Racing weekend summary: Hamilton's fifth win in Canada, Lada's double WTCC triumph in Moscow
Four world championship events were in the focus of motorsport fans during the previous weekend in Canada, Russia, Italy and Norway. In the same time in America, IndyCar Series and NASCAR drivers competed on two ovals, at Texas Motor Speedway and Michigan International Speedway. At the iconic Silverstone, fifty cars were on the grid in the joined race of the British GT Championship and GT4 European Series.
Hamilton’s fifth victory in Montreal
At the Canadian Grand Prix, the seventh round of the Formula One championship, Lewis Hamilton managed to win for the fifth time at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. His main rival wasn’t a teammate and championship leader Nico Rosberg but Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, who had the best start and took the lead ahead of two Silver Arrows before Turn 1.
Later during the race, a strategic game was on Hamilton’s side and he retook the lead with just one pit stop while Vettel was changing the tyres two times. The German slightly decreased the gap to a minimum of four seconds, but two mistakes cost him, so Hamilton crossed the finish line five seconds ahead of Vettel.
Rosberg fifth, championship lead down to nine points
All other drivers were in the second league, as third-placed Valtteri Bottas was 46sec behind Hamilton. It was Williams’ first podium in 2016. Red Bull’s Max Verstappen showed another impressive performance and finished fourth, resisting last lap attack from Rosberg. Nico survived the first-corner contact with Hamilton and late-race puncture, so at the end, he had to be satisfied with fifth place.
Jenson Button was the first of three retirements, pulling over on Lap 11 due to engine failure. The water leak caused the retirement of Jolyon Palmer‘s Renault on Lap 19 while Felipe Massa parked his Williams into the garage on Lap 38.
After seven races, Rosberg’s advantage in the championship standings is nine points. Just to remind you, the gap was 43 points after four races. The eighth round, European Grand Prix at the new street circuit in the Azerbaijan capital Baku, is scheduled for next Sunday, June 19.
Lada’s double WTCC triumph at Moscow Raceway
In the Russian round of the World Touring Car Championship, at the Moscow Raceway, Lada Sport Rosneft team delighted 20,000 local fans as Lada Vesta drivers claimed victories in both races. Touring car veteran Gabriele Tarquini progressed from ninth place on the grid to the victory in the Opening Race while his teammate Nicky Catsburg was the winner in the Main race, claiming his first ever WTCC victory.
The announcement of Lada’s WTCC double triumph were Saturday’s qualification runs and MAC3 time trial for teams, with a domination of yellow-liveried Vestas in both sessions. Catsburg, Tarquini and Hugo Valente first scored a historic 1-2-3 qualifying result for the Russian team. Shortly after that, the trio was fastest again in the MAC3 time trial, but Tarquini was penalized because of false start and victory goes to Honda team.
1-2 victories for Lada in both races
The start of the Opening Race was delayed after rain fell during formation lap, so all drivers went to pits to replace Yokohama slick tires with proper tires for wet. Due to reversed grid, Tiago Monteiro started from pole but shortly after the start he lost few positions. Tarquini had a great start, jumping from ninth to fourth on the opening lap. He worked his way to the top and overtook the lead from Yvan Muller on Lap 5. Nicky Catsburg also passed Muller on Lap 9 and secured a 1-2 victory for Lada. Muller defended his podium place ahead of Lada’s third driver Valente.
In the Main Race, also driven on the wet track, Catsburg led from start to finish ahead of Tarquini, securing one more 1-2 victory for the Russian team. Honda’s Norbert Michelisz charged from fifth to third on the opening lap, but he had no chance to go further against flying Ladas. His teammates Rob Huff and Tiago Monteiro rounded top 5 in the second race.
Lopez still in the lead, despite missed podiums
Jose Maria Lopez, who was fifth and eighth in two Russian races, remained in the championship lead after six rounds and twelve races. He collected 223 points. Mehdi Bennani and Nicky Catsburg are sharing the second place, with 118 points each. Tiago Monteiro (112) and Yvan Muller (109) are fourth and fifth respectively. The next WTCC round is scheduled for June 24-26 in Portugal, at Circuito Internacional de Vila Real.
Thierry Neuville’s second WRC victory
The sixth round of the 2016 World Rally Championship took place at Sardinia. The winner of the 13th Rally Italia Sardegna was Hyundai’s Thierry Neuville, accompanied by his navigator Nicolas Gilsoul. It was Neuville’s second WRC victory in a career after he triumphed two years ago in Germany. Neuville would celebrate 28th birthday on June 16, so this victory is the best possible birthday present.
There were few lead changes during the first leg on Friday, with Sebastien Ogier and Jari-Matti Latvala as the main rivals of Belgian driver. Neuville took the lead after Special Stage 7 and remained on the top until the end. He won with a 24.8sec advantage over Latvala. Ogier was 1 min 38.8sec behind Neuville. On the Power Stage, the last stage of the rally, Ogier took three additional points ahead of Kevin Abbring and Latvala.
Ogier championship leader, Sordo jumped to the second place
After few major retirements of drivers who was near the top (Hayden Paddon, Mads Ostberg, Andreas Mikkelsen), Dani Sordo was awarded for his consistent performance and he finished fourth. With 12 points from Sardinia, Sordo jumped to the second place in the championship standings after six events, behind dominant leader Ogier. The next WRC round is Rally Poland (June 30 – July 3).
Andreas Bakkerud conquered Hell RX
The FIA World Rallycross Championship competitors spent the previous weekend in Hell. The fifth round of the championship took place at the famous Norwegian rallycross circuit in Hell. The winner was Norwegian driver Andreas Bakkerud. It was his fourth career World RX victory, first in this season, and also the maiden victory for his team Hoonigan Racing Division.
Bakkerud was absolutely dominant at Hell and any other result except his victory would be a surprise. He won all four qualifying heats, as the first driver who did that in a three-season World RX history. He also won in his Semi final group and then ended the domination winning the Finals. Timmy Hansen (Team Peugeot-Hansen) finished second, ahead of championship leader Mattias Ekstrom. Petter Solberg missed the podium in the fourth place, ahead of Sebastien Loeb and Timur Timerzyanov.
Ekstrom and EKS team are the championship leaders
After five rounds, Ekstrom tops championship standings for drivers while his team EKS RX is leading the teams’ classification. Petter Solberg is second, just five points short, with Sebastien Loeb and Johan Kristoffersson sharing the third place. The 2016 World Rallycross Championship will resume for three weeks, at Holjes Motorstadion in Sweden.
The first win for Minshaw and Keen in the 2016 British GT season
The fourth round of the 2016 British GT Championship took place at Silverstone. The winners of the 3-hour race are Jon Minshaw/Phil Keen (Barwell Motorsport, Lamborghini Huracan) in GT3 class and Aaron Mason/Robert Barrable (RCIB Insurance, Ginetta G55) in GT4 class.
In the rain-affected rain, interrupted with three Safety car periods, including the start behind SC, the Barwell Motorsport duo took the victory thanks to pitstop strategy and clever management of driving stints between Pro driver Keen and Am driver Minshaw. At the end, they dominantly crossed the finish line with a 45sec advantage over #7 AMDtuning.com’s BMW Z4 GT3 of Lee Mowle and Joe Osborne. Marco Attard and Adam Carroll, drivers of the #2 FF Corse Ferrari 488 GT3, took their first podium this season.
In GT4 class, Aaron Mason and Robert Barrable scored their maiden victory and fourth win for Ginetta in five races. Anna Walewska and Nathan Freke finished second, in Century Motorsport’s Ginetta G55. Jack Bartholomew and Jordan Albert, drivers of Beechdean’s Aston Martin Vantage, completed the podium. In the GT4 European Series, the winners were Peter Terting and Jorg Viebahn in the Porsche Cayman Pro4 of ProSport Performance.
First season’s points victory for Joey Logano
At Michigan International Speedway, Joey Logano won Sunday’s FireKeepers Casino 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race. After he won All-Star race a few weeks ago, it was the first season’s points win for Team Penske and it secured Logano’s place in the Chase for the Cup title. For Logano, this was 15th Cup victory in his career.
Starting from pole, Logano led 138 of 200 laps at the 2-mile track. Nine cautions and restarts didn’t ruin his domination, except one restart on Lap 117, when Chase Elliott grabbed the lead. Logano was back in front on a Lap 154 restart and remained in the lead until the end, ahead of Elliott and Kyle Larson. As Logano is 26 years old, Elliott has 20 and Larson was 23-year-old, the top three finishers set the new record for the youngest average age on the podium in a Sprint Cup Series history – 23.0. The previous record, from 1951, was 24.7 years.
Brad Keselowski finished fourth, with Kevin Harvick behind his car on fifth. Carl Edwards, Tony Stewart, Austin Dillon, Jamie McMurray and Kurt Busch completed the top 10. Kevin Harvick increased his Sprint Cup Series lead over teammate Kurt Busch to 30 points. The next Sprint Cup race is scheduled June 26 at Sonoma Raceway.
Suarez became first Mexican winner in NASCAR
Saturday’s Xfinity Series race at Michigan turned to be a historic event after Daniel Suarez won ahead of Kyle Busch to become the first Mexican-born driver ever to win in any of NASCAR’s national series. In the exciting finish of two Joe Gibbs Racing’s Toyotas, Suarez beats his mentor and teammate Kyle Busch, who led race-high 88 of 125 laps. Paul Menard finished third, Eri Jones was fourth and Elliott Sadler fifth.
IndyCar race at Texas Motor Speedway postponed for August 27
The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series visited Texas Motor Speedway on Friday. We saw the second season’s victory of Kyle Busch Motorsports’ Williams Byron, who overhauled Truck Series veteran and multiple champion Matt Crafton.
It was all of racing what we saw at Texas Motor Speedway because IndyCar Series drivers had no luck as bad weather spoiled their weekend and caused the cancellation of the Firestone 600 race. The race was originally scheduled for Saturday evening but it was rescheduled to Sunday afternoon due to rainy conditions.
On Sunday afternoon, the race started and lasted for 71 laps, but heavy rain forced officials to stop the race. The new date is August 27 when the race would be continued from where it stopped. The cars will restart in the same order in which they were scored at the completion of Lap 71. Schmidt Peterson Motorsports’ James Hinchcliffe was leading the race when the red flag came out.
Josef Newgarden injured in a crash
Although short, the race wasn’t without excitements. Conor Daly and Josef Newgarden were involved in a serious incident when Daly spun in Turn 4 and collected Newgarden. The two cars slid into the SAFER Barrier on the outside wall. Newgarden was transported to Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas, where he was diagnosed with a fractured right clavicle and a small fracture in his right hand. Daly was uninjured in the accident.
The next IndyCar Series race is the Grand Prix at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, from June 24-26. It will mark the return of Indy cars to the scenic 4-mile permanent road course for the first time since 2007.