by Haiden Deegan led to a series of events that eventually led to Jordon Smith failing to make the Main. – Feld Motor Sports

“I just want to point something out, which kind of amazes me,” Lawrence said during the conference. “So many of the people on social media, where everyone puts their expertise in, are saying the racing back in the ’80s, the early 90s, when me were men. They’re always talking about how gnarly it was and then anytime a block pass or something happens now, everyone cries about it.

“That’s just a little bit interesting. Pick one. You want the gnarly block passes from 10 years ago and then you get it, everyone makes a big song and dance about it.”

Pressed further, Lawrence defended not only the pass but the decision-making process that gets employed lap after lap in a Supercross race.

“It’s easy to point the finger,” Lawrence said. “We’re out there making decisions in a split millisecond. People have all month to pay their phone bill and they still can’t do that on time.

“We’re making decisions at such a fast reaction [time with] adrenaline. … I’m not just saying it for me or Haiden. I speak for all the guys. No one is perfect and we’re under a microscope out there. The media is really quick to point a finger when someone makes a mistake.”

The media is required to hold athletes accountable for their actions. They are also required to tell the complete story.