Valtteri Bottas edges Lewis Hamilton for F1 Nurburgring pole position

F1 Nurburgring pole
Dan Istitene - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images
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NÜRBURG, Germany — Valtteri Bottas ended Lewis Hamilton’s run of five consecutive Formula One pole positions by claiming first place on the F1 grid Saturday at the Nurburgring.

Hamilton briefly sat atop the time charts for the Eifel Grand Prix after toppling Max Verstappen in the third session, but his teammate Bottas sped through seconds later with an unbeatable time, fastest in all three sectors of the Nürburgring track.

“It’s such a nice feeling when you get it done the last lap,” the Finnish driver said, adding his final run was “spot on.”

Bottas’ time beat Hamilton by 0.256 seconds and Verstappen by 0.293. Ferrari recovered a little ground after a miserable run of races, with Charles Leclerc qualifying fourth and Sebastian Vettel 11th.

Teams went into qualifying with much less information about the track conditions than usual after bad weather wiped out both Friday practices, leaving only one hour on Saturday to perfect the setups. It was especially hard for teams to get the most grip from their tires in chilly conditions in western Germany.

Sunday’s race could be held with temperatures in the 40s, making it easily one of the coldest races in recent years.

“If it’s any colder than this, I’m going to have to race with my scarf on,” Hamilton joked after qualifying.

The cold makes it hard to get heat into the tires, which can cause understeer. Driving slowly behind the safety car if there’s an accident will cause the tires to cool down even more. However, the weather could also allow drivers to use the same set of tires for longer.

“We’re all in the same boat. I don’t really know how far the tires will go, but when it gets a bit cooler, generally they can go a bit further,” Hamilton said.

He will have to overtake his teammate on Sunday if he’s to match Michael Schumacher’s record of 91 wins in F1.

Bottas is hoping he can stage a comeback in the title race after cutting Hamilton’s lead to 44 points with a win two weeks ago in Russia. Mercedes drivers have taken pole for every race this season, with eight for Hamilton and three for Bottas.

Nico Hülkenberg woke up on Saturday expecting to be a pundit on German TV for qualifying. He ended up driving for Racing Point after Lance Stroll felt unwell.

He was in the nearby city of Cologne and joked it was like “a heart attack” when he got a call from the team. Hülkenberg missed practice and had just four laps in qualifying as he placed 20th and last.

“It was going to be super difficult to get a really good result out of this,” he said. “I had to kind of find my feet again, find my rhythm, which is obviously in that short amount of time is very hard. So I’m happy with those four laps, even though it’s last.”

The German previously stood in for Racing Point’s other driver, Sergio Perez, in August when Perez tested positive for the coronavirus.

Sunday will see the first F1 race since 2013 at the Nürburgring and is named the Eifel Grand Prix after a nearby mountain range.

Xtreme Outlaw Midget Series triples to 34 races in 2023

Xtreme Outlaw Midget 2023
Xtreme Outlaw Series
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After hosting 10 rounds in 2022, the Xtreme Outlaw Midget Series 2023 schedule will more than triple to 34 races. The 2022 season featured seven different winners in the first seven races, a female racer in Jade Avedisian as the only repeat winner and Zach Daum as the champion.

“Dirt Midget racing is a growing entity in American motorsports, and the Xtreme Outlaw Midget Series presented by Toyota is proud to drive further into the growth of the division with both a diverse and lucrative schedule for 2023,” newly appointed Series Director Tyler Bachman said in a press release. “From the kickoff at our first indoor event, to each of the new tracks we’re set to visit next year, it’s a lineup we know both our teams and fans will enjoy.”

The championship purse fund has also more than double with an increase of $42,000 to $80,000 in 2023. The champion will win $25,000. Last year, Daum pocketed $10,000.

In addition, the series will offer tow money to the top 12 in points. Six drivers attempted to qualify for all 10 races in 2022 with 89 drivers attending.

The series will begin on March 10 at Southern Illinois Center in Du Quoin, Ill. and end the same place it did in 2022 at I-44 Riverside Speedway in Oklahoma City on October 15.

During the season, they will visit 21 tracks in 10 states.

Some highlights of the season include the Xtreme Outlaw Midget Series pairing up with the World of Outlaws Sprint Cars in 2023 at Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55 in Pevely, Mo. in April for the Outlaw Showdown and again in August for the Ironman 55 weekend, as well as the creation of a five-day Midget Speedweek.

The Midget Speedweek will immediately follow the Ironman 55 with a swing through Pennsylvania and New York.

Xtreme Outlaw Midget 2023 Schedule

Friday, March 10 | Southern Illinois Center | Du Quoin, Ill.
Saturday, March 11 | Southern Illinois Center | Du Quoin, Ill.
Friday, March 31 | Farmer City Raceway | Farmer City, Ill.

Saturday, April 1 | Farmer City Raceway | Farmer City, Ill.
Friday, April 14 | Federated AP Raceway at I-55 | Pevely, Mo.
Saturday, April 15 | Federated AP Raceway at I-55 | Pevely, Mo.

Friday, May 5 | Humboldt Speedway | Humboldt, Kan.
Saturday, May 6 | 81 Speedway | Park City, Kan.
Tuesday, May 23 | Millbridge Speedway | Salisbury, N.C.
Wednesday, May 24 | Millbridge Speedway | Salisbury, N.C.

Thursday, June 1 | Tri-City Speedway | Pontoon Beach, Ill.
Friday, June 2 | Wayne County Speedway | Wayne City, Ill.
Saturday, June 3 | Wayne County Speedway | Wayne City, Ill.

Friday, July 21 | TBA
Saturday, July 22 | Southern Illinois Raceway | Marion, Ill.
Friday, July 28 | TBA
Saturday, July 29 | Atomic Speedway | Chillicothe, Ohio
Sunday, July 30 | Brushcreek Motorsports Complex | Peebles, Ohio

Friday, August 4 | Federated AP Raceway at I-55 | Pevely, Mo.
Sat, August 5 | Federated AP Raceway at I-55 | Pevely, Mo.
Tuesday, August 8 | Clyde Martin Memorial Speedway | Newmanstown, Pa.
Wednesday, August 9 | Action Track USA | Kutztown, Pa.
Thursday, August 10 | Linda’s Speedway | Jonestown, Pa.
Friday, August 11 | TBA
Saturday, August 12 | Bridgeport Motorsports Park | Swedesboro, N.J.
Friday, August 25 | Davenport Speedway | Davenport, Iowa
Saturday, August 26 | Davenport Speedway | Davenport, Iowa

Friday, September 1 | Paragon Speedway | Paragon, Ind.
Saturday, September 2 | Paragon Speedway | Paragon, Ind.
Friday, September 15 | Jacksonville Speedway | Jacksonville, Ill.
Saturday, September 16 | Red Hill Raceway | Sumner, Ill.

Friday, October 13 | Port City Raceway | Tulsa, Okla.
Saturday, October 14 | I-44 Riverside Speedway | Oklahoma City, Okla.
Sunday, October 15 | I-44 Riverside Speedway | Oklahoma City, Okla.

* Co-sanctioned with POWRi