LCH is victorious in a sensational Formula 1 German Grand Prix while Vettel crashed out as a rain storm struck the Hockenheim circuit.

Vettel led for the majority of the race from pole position, but slithered out of contention from the lead, on lap 52 of the 67 race. The German hit his steering wheel in frustration at the mistake of crashing into the Turn 13 barriers.

Hamilton started 14th and took advantage of the downpour that soaked the circuit in the latter stages that caught-out a number of slick-shod drivers – including Vettel – and which led to the safety car to be deployed.

In the chaos, there was an instant reversal of fortune as a Ferrari 1-2 became a Mercedes 1-2 during the rain shower.

Toto Wolff reacts to Hamilton’s win…

All the bad luck that we had came back to us with tremendous good luck. First of all, we didn’t have the quickest car here and we need to progress for the next races. The fight was so intense. It was all to lose with the bad luck we had in the last few races.


I did [believe I could win]. It’s obviously very difficult front hat position but you have always go to believe. We did the parade lap, I could see how much support I had. I wanted to stay collected and stay calm. Honestly, I am so grateful. I just kept pushing and believing and it happened. Big, big thanks to God. It was so tough out there, conditions were perfect for business time. When it rained I knew I would have a good position. For those who don’t know me. Now you do



In taking his first win in the Formula Renault Eurocup at the Red Bull Ring, Victor Martins (R-ace GP) becomes the seventh different winner in ten races this year. Max Fewtrell (R-ace GP) and Christian Lundgaard (MP Motorsport joined the Renault Sport Academy driver on the podium after the penalty handed to Lorenzo Colombo (JD Motorsport). While Yifei Ye (Josef Kaufmann Racing) still leads the general classification, the title battle has never been as tight as the season heads into its second half.

On Friday afternoon, Victor Martins posted the best time in qualifying with a lap of 1:29.288s. The French driver claimed his first pole position ahead of Lorenzo Colombo and two other members of the Renault Sport Academy, Christian Lundgaard and Max Fewtrell. Row three was composed of Richard Verschoor and Yifei Ye (Josef Kaufmann Racing), followed by Alex Peroni (MP Motorsport), Charles Milesi (R-ace GP) and Oscar Piastri (Arden Motorsport).

At the start, Lorenzo Colombo got the advantage at turn one, but the Italian driver went wide and Victor Martins wasted little time in taking back the lead. Max Fewtrell got past Christian Lundgaard for third place, while Alex Peroni moved into the top five before Richard Verschoor reclaimed the position. Starting 10th, Logan Sargeant picked up two places before entering a duel with Yifei Ye, while Axel Matus (AVF by Adrian Valles) and Neil Verhagen (Tech 1 Racing) looked on from behind.

The opening laps were marked by superb battles up and down the order. The top four pulled away from the rest of the field and every driver pressured his rival in front of him without finding his way past. Yifei Ye got by Logan Sargeant before attacking Alex Peroni. The Australian relinquished the spot on lap 11. In a tightly bunched field, Neil Verhagen also used all of his attacking skills to surprise Alex Matus, then Logan Sargeant, who retired late in the race.

Despite the small gaps at the front of the order, the positions remained the same. Victor Martins kept a cool head to take the win ahead of Lorenzo Colombo. The Italian driver was penalised ten seconds after the race for jumping the start. He dropped to sixth place behind Max Fewtrell, Christian Lundgaard, Richard Verschoor and Yifei Ye.
Seventh place Alex Peroni fended off the attacks from Neil Verhagen, while the final two points paying positions offered a chance to watch a brilliant battle. Running in 10th place for most of the race despite a damaged nose cone, Axel Matus ended up behind Oscar Piastri and Frank Bird (Tech 1 Racing).

Victor Martins (R-ace GP): “It was a difficult race, but really amazing! It just proved the quality of this category and the excellent level of the drivers. I didn’t get the best of starts. I didn’t make the right choice heading to turn one, but I managed to get a strong exit to re-pass Lorenzo at turn three. After that, I had to stay focused just until the finish and I want to thank the team for the incredible work they’ve done. This is an excellent result as we head into the second half of the season, but we will have to work twice as hard to keep this momentum going.”



LCH will start the German Grand Prix from 14th on the grid while title rival Sebastian Vettel took a stunning pole position for Ferrari.

Hamilton’s Mercedes suffered hydraulic failure in the first part of the session, grinding to a halt on track.

Vettel set pole from Hamilton’s team-mate Valtteri Bottas by 0.204 seconds and is now in position to extend his eight-point lead in the championship.

But Bottas’ second place gives him a chance to challenge Ferrari.

The Finn edged out Vettel’s team-mate Kimi Raikkonen by 0.131secs and has the inside line on the run to the first corner for Sunday’s race.

Bottas said: “The start is going to be crucial. Race pace-wise, it is going to be close.

Hamilton’s problem emerged shortly after he had run wide at the high-speed Turn One but he said that this was not the cause of the failure, which he said had happened before.

He was unable to change gears and was ordered to stop out on the circuit because the problem risked damaging the engine.

It is the latest in a series of blows for Hamilton and Mercedes, after a double retirement in Austria, where they also made a strategic error, and his incident with Raikkonen at his home race.

Vettel, who grew up in Heppenheim, less than 30 miles from the track, soaked up the cheers of his home crowd and said he had always felt from his first run in first qualifying that he could take pole.

“Thanks to the fans it was amazing to see so many Ferrari and German flags,” he added.

“It just kept getting better and I knew for the last lap I had a little bit more in more, I’m full of adrenaline but so happy.”



Back to historic Hockenheim, a track with many tales to tell

The weekend break is over and, during the next couple of days, the SF71H and part of the equipment is leaving Maranello and heading for Hockenheim. It’s the start of another back-to-back, as one week on from this weekend’s German GP, comes the race in Hungary. Part of the team will stay out until the end of the second of these two races.

Hockenheim is an historic track that has many tales to tell. Some of them are great, such as Berger’s win in ’94 and Irvine’s five years later, and the unbelievable 2000 race when Barrichello won after Schumacher crashed out. Others were tinged with sadness, such as the deaths of Clark and Depailler and Pironi’s career-ending crash. But that was all on the old, uncompromising circuit, of which very little remains. Speed down the straights was everything and, in the pits, even in the Nineties, inventiveness reigned supreme.

Teams improvised solutions such as cutting down the pillars of the front laps, so that they ran lower to the ground, or even fitting (in free practice) four front tyres to reduce aerodynamic drag! Then it fell to the driver’s talent to make up for the lack of downforce in the Motodrom , the twistiest and most evocative section of track.

The track first used in 2002 has little of that left: the straights that tore through the forest have gone and today the circuit comes in at under five kilometres in length, but still offers a combination of slow, medium and high speed corners. The last sector is the one that can give the tyres a hard time, while the three DRS zones could make for some interesting data in terms of top speeds.

There’s hope of a large crowd for this race, back on the calendar after skipping 2017 and maybe we might even see a return to the large queues of fans, who would wait at the circuit exit late into the night, hoping for a glimpse of the drivers. Legend has it that, back then, some drivers would hide in the boot of the car or wear fake wigs and beards to avoid being mobbed.


WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca to Host 2019 INDYCAR Season Finale

MONTEREY, Calif., July 17, 2018 — INDYCAR and WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca announced that the historic Northern California road course with deep Indy car roots will return to the schedule in 2019.

The three-year agreement, approved today by the Monterey County Board of Supervisors overseeing operation of the facility, calls for Laguna Seca to be the host site of the final race of the 2019 Verizon IndyCar Series season. Next year’s race weekend will be Sept. 20-22. The remainder of the series schedule will be announced later.

County of Monterey Board of Supervisors Chair Luis Alejo, bottom left, signs the agreement with Mark Miles, CEO of Hulman & Company, owner of IndyCar and Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Joining them are, from top left to top right, Assistant County Administrative Officer Dewayne Woods, WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca CEO Tim McGrane, District 5 Supervisor Mary Adams, District 4 Supervisor Jane Parker, WeatherTech’s Cooper MacNeil, District 2 Supervisor John M. Phillips, and District 3 Supervisor Simon Salinas. (photo: T.M. Hill)

Laguna Seca held Indy car races annually from 1983-2004. The 2.238-mile permanent road course near Monterey, California, was the site of the season finale from 1989-96.

Mark Miles, president and CEO of Hulman & Company, which owns INDYCAR and Indianapolis Motor Speedway, praised the agreement that returns Indy car racing to the track.

“I can’t imagine a more attractive destination location for INDYCAR’s season finale,” Miles said. “Monterey is a place people want to be, and we will bring all of our guests. I think it’s a great choice for us.”

The 22 previous Indy car races at Laguna Seca have seen their share of the sport’s greats drive to victory. Bobby Rahal won four consecutive years at Laguna Seca and Danny Sullivan, Michael Andretti, Paul Tracy, Bryan Herta and Patrick Carpentier each won twice. One of the most famous racing moments in Indy car history occurred at Laguna Seca in 1996, when Alex Zanardi completed a daring last-lap pass of Herta in the famous downhill Corkscrew turn to get the race win.

“It’s great news, but I might be biased,” Rahal, now co-owner of the Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing team that competes in the Verizon IndyCar Series, said of the agreement. “I personally won four Indy car races there and won my first Can-Am race there. Our Indy car team won with Bryan Herta and Max Papis and our sports car team won IMSA races there, so I would almost bet you that Laguna Seca is the site of more victories for me as a driver and team owner combined of any track I’ve ever raced on.

“There is nothing better than the Monterey Bay area, and it’s a great circuit that always drew great crowds, so I’m thrilled to have Indy car racing coming back to a circuit I love so much. We will put on a good show, for sure.”

The competition expects to be just as fierce and exciting when the Verizon IndyCar Series heads to the popular Monterey-Carmel area on the California coast to complete the 2019 season. For 12 years running, the Verizon IndyCar Series championship hasn’t been decided until the last race on the schedule.

“The return of INDYCAR to its spiritual road racing home of Laguna Seca is a tremendous honor and testament to the appeal of Monterey, and through the support of the County of Monterey will provide a significant economic benefit to our area businesses,” said Timothy McGrane, CEO of WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca. “We are looking forward to creating more memories in race fans’ minds like Bobby Rahal’s four consecutive Indy car wins from 1984-1987, Mario Andretti’s farewell race in 1994 and Alex Zanardi’s last-lap overtaking of Bryan Herta in the Corkscrew in 1996 that simply became known as ‘The Pass.’”

NBC Sports Group has secured exclusive domestic television and digital media rights for INDYCAR races beginning in 2019. Jon Miller, president of programming for NBC Sports and NBCSN, agreed that Laguna Seca is an ideal venue to close out the schedule.

“We commend INDYCAR for returning to Laguna Seca, a historic track and an inspired place for the 2019 season finale,” Miller said. “The 2019 season will be our first as the exclusive media rights partner of INDYCAR, and we could not be more pleased to broadcast the championship from beautiful Monterey.”


The champion is back: René Rast with a hard-fought victory at Zandvoort

  • Defending champion secures first win of 2018 for himself and for Audi
  • Gary Paffett comes second and extends his points’ lead
  • Philipp Eng best-placed BMW driver in fourth

A huge relief and massive joy for René Rast and Audi: in the tenth DTM race of the season, the reigning champion secured the first victory of the year, both for himself and for his manufacturer Audi. Having started from third place on the grid, the German crossed the finish line as the winner after 35 laps. “That was a huge relief after a long drought and a lot of bad luck,” Rast commented after the race. “Gary was massively fast and I didn’t really expect to win.” And at the same venue, no less, where he made his DTM debut two years ago. For the Audi driver, it was the fourth victory in his 30th DTM race. Second place in the race on Sunday went to Mercedes-AMG driver Gary Paffett ahead of his teammate Paul Di Resta. Philipp Eng took the chequered flag as the best-placed BMW driver in fourth position.

A guarantee for Rast’s success was his pit stop strategy. Contrarily to the race on Saturday, he already headed into the pits for the wheel change at the end of the opening lap. This plan worked out. After Paffett’s stop on lap ten, Rast took the lead, corrected for pit stops, and temporarily extended it to over two seconds. A safety car intervention on lap 21 after a collision between Jamie Green and Bruno Spengler made the battle at the front of the field. At the restart, however, Rast kept Paffett at bay in a spirited manner and defended first place until the finish. “The last 15 minutes were really difficult,” Rast said. “Especially for the spectators, it surely was another thrilling duel.” Second-placed Paffett also praised Rast’s hard-fought victory: “René absolutely deserved this win. For me, it was a perfect race and I am happy with second place. One can only dream of such a DTM weekend with two pole positions, one victory and a second place.”

Fourth-placed Philipp Eng with the fastest BMW M4 DTM was also happy with his Sunday. “The race was much fun, flat-out from the first until the final lap. I was able to keep up with the front-runners, but mounting a challenge to Paul was impossible. We can build on this performance.” At the halfway point of the season, Di Resta, wo finished third, is the only driver to have scored points in every race so far.

After ten of this season’s 20 races, Gary Paffett remains in the lead of the drivers’ standings. The Brit is in first place with 148 points from Paul Di Resta (121) and Timo Glock (101). At the halftime point of the DTM season, Marco Wittmann (98) and Edoardo Mortara (97) are in fourth and fifth place.

After a four weeks’ summer break, the DTM returns to the United Kingdom on 11 and 12 August. At the long circuit of the Brands Hatch race track with its rich heritage, the DTM gets the second half of its season underway with the eleventh and twelfth race in Kent.

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