Motorsport Monday

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Updated: May 12, 2014

Another week, another weekend of motorsport. Lots of single seater action, Motorsport Monday has the details!

Formula 1

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Lewis Hamilton and the Mercedes team smashed home another win this year, with a victory at the Spanish GP. After starting on pole it was advantage Hamilton, and he consolidated that advantage with a lightning get away at the start. His team mate Nico Rosberg was less fortunate, and for the second race in a row had a somewhat tardy start. Whilst not as disastrous as in China, it still cost him a great deal of time, nearly losing a place to Valtteri Bottas’ Williams.

The first lap most mostly clean, apart from some wheel banging from non other than Pastor Maldonado. After that the race was mostly processional, with the only real overtakes being made in the pits. Most of the front runners opted for split strategies, which meant that the race hotted up in the last 15 or so laps.

Clever strategy allowed Sebastian Vettel to move up to 4th from 15th on the grid, but the real focus was on the Mercedes at the front. After enduring a middle stint on the slower tyre, Rosberg found himself in a much quicker car at the end. Lap after lap Rosberg gained on Hamilton, and got to within a second in the end. But unfortunately he ran out of laps, and finished just 6 tenths shy of first place. Nico later went on the claim that if he had one more lap he would’ve won. And that’s something I believe is true.

It was a good race for Red Bull in the end as well, with Daniel Ricciardo finishing on the podium, just ahead of his team mate. By their own standards Ferrari had a poor race, finishing 6th and 7th. But even worse was McLaren, who for the third race in succession finished outside the points.

IndyCar

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Simon Pagenaud has won the inaugural Grand Prix of Indianapolis. Now obviously IndyCar has been to Indianapolis, but never before has it raced on the infield circuit. Formula 1 raced there for quite a few years, but the track was twisty and unpopular, and one certain GP in 05 killed the race dead for fans. But for 2014 the track has been reconfigured, making it into a much faster track entirely.

Sebastian Saavedra started on pole, but made a mess of the standing start, and stalled the car. I looked as though all the cars had avoided him, but Carlos Munoz clipped the back in an attempt to dodge the stricken car. Russian rookie Mikhail Aleshin was not so lucky though. After starting from last on the grid, he failed to see the stationary car, and ploughed into the back of Saavedra at around 130 MPH. The impact was massive, completely destroying both cars, but luckily all the drivers involved managed to walk away unhurt. There was so much debris on the start finish line that the safety car had to lead the cars through the pit lane.

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That was not the last of the incidents though. Scott Dixon and Will Power were battling hard, and unfortunately it was too hard. Scott made a move up the inside of Will into turn 3, but ran out of room and knocked himself into a spin. He rejoined the race, but a lap down.

On the restart there was a bizarre incident between Martin plowman and Franck Mantagny. Martin made an opportunist dive past the cars next to him. He realised he was going too fast and attempted to cut the corner. But he lost the back of the car, and slid sideways. Whilst going sideways he snagged the kerb, which launched the car into the air. As he flew through he air he bounced over the top of Franck’s car, removing the wing and the engine cover. Franck retired shortly afterwards, but somehow Martin managed to continue, albeit 3 laps down.

IndyCar is testing a new restart procedure this year, and it has caught drivers out a few times now. At the restart for the previous crash, the field got all bunched up on the start finish line. Graham Rahal was braking due to the concertina effect,  whereas Juan-Pablo Montoya accelerated. The obvious happened, with Montoya punting Rahal into the wall.

Once the field got going again, James Hinchcliffe was taken out of the race in the most frightening of circumstances. In the jostling for position somebody lost a front wing end plate. This end plate was thrown into the air, and hit Hinchcliffe square in the face. He just held control of his car, but suffered a concussion because of the incident.

After all the chaos, the race became marginal on fuel. Non of the front runners knew if they had enough fuel to make it to the finish, but pitting in would mean losing several places. Oriol Servia was the first to break, diving into to pits from the lead with three laps to go. The cars behind him decided to risk it and stay out. A decision which gave Simon Pagenaud the win.

 

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