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F1 2017 driver review: Felipe Massa

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Felipe Massa

Team: Williams
Car No.: 19
Races: 19
Wins: 0
Podiums: 0
Best Finish: P6 (Australia, Bahrain)
Pole Positions: 0
Fastest Laps: 0
Points: 43
Championship Position: 11th

Hopes were high for Felipe Massa’s bonus season in Formula 1, only made possible by Nico Rosberg’s shock retirement and Valtteri Bottas’ subsequent move to Mercedes. Yet it failed to offer the kind of form that could secure the Brazilian a longer future in the series.

Massa made his love of the new-style cars for 2017 known through pre-season, and Williams made a good start to the year as he led the midfield runners by finishing sixth in Australia. After repeating the result in Bahrain, it was looking like Massa could become a serious force in the midfield fight.

But those races proved to be the high point of his season. Points were picked up in small doses leading up to the summer break, finishing no higher than ninth, although a possible podium – and maybe even a victory – was lost in Baku after a suspension failure that could have reshaped Massa’s season.

Instead it was Lance Stroll who took the plaudits for hitting the podium in Baku, with Massa failing to record a result better than P8 until the penultimate race of the year on home soil in Brazil.

But it was at Interlagos we were treated to a display of Massa at his best. A perfect drive saw him beat former Ferrari teammate Fernando Alonso in a race-long fight and take P7, acting as a solid sign-off to his home fans.

While it was far from being the season Massa wanted to say goodbye with, he was nevertheless ready to say goodbye this time around – something he wasn’t 12 months ago. It proved to be a classy end to a classy F1 career.

Season High: Saying goodbye to Brazil with a perfect drive to P7.

Season Low: Losing a possible podium or victory in Baku due to a suspension failure.

Supercross points leader Eli Tomac finds silver linings in interruption

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Though his Monster Energy AMA Supercross championship charge was put on hold, the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic had a silver lining for Eli Tomac.

Off the road while the season was postponed for nearly three months, the points leader was able to be present as his girlfriend, Jessica, gave birth to their daughter, Lev, on April 26

“A huge blessing for us there,” Tomac told host Mike Tirico during a “Lunch Talk Live” interview (click on the video above) in which he also joked about becoming a pro at busting off diaper changes. “That was one good blessing for us as we had our daughter on a Sunday, that would have been on a travel day coming back from the race in Las Vegas.

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“That was probably the only positive out of all this mess was being able to be there for the birth.”

But there also could be more good fortune for Tomac as the series resumes Sunday at Salt Lake City, Utah (3-4 p.m. ET on NBCSN, 4-6 p.m. on NBC).

The final seven events will be held over 22 days in Rice-Eccles Stadium, which sits at just over 4,000 feet.

The elevation could favor Tomac, who was born and lives in Colorado and is accustomed to riding and training at altitude, which is a departure for many Supercross riders (many of whom hail from California and Florida).

COVID-19 TESTING REQUIRED: Supercross outlines protocols for last seven races

“That’s going to be the test for us,” said the Kawasaki rider, who five of the first 10 races this season. “We’re at elevation in Salt Lake, so when you’re on a motorcycle, you have a little bit of a loss of power. That’s just what happens when you come up in elevation. And a lot of guys train at sea level, and we’re at 4,000 to 5,000 feet, so cardio-wise, we’ll be pushed to the limit.

“Most of our races are Saturday nights and back to back weeks, but this go around it’s Sunday and Wednesday, so recovery is going to be key.”

Supercross will race Sunday and Wednesday for the next three weeks, capping the season with the June 21 finale, which also will be shown on NBCSN from 3-4:30 p.m. ET and NBC from 4:30-6 p.m. ET.

Tomac, who holds a three-point lead over Ken Roczen (who also recently visited “Lunch Talk Live”), told Tirico he had been riding for 90 minutes Thursday morning on a track outside Salt Lake City.

“Most of us we can rely on our past riding pretty well,” Tomac said. “The question is if you can go the distance. That’s what a lot of guys have to train on is going the distance. We go 20 minutes plus a lap. That’s what you’ve got to keep sharp is your general muscles. Within two to three days, your brain starts warming up more if you take a few weeks off the motorcycle.”

Here is the schedule and TV information for the rest of the season:

  • Sunday, May 31 (3-4 p.m. ET, NBCSN; 4-6 p.m. ET, NBC);
  • Wednesday, June 3 ( 10:00 pm – 1:00 am ET, NBCSN);
  • Sunday, June 7 (5-8:00 p.m. ET, NBCSN);
  • Wednesday, June 10 (7–10 p.m. ET, NBCSN);
  • Sunday, June 14 (7-10 p.m. ET, NBCSN);
  • Wednesday, June 17 (7-10 p.m. ET, NBCSN);
  • Sunday, June 21 (3-4:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN; 4:30 – 6:00 p.m. ET, NBC).
Eli Tomac rides his No. 3 Kawasaki in the Feb. 29 race at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia (Charles Mitchell/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images).