F1: Vettel, Ferrari roll to victory in Canada

Photo: Getty Images
0 Comments

Sebastian Vettel blitzed the field in Sunday’s Canadian Grand Prix, taking off into the lead after starting on the pole, and leading all 70 laps to take an assertive victory on the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.

The victory, Vettel’s third of the 2018 Formula 1 season, is his second triumph in Canada, and sees him retake the lead of the driver’s world championship over Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton, who finished fourth.

Hamilton’s Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas tailed Vettel the entire way after fighting off Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen off the start, but Bottas never got nearly close enough to mount a challenge, though he did come home a solid second.

Verstappen completed a resurgent weekend for him, running a trouble-free race to round out the podium in third. Teammate Daniel Ricciardo overtook Hamilton during a sequence of pit stops to finish fourth, relegating Hamilton to a lowly fifth, the Briton having battled a power unit issue during the race.

Kimi Raikkonen finished sixth, followed by the Renault teammates of Nico Hulkenberg and Carlos Sainz Jr. in seventh and eighth. Force India’s Esteban Ocon finished ninth, while Sauber’s Charles Leclerc completed yet another solid race to finish in 10th, his third points finish of the season.

Of note: the race was interrupted by a Safety Car for a scary Lap 1 crash involving Williams’ Lance Stroll and Toro Rosso’s Brendon Hartley. The two ran side-by-side on the run up to the second chicane, but Stroll broke loose and, upon correcting his FW41 chassis, drifted right into Hartley.

The two then clouted the outside wall together, with Hartley briefly getting airborne and going onto his side before coming back down right-side up. Both drivers climbed out unhurt, but their days were over on the spot.

Vettel now leads Hamilton by one point in the driver’s championship – Vettel with 121 points, and Hamilton with 120. Bottas also overtook Ricciardo for third in the championship, with 86 points to Ricciardo’s 84.

Full results can be viewed here. Formula 1 next heads to the Circuit Paul Ricard in two weeks for the return of the French Grand Prix on June 24.

Follow@KyleMLavigne

Jack Miller wins the MotoGP Japanese Grand Prix as Fabio Quartararo stops his downward points’ slide

0 Comments

Jack Miller ran away with the MotoGP Japanese Grand Prix at Motegi as Fabio Quartararo stopped his downward slide in the championship when a last-lap accident from his closest rival in the standings caused Francesco Bagnaia to score zero points.

Starting seventh, Miller quickly made his way forward. He was second at the end of two laps. One lap later, he grabbed the lead from Jorge Martin. Once in the lead, Miller posted three consecutive fastest laps and was never seriously challenged. It was Australian native Miller’s first race win of the season and his sixth podium finish.

The proximity to his home turf was not lost.

“I can ride a motorcycle sometimes,” Miller said in NBC Sports’ post-race coverage. “I felt amazing all weekend since I rolled out on the first practice. It feels so awesome to be racing on this side of the world.

“What an amazing day. It’s awesome; we have the home Grand Prix coming up shortly. Wedding coming up in a couple of weeks. I’m over the moon; can’t thank everyone enough.”

Miller beat Brad Binder to the line by 3.4 seconds with third-place Jorge Martin finishing about one second behind.

But the center of the storm was located just inside the top 10 as both Quartararo and Bagnaia started deep in the field.

Quartararo was on the outside of row three in ninth with Bagnaia one row behind in 12th. Neither rider moved up significantly, but the championship continued to be of primary importance as Bagnaia put in a patented late-race charge to settle onto Quartararo’s back tire, which would have allowed the championship leader to gain only a single point.

On the final lap, Bagnaia charged just a little too hard and crashed under heavy braking, throwing away the seven points he would have earned for a ninth-place finish.

The day was even more dramatic for the rider who entered the MotoGP Japanese Grand Prix third in the standings. On the sighting lap, Aleix Espargaro had an alarm sound, so he peeled off into the pits, dropped his primary bike and jumped aboard the backup. Starting from pit lane, he trailed the field and was never able to climb into the points. An undisclosed electronic problem was the culprit.

For Quartararo, gaining eight points on the competition was more than a moral victory. This was a track on which he expected to run moderately, and he did, but the problems for his rivals gives him renewed focus with four rounds remaining.

Next week, the series heads to Thailand and then Miller’s home track of Phillip Island in Australia. They will close out the Pacific Rim portion of the schedule before heading to Spain for the finale in early November.

It would appear team orders are not in play among the Ducati riders. Last week’s winner Enea Bastianini made an aggressive early move on Bagnaia for position before the championship contender wrestled the spot back.

In his second race back following arm surgery, Marc Marquez won the pole. His last pole was more than 1,000 days ago on this same track in 2019, the last time the series competed at Motegi. Marquez slipped to fifth in the middle stages of the race, before regaining a position to finish just off the podium.

In Moto2 competition, Ai Ogura beat Augusto Fernandez to close the gap in that championship to two points. Fernandez holds the scant lead. Alonso Lopez rounded out the podium.

Both American riders, Cameron Beaubier and Joe Roberts finished just outside the top 10 in 11th and 12th respectively.