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Racing Round Up – Rossi Wins in Argentina

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Image Credit: Flickr – Glen Brown

Plenty of racing over the weekend for motorsport fans, the sunshine made it somewhat difficult to justify staying inside to watch it but dedicated fans will have got their fill! We had Formula One, MotoGP and British Touring Car Championship, what more do you want?!

F1

The track at Sakhir played host to hundreds of thousands of Formula One fans over the weekend for the Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix. Unsurprisingly it was Lewis Hamilton who claimed the win for Mercedes, that makes it his third win this season out of a possible four races. The young British driver seems nigh on unstoppable at the moment in the silver machine.

There was some surprise this weekend however and that came in the form of the cucumber cool Kimi Raikkonen who placed second. A refreshing change from the Mercedes one-two finish and (hopefully) an indication of more diversity on the podium to come later in the year. Raikkonen even claims that with a few more laps he could have had the win! Nico Rosberg rounded off the podium and, despite what Raikonnen claims, looked very solid for the best part of the race until the penultimate lap when Rosberg overshot a corner allowing Kimi straight through.

Hamilton kicked off in pole position and made a near perfect start, Sebastien Vettel did take a look down the inside of Hamilton but the chance of him passing was slim to none and he dropped back. This meant Rosberg got caught up behind Vettel, allowing Raikkonen to swing round him in to third.

 

Hamilton made an error going in to turn four but it wasn’t enough to cost him the lead and by lap three Hamilton was well out of Vettel’s reach. Rosberg pulled a move on Raikkonen in lap four, a fairly brave one which only just paid off as he passed the Fin. Rosberg then continued on toward Vettel, catching him very quickly. Rosberg pulled the exact same move on Vettel that he used to pass Raikkonen a few laps earlier and found himself in second, although still nowhere near Hamilton.

Vettel struggled after his first pit stop which allows Raikkonen to close the gap. Raikkonen had pitted and, after some advice from his pit team, settled on medium compound tyres which he set some serious lap times on. Raikkonen was on great form, after pitting for the second time his pit team advised that he go on soft tyres, after a bit of a grumble that he was going fast on mediums he realised that the very fast first few laps on the softs would be of greater value than the mediums. This paid off as he caught Rosberg in time to benefit from his mistake in the second to last lap and breezed in to second position. Rosberg recovered and grabbed third to round off the podium.

Valterri Bottas followed up in fourth, lapping considerably faster than next best finisher, Ricciardo. Chances are Ricciardo probably wasn’t running at full pace in the final stint of the race though because when it came to the very last corner, Ricciardo’s engine blew up in a significant cloud of smoke. In fact it was such an impressive streak of smoke, one might be forgiven for considering it a flourished finish. The final ten went as follows: Lewis Hamilton, Kimi Raikkonen, Nico Rosberg, Valterri Bottas, Sebastien Vettel, Daniel Ricciardo, Romain Grosjean, Sergio Perez, Danil Kyvat and Felipe Massa. Jenson Button’s weekend was ruined by his machines Energy Recovery System on what would have been his 100th race for McLaren.

MotoGP

MotoGP put on a fantastic show in Argentina at Termas de rio Hondo for the third meeting this season. Championship leader, Marc Marquez, and seven time world champion, Vanetino Rossi went head to head in an all out battle for a win and it was experience that triumphed. Rossi kept his cool, making a fantastic pass on Marquez in the final stages of the race, Marquez attempted to respond but caught the wheel of Rossi’s Yamaha and while the veteran managed to stay up right, Marquez was not so fortunate and came off in a shower of sparks.

The race started off somewhat messily, with Aleix Espargaro diving down the inside of Marcquez to snatch the lead. He couldn’t hold back the force that is Marc Marcquez for long though and after a few corners Marquez had assumed his normal position out in front. Rossi suffered a sketchy start too, making contact with Andrea Iannone’s Ducati, luckily he was able to carry on, although he did seem shaken, hanging back in eighth for a few laps while he composed himself before pushing on.

Rossi fought his way through the pack for ten laps until he reached second, where he began to reel in Marquez who was suffering from ever depleting grip as the harsh Argentinean track took it’s toll on his hard tyre. Rossi, however, had elected for super-hard tyres, knowing how abrasive the track would be and as such was able to keep pushing where Marquez had to let off. Rossi continued his push, ever closing the gap between himself and Marquez. Andrea Dovizioso took advantage of this and stuck to the back of Rossi which ended up paying off very well indeed. It wasn’t until there was just three laps to go that Rossi lined up Marquez for the pass. Dovizioso’s teammate, Iannone, was busy fending off British rider Cal Crutchlow, who you could tell was eager for a podium.

Rossi made the move on Marquez with just three laps to go, Marquez had no defence so was forced to go immediately back on the attack which is when disaster struck. While trying to get back under Rossi on the inside, the aforementioned contact occurred which sent Marquez skidding off track, a deeply disappointing end for the young rider after such a great race. Dovizioso’s tactic of sticking to the back of Rossi paid off as his now found himself in second with a couple of laps to go. It looked like it would be a Rossi, Dovizioso, Iannone finish until a brave last minute move from Cal Crutchlow to snatch third from the grasp of Iannone.

The final ten went as follows: Valentino Rossi, Andrea Dovizioso, Cal Crutchlow, Andrea Iannone, Jorge Lorenzo, Bradley Smith, Aleix Espargaro, Pol Espargaro, Scott Redding and Maverick Vanales. A superb race and an excellent performance by all and it proves that Rossi can still be competitive wherever he wants. I foresee an exciting season!

BTCC

The British Touring Car Championship got underway at Donnington Park, known for being a particularly fast track, located right in the heart of England. Race One Jason Plato started off the proceedings, dominating the first of the three races of the weekend. From third on the grid he made an excellent start, jumping straight in to second past Gordon Shedden and then Colin Turkington towards the end of the first lap for the lead. Once he had that lead he had absolutely no intention of giving it up and didn’t move from top spot from that point onwards.

2 2 Retweets 7 7 likes Turkington, who had been passed by Shedden at this point, had to regroup quickly as an attack from Andrew Jordan in his MG came shortly afterwards. He fought off the attack and then immediately went on his own, closing the gap between himself and Shedden very quickly.

Shedden kept Turkington at bay despite a couple of mistakes and brought it home for second position on the podium, following shortly afterward was Shedden to finish the podium. Race Two It was Colin Turkington’s turn to shine in the second race of the weekend, demonstrating an equally impressive drive for team BMR. Gordon Shedden, after putting in the fastest lap time in race one, was sat on pole position although he didn’t make the most of it. Turkington shot up to meet him, making some minor contact through the turn where Turkingtons VW started edge ahead. Andrew Jordan used the scuffle to his advantage, sneaking around the outside of Shedden and into second place.

An off from Warren Scott of team BMR caused the safety car to come out, closing the gaps up between the drivers but this was of little consequence to Turkington who timed the restart perfectly and resumed where he left off. Jordan however didn’t get away quite so clean and ended up having to do battle with both Shedden and Morgan!

Meanwhile Matt Neal had been closing the gap behind Jordan and Shedden who, at this later stage of the race, were losing grip on their tyres quickly. A wide corner allowed Neal to pass through in to second where he stayed, while Shedden and Jordan started their steady drop through the ranks thanks to their lack of grip. Morgan used this to his advantage and made a move into third stick to finalise the battle for the last podium position. Race Three Race three came with a bit of controversy, in the form of a collision between race winner Matt Neal and second placer Andrew Jordan. Details at the end. Rob Collard made the best start, easily outpacing Josh Cook’s Chevrolet off the line, who was on pole due to the reverse grid system BTCC uses after race two. He wasn’t going to go down without a fight though, he stuck to the back of Collard like glue and actually made a pass to take the lead back on lap three.

Cook managed to retain his lead for a good portion of the race until a collision involving Jack Goff and Sam Tordoff meant a visit from the safety car. Aron Smith used the bunching up of the cars to his advantage, managing to undercut Collard to take second, he then set his eyes on Cook.

Although it was only his second ever BTCC race weekend, Josh Cook put in a fantastic performance, holding off Smith until they unfortunately collided, sending both cars on to the grass. It looked bleak but somehow they both managed to regain control and got back on track without hitting any of the other cars. Their collision left it wide open for Collard to snatch the lead back, the joy was short lived though as increasingly poor tyres made it difficult for Collard to stay on pace. Neal realised the opportunity in front of him and made a no nonsense pass on the second to last lap to take the lead and the win. Andrew Jordan followed next and Gordon Shedden in third.

The controversy involved Andrew Jordan and Matt Neal, during their scrap for first Jordan bumped in to Neal, it was little more than a nudge but Jordans bumper ended up caught in the back of Neal’s car and stayed that way for the rest of the race. The BTCC has had a fantastic start to the season and it looks like it’s going to continue that way, with no clear front runner emerging yet, it promises to be an exciting series. That’s it for the racing round up this week, be sure to check back next week for the weekend’s racing highlights. We went to the UK Blog Awards on Friday and you’ll never guess what happened! We won Best Company Automotive Blog! Check out our write up of the whole event. Thinking about selling your car? We’ve got five insider tips to help you on your way! Take a look here.

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