Hamilton on Russia: ‘I was lacking the pace from Saturday’

0 Comments

So rare are weekends when Lewis Hamilton is “off the boil” or just not on top of his game that when they do occur, they stand out.

Hamilton’s run of form saw him finish no worse than second in each of his last seven Grands Prix, dating to last year’s United States Grand Prix at Circuit of The Americas in Austin. Additionally, he’d been on the front row each of the last nine races, the last six of 2016 and first three of 2017.

Statistically, his worst races of late were at Singapore, when he started and finished third, and then at Malaysia, where a sure win went away with his engine failure that was all-but the final coffin in his World Championship hopes despite the pole.

Since that point, Hamilton went four-for-four in wins and poles to end 2016, and kicked off this year with two more poles, a win in China and second on the grid and the flag in Bahrain. Bahrain was the first time new teammate Valtteri Bottas out-qualified him, and that was down to a sterling lap that netted the Finn his first career pole.

But in terms of being second to his teammate, Bottas had the edge all weekend on Hamilton, who qualified and finished fourth and lost the pace from Friday.

He explained what happened in a Q&A with Mercedes’ official website that posted today.

“The car was exactly the same in the race. Friday was a lot different. Then, going into Saturday and Sunday, the car was in the opposite direction,” Hamilton said.

“In general I was lacking the pace from Saturday onwards. I think I had the temperature issues from lap five onwards. From then it was a lot of turning down the settings.”

The engine overheating issue that occurred during the race also scuppered Hamilton’s pace. Hamilton said the team doesn’t know yet what caused the issue.

Hamilton added, “I was slow from yesterday onwards. As I said, I think I could have matched the times of the guys at the front. But whether or not we would have lasted as long with the setup that I had, I don’t know. With the backing off for the temperature I was losing a second at least.”

Hamilton re-iterated it was a speed issue and not a reliability one for why he was off pace.

“Right now we need to understand where the speed was this weekend – where I went wrong with the setup – and then come back for the next race,” he said. “I’m still second in the championship. That’s not the end of the world but, of course, I need to recover the pace I had previously.

“This weekend was not a reliability issue. It was pure pace based on the tires, temperatures and being comfortable in the car. There is no reason for me to think about reliability. I think we have had the strongest reliability so far.

“I don’t know right now (what happened) but we will do some work to fully understand it. I have some ideas but there is some work to be done to figure it out.”

Eli Tomac wins Houston Supercross: Hunter Lawrence takes early 250 East lead

0 Comments

With his 47th career victory and third of the 2023 season in Houston, Eli Tomac closed to within one win of tying Ricky Carmichael for third on the all-time Monster Energy Supercross list.

Tomac rebounded from last week’s crash by earning the holeshot in both his heat and the Main. At the start of the big show, he couldn’t shake Aaron Plessinger in the first four minutes and actually was in the process of losing the lead as a red flag waved for a crash involving Tomac’s teammate Dylan Ferrandis when he overjumped an obstacle and landed on Ken Roczen’s back fender as they raced for eighth.

“That was a tough race,” Tomac told NBC Sports’ Will Christien, referencing his loss to Chase Sexton in the heat. “And honestly, I was just beat down after that heat race and was searching quite a bit and was basically losing speed everywhere. I just rode better, straight up in the Main. I felt better.”

In their heat, Sexton passed Tomac at the two-minute mark and then simply rode away from the field. At the end, he had an almost eight-second gap on Tomac.

“It wasn’t great by any means,” Sexton told Jason Thomas. “I feel like the strengths I had all day, I really lagged in the Main event between the whoop and the sand section. I think I could have walked through it faster. It was still a good ride; it wasn’t great. I expected after the heat race he would be fired up.”

RESULTS: How they finished for the 450 Main in Anaheim 2

Jason Anderson scored his second consecutive pole, but he was not happy to finish third behind the two points’ leaders.

“We should be thankful every time we get to be up here,” Anderson said. “They’re making it tough on me, but all I can do is give my best.”

Tomac had to withstand a red flag and the distant second place finish in his heat to win the Houston Supercross race. In the post-race conference, he indicated that he did not make any changes to the bike and simply rode better.

Aaron Plessinger and Cooper Webb rounded out the top five.

Ferrandis was fitted with a neck brace, but still able to walk to the medical cart. He was still being evaluated by the medical staff as the night came to a close.


In 250s Hunter Lawrence entered the 250 East opener as the consensus favorite to win the championship this year with Christian Craig making the move into 450s and his brother Jett Lawrence in the West division. He answered quickly with a huge lead in Heat 1, but it almost went awry in the Main.

Lawrence got a good start, but he was passed early in the race by two-time MXGP champion (2020, 2022) Tom Vialle, who was making his Supercross debut this week. Vialle passed Lawrence on the first lap. When Lawrence tried to pass him back, Vialle scrubbed speed off a jump and pushed Lawrence wide, over the Tuff Blox.

Championships are made out of Lawrence’s response. He kept his composure and did not overcorrect before methodically working his way to the front.

“We had a little off track excursion. I wasn’t sure how hard across Tom was coming so I thought I’ll just go left, but then saw that was the side of the track. Thankfully I didn’t hit the Tuff Blox and got back on track safely. … Good start; put myself in position.”

Click here for full 250 East Main Results

Making a move from the 450 class to 250s, Max Anstie had immediate success. He finished second in his heat behind Jordon Smith and lined up with a great gate pick. He had to overtake Vialle in the opening laps and lost ground on Lawrence, that cost enough time to keep him from pressing Lawrence. This is Anstie’s first podium in the United States

“Honestly, I’ve dreamed of this for a long time to come up on these steps and man it’s a great feeling. I’ve really enjoyed the day and being on this 250, I feel like an 18-year-old kid. Everyday I’m learning.”

Smith backed up his heat win with a podium finish.

“It feels good to be back up here again,” Smith said. “It’s been a long time; a lot of injuries.”

Haiden Deegan proved the hype surrounding his debut in the 250 class was not unfounded. He finished fourth in his heat to advance to directly into the Main. During the early laps, he was circling the track in a podium position until a minor mistake sent him off the box. In the closing laps, he narrowly made an aggressive pass on Jeremy Martin and narrowly missed the podium with a fourth-place finish.

Martin held on to round out the top five.

Vialle was running in a podium position when went down with a 1:30 left on the clock. He ended his night seventh.

Chance Hymas was also making his 250 debut and scored a top-10 in eighth.

2023 Race Recaps

Anaheim 2: Triple Crown produces new winners Chase Sexton, Levi Kitchen
San Diego: Eli Tomac, Jett Lawrence double down
Anaheim 1: Tomac wins opener for the first time

Houston coverage

Houston by the numbers
Supercross unveils 16th edition of a Ricky Carmichael designed Daytona track
Power Rankings after week 3
Malcom Stewart out for “extended duration” after knee surgery
Haiden Deegan makes Supercross debut in Houston, Justin Cooper to 450s
Talon Hawkins set to relieve injured Jalek Swoll in Houston
Jalek Swoll out for an indefinite period with broken arm
Ken Roczen urgently needed a change
Chris Blose joins Pro Circuit Kawasaki in 250 East opener
Seth Hammaker to miss Houston with wrist injury
Jo Shimoda joins Seth Hammaker, Austin Forkner on injured list