THE MOTORSPORT LAP: Speedy Hamilton in a class of his own
This past weekend’s Italian Grand Prix saw a shift in the championship standings, with the Brit surging ahead on record and in points
Following his win at the Belgian Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes-AMG) made it two in a row this past weekend at the Italian Grand Prix held at the Monza racetrack.
While the win saw Hamilton take the championship lead, it also marked him as the pole position record holder (69 in total), trouncing Michael Schumacher’s longstanding record of 68 pole positions.
Hamilton qualified in first and finished Sunday’s race in the same order ahead of team-mate Valtteri Bottas and Sebastien Vettel (Scuderia Ferrari). This means Hamilton leads the championship by three points with 238, followed by Vettel on 235 and Bottas on 197 points.
It was also the 6 Hours of Mexico in the World Endurance Championship season where Porsche continued to dominate proceedings. The LMP1 Porsche 919 hybrid of Bernhard, Hartley and Bamber took their third win of the season. The victory, which was Bernhard and Hartley’s second win in a row in Mexico, saw the trio extend their points lead to 41, with four races remaining this season.
In second place was the second Porsche 919 of Jani, Lotterer and Tandy. They stayed with the sister car in the first phase of the race but lost momentum when they had to serve a drive-through penalty after Tandy was judged to have gone over the pit lane speed limit. Meanwhile, the pair of Toyota Gazoo Racing TS050 hybrid cars struggled to match the Porsches’ pace in the high altitude, thus the team of Buemi, Davidson and Nakajima had to settle for third position.
In the LMP2 class, the trio of Canal, Prost and Senna (Vailante Rebellion Oreca) took the laurels ahead of the team of Lappiere, Menezes and Ngrao (Signatech Alpine Matmut Alpine A470) in second. Third went to the team of Rao, Hanley, Vergne (CEFC Manor TRS Racing Oreca 7).
Meanwhile, the LMGTE Pro category saw the pair of Thiim and Sorensen (Aston Martin Racing Vantage) finish in first after the Ferrari 458 GTE of Rigon and Bird was given a 10-second penalty for speeding under a full course yellow caution period, relegating them to second even though they crossed the line first. Third place went to Lietz and Makowiecki in their Porsche 911 RSR.
The results of the LMGTE AM class saw the trio of Ried, Cairoli and Dienst finish first in their Porsche 911 RSR ahead of the team of Dala Lana, Lamy and Lauda in their Aston Martin V8 Vantage. Third spot went to Wainright, Barker and Foster in their Porsche 911 RSR. The next race will be the 6 Hours of Cota (Circuit of The Americas) in the US on September 15.
Locally, the Red Star Raceway near Delmas hosted round nine of this year’s Extreme Festival on Saturday. The Volkswagen Challenge events saw veteran Iain Pepper (Husqvarna Polo) take the opening race, leading home Stiaan Kriel (Spanjaard Polo), Wayne Crous (Delway Polo), Waldie Meintjies (VW Polo) and Adrian Wood (Laserfische Polo). Pepper repeated the winning performance in race two, this time ahead of Meintjies, Crous, Kriel and Wood.
Jonathan du Toit (TAR Honda Civic) took the first autobarn SuperHatch race, narrowly ahead of Reno van Heerden (Remington Peugeot 206), Nic Martin (Rex Diff Opel Kadett) and Andre’ Dannhauser (Pro Auto Opel Corsa). Du Toit led the second race from start to finish, followed by Brett Garland (Autobahn Honda Civic) in second and Tyler Scott (Lopec Opel 200T) rounding off the podium.
Heinrich de Villiers (VW Polo) won the first race for 111 Sport and Saloon Cars. He was chased to the flag by Lucas Bezuidenhout (Pta North Toyota Lexus), Bjorn Gebert (Alfa GTV6 3,0) and Brent Henshaw (Toyota Celica). In race two, Bezuidenhout took the win, followed in second by George Bezuidenhout (Nicolade Nissan Primera) and Roan Ehlers (FEC Polo) in third.