Sebastian Vettel reveled in Ferrari’s “incredible” charge to a front row lock-out for the Hungarian Grand Prix, believing it to act as further proof of the progress the Italian marque has made in the past 12 months.
F1 championship leader Vettel stormed to his second pole of the year with the fastest ever lap of the Hungaroring on Saturday, leading home teammate Kimi Raikkonen.
The result marked Ferrari’s third pole of the year, a total it has not reached through a season since 2008, with Vettel praising the performance of the SF70H car.
“The car to be honest all day today has been incredible. I think we did a good step forward, really enjoyable,” Vettel said.
“I like this track a lot. A front row for us which is incredible, and now we’re looking forward to tomorrow.
“Obviously the last race wasn’t great for us, but it doesn’t matter now. We are here and try to do our best. That’s what matters. Really step by step, very happy with where we are as a team.
“Again, we need to remember where we were 12 months ago and where we are now. Also thanks for the support and people believing in us. It’s great to get the result also on Saturday.
“As I said, the main task comes tomorrow. Nothing won today, but we’re very happy and we’ll take it to move forward.”
Vettel currently leads the drivers’ championship by one point, and is well-poised to extend his advantage and gain momentum ahead of the F1 summer break, but the German is giving that little thought right now.
“To be honest, numbers… I was decent I would say at maths at school, but it’s way too early,” Vettel said.
“I think we go racing, we go flat out. That’s what we’ve been doing in the first races and that’s what we keep doing. It’s the only way to succeed.
“Certainly we have a lot of boost from people here at home and in Italy. It can’t be any better than that. The main thing is to enjoy it.”
The Hungarian Grand Prix is live on NBCSN and the NBC Sports app from 7am ET on Sunday.
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.