Hamilton: Spa Friday practice one of Mercedes’ strongest in 2017

Getty Images
0 Comments

Lewis Hamilton feels Mercedes has made one of its strongest starts to a Formula 1 race weekend this season after outpacing Ferrari through second practice for the Belgian Grand Prix on Friday.

Hamilton turned in the fastest lap of the day at the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps, finishing two-tenths of a second clear of the field in FP2.

Mercedes has been tipped to pull clear of chief rival Ferrari at Spa given the high-speed nature of the circuit and the strengths of its W08 car, and the billing seemed justified given Hamilton’s post-session comments.

“Today felt like one of our strongest Fridays so far this season. The car felt strong all-around straight out of the box,” Hamilton said.

“We made some good steps wih the setup right from the start of FP1, which is a really encouraging way to kick off the weekend.

“It looks tight at the top on the long-run pace, but we’ve started the weekend in the best way possible.”

In the sister Mercedes, Valtteri Bottas had a less fruitful day as he finished sixth in FP1 and third in FP2, the Finn feeling he has ground to make up heading into the remainder of the weekend.

“Overall it was a tricky day. We had some trouble setting up the car, but in the end it was getting better, we made quite big steps,” Bottas said.

“It was not feeling too comfortable in the beginning, but it was getting better in the end. The performance of our car, in general, is looking good.

“However, there is still a lot of margin to optimise the car. The long runs in the end were interrupted by the rain, but that was obviously the same for everyone.

“I’m glad that we at least got a few laps in with high fuel.”

Travis Pastrana leads flag-to-flag in Nitro Rallycross as the series returns to America

Pastrana Nitro Rallycross
Barry Chin / Getty Images
0 Comments

Travis Pastrana waited until the final trip around ERX Motor Park to take his Joker Lap – a longer way around the course that all drivers must do at least once in a race – and came out cleanly to win his first Nitro Rallycross race of 2022. With this win, Pastrana is the third driver to visit Victory Lane in the first three rounds of the 2022-23 season.

“This is the closest to a motocross track,” Pastrana told Katie Osborne on Peacock. “Thank you so much for a beautiful facility. It’s been a rough start to the season and I’m so thankful to be back out here. We had a good run in the side-by-side and now for this. This is much needed.”

Another thing needed was the sense of improvement. And Pastrana earned that affirmation each time he completed a lap around the course.

“I get my lap times read out and they said ‘fastest time of the week,’ ‘fastest time of the week’ (each time around) ” Pastrana said. “This is really special. We’re a long way behind in the championship, but welcome to America.”

In a pre-race press conference, Pastrana said that as Nitro Rallycross heads back to America, it was time for an American to win and he made good on his promise. Pastrana took the early lead over Robin Larsson and let the back of his Subaru hang out, taking risks he might not otherwise take if not for his need to win.

How to Watch Nitro Rallycross

Larsson’s second-place finish completed a perfect sweep of the podium in three rounds. In fact, he has not yet finished worse than second after winning the opening round at Lydden Hill in the United Kingdom and finishing second at Strangnas in Sweeden.

Fraser McConnel rounded out the podium for his best result of the season. He finished fourth in each of the first two rounds.

Last year, Pastrana finished second in this race to Scott Speed before narrowly edging his teammate for the championship.

Andreas Bakkerud crashed in prelims, but rebounded to finish just off the block in fourth. Bakkerud won the second round ahead of his teammate Larsson.

Oliver Bennett completed the top five.

Minneapolis is the first of three rounds scheduled in the United States. Next on the schedule is Glen Helen, Calif. on Octo 30 and then Phoenix at Wild Horse Pass on November 12th. Nitro Rallycross will then head to Saudi Arabia in December to continue their 2022-23 season.