THE MOTORSPORT LAP
Hamilton does enough to take championship
This past weekend’s Mexican Grand Prix concluded the F1 drivers’ title as Lewis Hamilton clinched his fourth trophy
Going into this past weekend’s Mexican Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton’s (Mercedes-AMG) chance of clinching this season’s title was hanging in the balance.
Having qualified in third spot, his title arch-rival, Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, started on pole ahead of Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen in second. As soon as the lights went out, it was a thorough jostle for position into the first few corners where Verstappen seemed to have the best start, while Hamilton also managed to catch Vettel unawares.
But Vettel was then involved in a number of incidents that saw him clip Verstappen’s rear tyre and then the Ferrari did the same to Hamilton, which saw Hamilton pit with a puncture.
This dashed Hamilton’s hopes of a podium finish and he had to settle for ninth but in the end it was enough for him to secure the 2017 drivers’ championship trophy.
It was also the Malaysian leg of the MotoGP championship where Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) won his class ahead of Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team) and Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech 3).
Meanwhile, in the Moto2 class, Red Bull KTM dominated the proceedings with Miguel Oliviera taking victory ahead of team-mate and South African rider Brad Binder. Third podium spot went to Franco Morbidelli (EG 0,0 Marc VDS Kalex).
In Moto3, Joan Mir (Leopard Racing Honda) came up trumps ahead of Jorge Martin (Del Conca Gresini Moto3 Honda) and Enea Bastianini (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Honda) in third.
In other international news, Renault has announced it will be exiting Formula E come the start of the 2018 season in Hong Kong in December, in favour of its alliance partner, Nissan. According to a company statement, the French car maker will let its Japanese counterpart take over the baton in Formula E as it concentrates more on its Formula One exploits.
The Atlas Copco Gold 400, the final round of the 2017 South African Cross-Country Series, cemented Toyota’s domination. Toyota Gazoo Racing SA’s Giniel de Villiers and Dennis Murphy had wrapped up the overall title at the previous round, but the final event saw brothers Johan and Werner Horn (Malalane Toyota Hilux) wrap up the Class T title; while the Class S crown went to Jannie Visser and his son Chris Jnr (Team Barberspan Toyota Hilux).
The Kyalami Grand Prix circuit will host the penultimate round of this year’s Extreme Festival this Saturday, with 14 separate racing disciplines set to produce a motorsport extravaganza. These will include the the Sasol Global Touring Car (GTC) contingent, with the category’s two national title chases still up for grabs. Michael Stephen (Engen Xtreme Audi A3) and Gennaro Bonafede (Sasol BMW) will lock horns for the overall title lead.
One of the event’s biggest drawcards should be the races for G&H Transport Extreme Supercars, with 32 exotic vehicles to face the starting lights.
Heading up the entry will be Toby Venter in his works Porsche 911 GT2R, challenged by Johan Engelbrecht (Jogjoga Porsche 911 GT2R), Craig Jarvis (Maui Motorhomes Ferrari), Marcel Angel (Autohaus Angel Ferrari 458 GT3) and Charl Arangies in his new Stradale Aston Martin Vantage GT3.
It promises to be a great day of racing at the iconic racetrack.