Spares Box Presents the Weekly Motorsport Wrap-up: Rosberg has a Fiesta while Porsche claims WEC glory
In the first race of Nico Rosberg’s self-declared “mini-championship” between him and now actual champion Lewis Hamilton, it was the German who claimed bragging rights at Sunday’s Mexican Grand Prix. Almost everything went right for Rosberg over the weekend, claiming the pole position, the race win and the fastest lap to secure a first career hat-trick (or in this case, sombrero-trick) and his 12th career victory overall. Rosberg and Hamilton’s one-two was also Mercedes’ 10th one-two of the 2015 season, in a race that Hamilton joked was free of any mistakes from Rosberg or unfortunate “gusts of wind”.
Valterri Bottas claimed third place in what turned out to be an uncharacteristically disastrous weekend for Ferrari. Kimi Raikkonen clashed with compatriot Bottas, breaking his rear suspension in the process, during their battle for the final podium spot. Ferrari teammate Sebastian Vettel also crashed out, failing to finish in the points for just the second time this season. Home town hero Sergio Perez gets an honourable mention, finishing 8th to become the first Mexican driver to score points at his home race since 1970. The championship heads to Brazil in two weeks’ time, and while the majority of the championship standings are all but certain, hopefully there is still some great racing to go.
Porsche continued their newfound dominance of the World Endurance Championship at yesterday’s 6 Hours of Shanghai, sweeping the front of the grid in both Qualifying and the Race to cap off another triumphant weekend. The #17 Porsche 919 of Timo Bernhard, Brendon Hartley and Australia’s Mark Webber came home first after a rain- and drama-filled race, which started proceedings under the supervision of the safety car. After the race got underway, the first three hours were marred by numerous spins, prompting a bunch of full-course yellow flags while stricken cars had to be retrieved from the Gravel. As the track began to dry up, Porsche were able to extract more out of their final set of wet weather tyres and assert their authority over the challengers which came in the form of the two Audis.
A dramatic last hour prevailed, as the #18 Porsche piloted by Roman Dumais span at turn two, falling behind the two Audis and being forced to produce a triumphant drive (plus some pit stop heroics from his team) to claw his way back onto the second step of the podium. The one-two victory clinched the WEC manufacturers title for Porsche, making it impossible for Audi to claim the title, regardless of what happens. The #17 Porsche Team now also boasts a significant lead of the Drivers’ Championship going into the final round at the 6 Hours of Bahrain.
Drama was also abundant amongst the lower classes at Shanghai, with the Signatech team taking a great maiden victory in the LMP2 class. In the LMGTE class, Porsche enjoyed another great victory with the two Team Manthey 911s finishing first and third to bring the LMGTE drivers and constructors championships down to the wire. Just 4 points separate the Stuttgart manufacturers from Ferrari, who also enjoyed a victory in the LMGTE AM Class with AF Corse.
There’s not really much of a crash of the week, so instead I present to you the infinite Toto Wolff shot, as he watches himself watching himself watching himself watching himself…