F1: Verstappen wins in Austria as Mercedes suffers double DNF

Photo: Getty Images

Max Verstappen gave Red Bull Racing its first triumph at their home track by surviving a chaotic Austrian Grand Prix to claim the victory. It is the fourth career victory for Verstappen, and his first of the 2018 Formula 1 season.

Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel finished second and third, while Mercedes suffered a disastrous day that saw both Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas retire – Bottas on lap 15 with a hydraulic failure, and Hamilton with a possible power unit problem on Lap 63.

The day looked promising for Mercedes in the early laps. Hamilton led after getting the jump off the start, while Bottas, who fell back as far as fourth after stumbling off the line from the pole, got back to second after making a three-wide pass on the outside of Raikkonen and Verstappen entering Turn 3.

The two Mercedes WO9s ran 1-2 in the opening stint, but things began falling apart when Bottas pulled off in Turn 3 on Lap 15 with the aforementioned hydraulic issues, causing a Virtual Safety Car to have his machine removed.

Under the VSC, Red Bull Ferrari called their drivers into the pits, while Mercedes elected to leave Hamilton out. It ultimately proved costly when the VSC ended, as Hamilton did not have a big enough lead over Verstappen, Ricciardo, and Raikkonen to stay ahead of them when it came time for him to pit.

Indeed, Hamilton dropped to fourth when Mercedes pitted him on Lap 26, and he was unable to charge forward, with Vettel eventually diving inside of Hamilton entering Turn 3 on Lap 39 to take that position.

It left Red Bull running 1-2 with Verstappen leading Ricciardo, but Ricciardo’s day came unraveled on Lap 39 when he pitted after suffering a blistered left-rear tire. Ricciardo’s day then came to a premature end on Lap 54, when his RB18 suffered a gear sync problem.

His problems moved Raikkonen into second and Vettel into third. Hamilton then ran fourth, but only momentarily before he lost power on Lap 63 and pulled off the track.

Up front, neither Ferrari could catch Verstappen in the closing laps, leaving Verstappen to give Red Bull Racing a home win at the Red Bull Ring. Verstappen also enjoyed a “home win” of sorts, with a strong contingent of Dutch fans converging on the Austrian track.

Haas F1 had their best race of the year, with Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen finishing fourth and fifth, and Esteban Ocon and Sergio Perez gave Force India strong results in finishing sixth and seventh.

Fernando Alonso put McLaren in the points by finishing eighth, while Sauber put both of their cars in the points as well, with Charles Leclerc and Marcus Ericsson finishing ninth and tenth.

Race results can be found here and updated standings are below. Vettel now leads the driver’s championship again, by one point over Hamilton. Verstappen now sits fifth, three points behind Ricciardo, while Raikkonen moved up to third.


Motocross: Chase Sexton to miss Hangtown after midweek practice crash

Sexton Hangtown practice crash
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Chase Sexton announced on Instagram he will sit out this weekend’s Pro Motocross race at Hangtown in Rancho Cordova, California after a practice crash on Tuesday left him with a concussion.

Sexton’s crash on Tuesday happened during a test session at Fox Raceway.

“Bummed to make this post but I’ll be sitting out this weekend,” Sexton said. “As you guys saw I had a big one during qualifying at Pala, then another one on Tuesday this week that banged me up pretty good. Nothing broken just need a few days to get back to 100%.”

Despite his crash in the first qualification session in Pala, California, Sexton mounted up for both motos and finished second in each race behind his teammate Jett Lawrence, who was making his Motocross debut and won with a pair of first-place finishes. Sexton padded his SuperMotocross points’ lead over the injured Eli Tomac, who is still second in the combined Supercross and Motocross standings despite missing the SX finale at Salt Lake City and the outdoor opener with a ruptured Achilles tendon.

Sexton has an advantage of 78 points over Cooper Webb and cannot give up his SMX lead by missing this round.

At stake, however, is the risk of losing ground to Lawrence in the Pro Motocross championship. Sexton currently trails his teammate by six points and is liable to lose significant ground this weekend.

In addition to his concussion, Sexton has also been diagnosed with mononucleosis and the combination of the two conditions caused the team to make the difficult decision to keep him out of the lineup at Hangtown.

“I’m super-bummed to miss this weekend’s race,” Sexton said in a press release. “I feel like I rode well at Pala, and I was really looking forward to Hangtown because it’s a good track for me. Unfortunately, I was already pretty banged up from my qualifying crash on Saturday, and now with mono and Tuesday’s concussion on top of it, I want to do the right thing and hopefully be back on the track soon.”

A return date for Sexton has not yet been announced.

Other 2023 Injury News

450 riders
Eli Tomac, Achilles tendon | It was just a freak deal
Justin Barcia,
collarbone and shoulder
Jason Anderson, vertebrae
Christian Craig, elbow
Marvin Musquin, wrist
Malcolm Stewart, knee | Signs two-year extension
Aaron Plessinger, hip | returned at Salt Lake City
Dylan Ferrandis, concussion | Will not return until Motocross
Cooper Webb,
concussion | returned at Pala

250 riders
Nate Thrasher, hip
Stilez Robertson, leg
Cameron McAdoo, shoulder
Seth Hammaker, arm and wrist
Austin Forkner, knee | Injury isn’t the hardest part
Jo Shimoda, collarbone | returned at Atlanta
Jalek Swoll, arm | returned at Pala