Spares Box Presents: The Weekly Motorsport Wrap-up
In a race of pretty much everything you can predict about Formula 1 this season happening in unison, Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton made it a hat-trick of wins in Japan. In other similarly non-surprising events, Nico Rosberg once again found him outclassed, out-manoeuvred and perhaps unfairly overtaken by his teammate (depending on who you ask), Ferrari locked out the second row, Red Bull didn’t really do anything of note and McHonda embarrassed themselves on home soil. In fact, all five of the top drivers finished in their respective positions in the world championship, adding precisely nothing to the championship picture and making a third championship victory for Lewis Hamilton look increasingly likely.
Such was the frustration of McLaren Honda’s Fernando Alonso that he was forced to go into PR damage control after the race, coming on the radio twice during proceedings to vent his anger at his woefully underpowered engine. Words like “embarrassing” and “GP2 Engine” were thrown around on a day where retaining some semblance of honour was crucial for Honda in front of their home crowd. God only knows where they go from here, and it can’t help that their woes were compounded by almost constant coverage during the race, to the point where Mercedes team principal Niki Lauda bemoaned the lack of coverage the Mercedes drivers received while leading the race.
It’s safe to say that after the relative dullness of the Japanese Grand Prix, many a motorsport fan turned to the Aragon MotoGP for entertainment – and they were not disappointed. Following another Marc Marquez self-inflicted crash, Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo stormed home to take the win and bring Valentino Rossi’s championship lead down to just 14 points. Producing a brilliant ride in front of 67,000 fans, Lorenzo led from start to finish, rarely looking troubled by anyone other than Marquez, who lost his front end and crashed out while closing in on the leader. Marquez’s DNF was his fifth of the year, and he now trails Rossi by 70 points in the championship with only 100 still remaining to be scored.
However, it was the duel that occurred between Rossi and Honda’s Dani Pedrosa that caught the attention of viewers, and between them they produced some truly stunning racing. It was Pedrosa who triumphed after what many are calling the best ride of his career, prevailing over The Doctor by less than a tenth of a second. Rossi’s third-place finish sealed the constructor’s championship for Movistar Yamaha, their first since 2010. The Ducatis of Andrea Iannone and Andrea Dovizioso passed the chequered flag in fourth and fifth, capping off a weekend where the power of the two Italian bikes proved incredibly effective.
Citroen closed out a second successive WTCC constructor’s championship over the weekend, with Jose Maria Lopez and Yvan Muller winning a race apiece to seal a dream weekend for the French stable. Just two years after they transitioned their squad from the World Rally Championship onto the tarmac, the project has been an incredible success for the white and red. With just two races to go, Lopez’s lead in the drivers’ championship standings is looking more and more secure, and there’s no arguing that it would be well-deserved if he were to take out the overall glory.
It’s the crash of the week!
There are two crashes of the week for you lucky, lucky people. Responsible for the red flag that ended Saturday’s Japanese GP qualifying prematurely, Daniil Kyvyat was lucky to walk away from this immense hit after clipping the grass in his Red Bull. The second one, well, just watch.