Vandoorne repeats best F1 result in Malaysia, passes Alonso in points

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Stoffel Vandoorne’s rise in the Formula 1 drivers’ championship continued on Sunday in Malaysia as he matched his best grand prix finish of P7 for McLaren.

After a tough start to his first full season in F1, Vandoorne charged to seventh place in Singapore two weeks ago before leading McLaren’s charge once again in Malaysia, repeating the result.

A perfectly-executed race saw Vandoorne finish second out of the midfield runners in Malaysia, trailing only Force India’s Sergio Perez, and pass teammate Fernando Alonso in the points standings.

“I can say that this was my best ever race in Formula 1,” Vandoorne said after the race.

“All weekend, I’ve been really strong and felt really confident with the car. After qualifying seventh, we weren’t really confident about where we’d finish in the race, so to pull off seventh today is an amazing result.”

Vandoorne ran as high as fifth early on, but was not surprised to slip back, losing places to Perez and the recovering Sebastian Vettel.

“I made a great start. We knew it was probably going to be difficult to hold off the Force Indias and the Williams behind, but only Perez came through,” Vandoorne said.

“From then on, I had amazing pace, pushed hard every lap to try and manage the tires and maintain the gap over Stroll, and I managed that until the end. I’m very happy.”

By contrast, Alonso had a tough race spent mostly running outside of the points as he struggled to put McLaren’s aerodynamic updates to good use.

“It was a tough race today. From the very beginning, at the second corner, the two Williams touched in front of me, and made me lose a few positions,” Alonso said.

“As a result, we ended up in the secondary group, running a little slower than our true pace, and could not overtake.

“So I lost a lot of time, and that really compromised our race. A shame, definitely not one of our best races today.

“But we’ll have better days, and, hopefully in Japan, we’ll come back with stronger form, and I’ll be able to add my contribution to the constructors’ championship on Honda’s home ground.

“Having scored points at this track and at Singapore, two very different circuits, is really good for the team. I hope we can continue scoring more points in the remaining races.”

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

Pastrana Nitro Rallycross
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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.

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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.