Monday 19 March 2018 / 06:17 AM

The world Motorsport lowdown: Edition No.18

Spares Box Presents the Weekly Motorsport Wrap-up: One Champion down, two to go…

One torrentially rainy weekend, 56 laps and one incredibly salty Nico Rosberg has been and gone, and in the wake of all that we have the 2015 F1 World Champion in the form of Lewis Hamilton. The Brit’s second world championship title in a row and third overall came off the back of what turned out to be one of the most entertaining races of the season. As with any HAM-ROS-VET podium result, the 2015 US Grand Prix was not without it’s share of controversy, and an arguably over-aggressive move from Hamilton at the first turn saw Rosberg lose his pole position almost instantly.

Rosberg was quick to voice his displeasure about this after the race, but nonetheless fought hard to take his first place back and storm into a 12-second lead. In typical Rosberg fashion, though, it all went wrong soon after a safety car was deployed, cutting his lead and putting Hamilton straight back onto his tail. From there, all it took was one mistake – in this case Rosberg lighting his rear wheels up and running off the track momentarily, for Hamilton to tear off into the distance and take the chequered flag.

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Sebastian Vettel put in a supreme drive to take the final podium place after starting from 13th place, and Max Verstappen stamped his mark as the rookie driver of the season to finish in 4th place. You could cut the tension with a knife after the race, with an already infamous incident between Rosberg and Hamilton occurring that may be talked about for years to come.

To the casual observer, it would appear that Hamilton simply tossed the 2nd place hat to Rosberg, who was clearly stewing in his own rage over the other side of the room. Rosberg was quick to retaliate, launching the hat back at Hamilton’s head with a look on his face that told everything. In what turned out to be possibly Rosberg’s most aggressive move of the season and the one that summed up the past year of racing more than any other, he missed anyway.

The look on Paddy Lowe’s face afterwards said more than words could ever describe, and it’sclear that Mercedes will be going into the off-season with a significant undertone of tension once more, but nonetheless celebrating both Drivers and Constructors championship victories.

In a motorsport series where the competition is still fierce, the Malaysian MotoGP ended in similar amounts of scandal yesterday after Valentino Rossi and Marc Marquez came together in an incident now creatively branded #SepangClash.

A weekend of tension between the two boiled over at turn 14 of lap 6 and the two came together during a battle for 3rd place. Rossi claims that he altered his line to get a better exit speed, but nonetheless was viewed to be at fault for the clash which sent Marquez out of the race. Various camera angles appear to show Rossi kicking his leg out at Marquez as the two went around the corner, an act that many (including Rossi) seem to think was provoked by Marquez’s actions over the weekend.

Earlier in the race, Marquez seemed to let Rossi’s team mate Jorge Lorenzo through with relative ease, a move that many believe was a deliberate attempt by the Honda rider to mess directly with the championship leader. Tense battles ensued, until the incident occurred. Did Rossi knock Marquez off deliberately? Many seem to think so. Was Marquez asking for it? Many seem to think so as well.

The incident has inadvertently blown the championship equation wide open, with Jorge Lorenzo finishing a comfortable 2nd ahead of Rossi to close the championship gap to just 7 points. The race stewards, finding Rossi at fault for the incident, docked Rossi 3 championship points and also ordered that Rossi start the championship decider race in last place. It’s probably worth nothing that poor old Dani Pedrosa, in one of MotoGP’s most un-talked about victories ever, took home the win as well.

Goodness gracious if the V8 Supercars championship hasn’t just come alive once more, with an appallingly bad weekend from Mark Winterbottom’s Prodrive team costing him 141 points out of his championship lead. Aiming to close the gap down to Frosty as each round passed, main championship rival Lowndes put in a great shift all weekend, finishing 3rd and 4th in each race respectively to pile pressure on the Pepsi Max Crew. Winterbottom fell victim to a terrible mistake in his pit release in the main race, eventually only managing an 11th-place finish.

In a historic return race for James Courtney, he and Garth Tander found themselves at the top of the podium after an immense weekend for the HRT Team. Courtney, who just a few months before suffered five broken ribs and a punctured lung at the Sydney Motorsport Park round, drove through what must have been incredible pain to claim an emotional victory.

This week’s crash of the week is there for you to judge for yourself. Who was at fault for the Sepang Clash? Watch and let us know.

[YouTube – MotoGP]

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About the author

Brad Nash

CBS’s resident rev-head, Brad’s weekly round-ups fill our readers in on everything they need to know from the world of motorsport.

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