Alexander Rossi sent Mercedes’ Toto Wolff an amusing message on Lewis Hamilton opening

Alexander Rossi Mercedes Hamilton
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Though he left behind his dream of a Formula One career a while ago (and happily found a home in IndyCar), one ride still piques the curiosity of Alexander Rossi – enough to playfully inquire about the interim opening at Mercedes to replace Lewis Hamilton last weekend.

During the Dec. 3 episode of his “Off Track” podcast with co-host James Hinchcliffe, Rossi revealed he jokingly had suggested his plausible candidacy to Mercedes AMG team principal and CEO Toto Wolff.

“To be honest, I did text Toto,” Rossi said with a chuckle. “Because it would be dumb not to. Did I get a response? No.” (UPDATE: In the Dec. 10 episode of “Off Track”, Rossi said he did receive a text reply (including a “winking face” emoji) on a new number from Wolff, who apparently had been told about this story.)

Explaining that he had texted “a hand-raised emoji,” Rossi said his credentials (aside from five F1 starts in 2015 and seven IndyCar victories, including the 2016 Indianapolis 500) were obvious for the Sakhir Grand Prix, which was won by Sergio Perez at the Bahrain International Circuit.

“I’ve raced at Bahrain like nine times,” Rossi said.

Hinchcliffe noted none of those starts likely came on the shorter, outer course used in Sunday’s race.

“That is irrelevant, James,” Rossi deadpanned. “I’ve been to Bahrain like 11 times if you count ‘The Amazing Race.’ ”

After working his way through European ladder series, Rossi had a star-crossed experience as the most recent American to race in F1 before joining the NTT IndyCar Series full time in 2016. He since has become a perennial Indy 500 and series title contender who has said he is committed to being an IndyCar lifer.

For the record, the Andretti Autosport driver highly approved of Mercedes’ choice for Hamilton’s seat, which Rossi called “the greatest opportunity in all of motorsports, probably ever.”

“I think there is only one person who should get that chance: George Russell,” Rossi said.

Racing for the ailing Hamilton (after the seven-time champion tested positive for COVID-19), Russell led 59 of 87 laps after starting second at Bahrain.

His shot at a breakthrough F1 victory was foiled only by a botched pit stop by Mercedes and a late tire puncture while chasing down Perez. Wolff said Russell will race the car again in the season finale Sunday at Abu Dhabi if Hamilton is unable to return this weekend.

It was the capper to an eventful week in F1. Hinchcliffe and Rossi spent much of the podcast waxing insightfully about Romain Grosjean’s miraculous escape from the fireball crash on the opening lap of the Bahrain GP a week earlier.

“As much as everybody that contributed over the last 30 to 40 years to safety in Formula One — and the creation of carbon tubs, the HANS device, the halo and fireproof everything, all those people obviously deserve a tremendous amount of credit for their combined efforts — but 50% of the appreciation or credit for Romain Grosjean’s life being spared goes to Romain Grosjean,” said Hinchcliffe, who survived his own brush with death in an Indy 500 practice crash five years ago. “For how that guy in that fight or flight moment had the wherewithal while completely engulfed in flames to take off his headrest, remove the steering wheel, unbuckle his seat belts, unplug his radio and get out of the side of the halo.

“He had to climb out a part of the car he’s never had to climb out before (while) wearing a HANS device, wearing a helmet. While on fire. I can not even fathom how difficult that would have been. Obviously, he was highly motivated but still. The fact he had the wherewithal to do it and did it as quickly as he did. And after just having suffered a massive impact as well. He just had a massive 50G hit and then had to do all that instantaneously.”

Said Rossi: “At the end of the day, it’s amazing, and we’re all very blessed that Romain is OK, and he’s fine. He’s going to get back in a race car at some point in time. And hell, he might even come IndyCar racing, that would be cool.

“It obviously shows as much as people can take F1 guys who are no longer racing F1 coming to IndyCar as a slap in the face, that’s completely the wrong way to look at it. Formula One is the pinnacle of motorsports. It always has been, it always will be. But there are guys who still love what IndyCar has to offer. They’re not coming here for the money. They’re not coming here to go to glorious locations all the time. They’re coming here because at the age of 6, 10, 12, 15, they fell in love with competing. They fell in love with racing, and they know IndyCar offers that.”

The “Off Track” episode, which also features a thick riff on Rossi’s savant-like knowledge on the NFL’s COVID-19 protocols and roster rules, can be heard by clicking on the embed below or downloading the episode wherever you get podcasts.

Supercross 2023: Results and points after Houston


Eli Tomac led all 23 laps of the Monster Energy Supercross race at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas and the results show he now has three wins in the season and is one shy of tying Ricky Carmichael’s 48 for third on the all-time list. With this win, he takes a seven point lead in the standings with 12 rounds remaining.

For Tomac at Houston, it was literally a tale of two races. Both his heat and the main started the same with Tomac grabbing the holeshot, but he was passed quickly by Chase Sexton in the heat. Tomac faded quickly after getting passed and was trailing by almost eight seconds at the checkered flag, which caused him to retreat to the hauler and reassess his lines. Without making any adjustments to the bike, Tomac entered the Main with a new attitude, and simply rode better.

Supercross Results Houston
Chase Sexton played it safe in the sand, but he was aggressive in every other turn. – Feld Motor Sports

Sexton had so great a lead in his heat that one could not even use the cliche that he left Tomac in his dust. By the time the rider with the No. 1 plate crossed the same real estate as the No. 23, the dust was well settled. Sexton had a modest start on the initial gate drop and ended Lap 1 in fourth. He worked his way past Aaron Plessinger on Lap 3 and got around Jason Anderson three laps later. Sexton was able to catch Tomac and pressure him, but he picked a safe, i.e. slow line through the sand section and could never get alongside his rival.

RESULTS: Click here for 450 Results; Click here for full 250 East Main Results

After starting the season with back-to-back seventh-place finishes, Anderson now has a pair of podiums. He won his heat and was easily one of the top three riders in the field, ultimately finishing behind the riders who finished 1-2 in the other preliminary. Anderson was subdued on the podium – happy he was there, but disappointed he has not yet found a way around the riders he is chasing in the points.

In the early stages of the race, Plessinger appeared to have a bike capable of winning. He pressured Tomac on the first two laps and was setting up the pass just as a red flag waved for an injury to Dylan Ferrandis that brought out a red flag. He lost second to Anderson on the restart and eventually slipped to fourth to score his first top-five of the season.

Click here for 450 Heat 1 | Heat 2 | Last Chance Qualifier

Cooper Webb rounded out the top five. Along with Sexton, he is now one of just two riders with a sweep of that mark in 2023, but with Tomac’s three wins, he is beginning to slip in the points. Webb sits third in the standings, 12 points behind the leader.

Ken Roczen entered the race as the third rider with a sweep of the top five and progressively better results in the first three races of 2023. Had the pattern held, he would have finished at least second, but he struggled for most of the night, finishing fifth in his heat and eighth in the Main. There may have been extenuating circumstances, however. Ferrandis’ injury was suffered when he landed on the back of Roczen’s bike and potentially damaged the No. 94 Suzuki.

Click here for 450 Main results | Rider Points | Manufacturer Points | Lap Chart

The 250 East division made their 2023 debut in Houston, but the name atop the board was familiar. Hunter Lawrence joined his brother Jett Lawrence as the early points’ leader in their respective divisions, but it didn’t come without a little anxiety.

Riding behind Supercross newbie Tom Vialle on the second lap, Lawrence was forced to take evasive action when the leader pitched his bike sideways to scrub speed over a jump. Lawrence veered left and landed off course, but he cleared the Tuff Blox and kept his bike straight. Lawrence made the pass for the lead on Lap 18 and never relinquished it.

Click here for 250 Heat 1 | Heat 2 | Last Chance Qualifier

In his first attempt on a 250, Max Anstie ascended to the podium. – Feld Motor Sports

England’s Max Anstie made the move from 450s to 250s this year after scoring a best result of 11th on the big bike at Anaheim 2 last year. It didn’t take anytime at all to find the front for Anstie, who finished second in both his heat and main.

It has been a while since Jordon Smith stood on the podium: February 23, 2019 to be exact when he finished that well in Detroit. A series of injuries kept him off the bike for much of 2020 and 2021, but he’s proving to be a factor when he’s healthy.

Click here for 250 Main results | 250 East Rider Points | Combined Rider Points | Lap Chart

There was a lot of hype surrounding the debut of Haiden Deegan in the 250 class and he proved it was merited. He finished fourth in his heat and main. He was as far down as ninth at one point in the feature before slowly picking off riders on his way to the front.

Jeremy Martin finished fifth and now has a streak of three consecutive top-fives to his credit stretching back to last year. Unfortunately, his pair of strong runs in 2022 were interrupted by injury.

Making impressive debuts in the 250 division, Vialle recovered from a fall to finish seventh, Chance Hymas finished eighth, and Talon Hawkins just missed the top 10 with an 11th.

2023 Results

Race 3: Chase Sexton, Levi Kitchen win
Race 2: Eli Tomac, Jett Lawrence win
Round 1: Tomac, Lawrence win

2023 SuperMotocross Power Rankings

Week 3: Ken Roczen takes the top spot
Week 2: Roczen moves up; Chase Sexton falls
Week 1: Eli Tomac tops 450s; Jett Lawrence 250s