THE MOTORSPORT LAP
Mercedes to keep foot on throttle
The Singapore Grand Prix this past weekend gave Mercedes-AMG’s Lewis Hamilton a further lead in the championship
Historically somewhat of a "bogey track" for the Mercedes-AMG F1 team, it seems the tide has changed this season with current championship leader Lewis Hamilton having put in a sterling qualifying lap, which he also managed to translate into an emphatic race win at this past weekend’s Singapore Grand Prix.
This has given the Brit a 40-point championship lead with six more races to go this season, but as that classic adage goes — it’s not over until it’s over – and this seems to be the mantra that the team will approach in the next six races.
"Forty points’ advantage or zero makes no difference to us," says Mercedes-AMG F1 team boss Toto Wolff. "It’s six weekends to go. You can see like in Austria, we had a double DNF, how quickly it goes, and you are losing 25 points. In so far, we just have to look weekend by weekend and try to perform at our best and it’s only won when it’s won. There are marginal gains that will determine the outcome of this championship, because on performance levels, we are very close. So we have to keep the foot on the throttle and try to avoid mistakes and continue to develop the car," he says.
Aston Martin Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen put in quite a decent race weekend having qualified second overall and finishing the race in the same position ahead of Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel who went into the race as a firm favourite and qualified and finished the weekend race in third spot overall.
The next race is the Russian Grand Prix on September 30 and each team will need to bring their A-game and keep their wits about them to bring home those much-needed points. Hopefully the championship will once again go down to the wire as things get rather interesting leading to the last few races.
Meanwhile, the Turkey round of the 2018 WRC (World Rally Championship) took place this past weekend where Toyota Gazoo Racing’s Ott Tanak romped to the top of the time sheets and claimed victory at what was a tough race due to a high attrition rate, which impacted on the cars.
This marks Tanak’s hat-trick of event wins to move up to second place in the drivers’ standings and close to 13 points behind leader Thierry Neuville (Hyundai i20) who had an eventful race where an unfortunate miscalculation resulted in an impact that saw him pick up some suspension damage and a puncture, which resulted in a race retirement.
In second spot, Jari-Matt Latvala (Toyota Gazoo Racing) managed to keep the nose of his car pointing in the right direction, while Hayden Paddon (Hyundai i20) rounded up the podium, his first of the season.