THE MOTORSPORT LAP
Five-time Formula One world champ Lewis Hamilton ain’t finished
Lewis Hamilton has admitted Michael Schumacher’s all-time record of 91 Formula One race wins and seven titles are in his sights.
The Mercedes driver won his fifth crown in Sunday’s Mexican Grand Prix, only the third man to reach that milestone after Germany’s Schumacher and Argentina’s Juan Manual Fangio.
"I’ve still got things to achieve, there are so many targets, so many things ahead," the Briton told reporters after finishing fourth to take an unassailable lead with two races remaining.
The race was won by Red Bull’s Max Verstappen ahead of Ferrari duo Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen.
"Michael’s still quite far ahead in race wins so you have to say he is still the GOAT (greatest of all time)," said Hamilton.
"Fangio, I think, is the godfather and always will be, from a driver’s perspective."
Hamilton, 33, has won four of his titles in the last five years and has a contract with champions Mercedes for two more years.
Mercedes are heading for their fifth successive constructors’ title and will most likely again start as favourites in 2019.
Team boss Toto Wolff said on Sunday that Hamilton was driving better than ever. "As long as he is in a good car and he continues to enjoy the way he is today I think there is more to come," said the Austrian.
Hamilton has 71 Formula One wins so far and has averaged 10 a season for the past four years, putting him on track to match Schumacher providing Mercedes continue to deliver a competitive car.
"There’s still a long way to go, but I’m here for a few more years, so I’m hoping that I can at least get close," said the Briton.
Back to winning ways
Spain’s Maverick Vinales made the most of an early retirement for world champion Marc Marquez to bring an end to Yamaha’s longest MotoGP winless streak with a victory in the Australian Grand Prix on Sunday.
The 23-year-old gave the Japanese marque a first victory in 26 races since the 2017 Dutch TT at Assen, holding off a charging Andrea Iannone over the final couple of laps to take the chequered flag.
"It feels amazing, it’s been such a difficult year for me, I can’t believe I’ve won," Vinales said. "The bike was perfect today. When I crossed the line, there were tears in my eyes."
Iannone finished 1.543 seconds back to take second for Suzuki ahead of his fellow Italian Andrea Dovizioso, who did his chances of securing second place in the riders’ championship no harm by finishing third on his Ducati.
Marquez, who sewed up his fifth MotoGP title with three races to spare in Japan last weekend, started on pole but lasted only five of the 27 laps in the race.
Johann Zarco’s Tech3 Yamaha caught the back of the Spaniard’s Honda going into turn one and although the Frenchman escaped a high-speed crash without serious injury, the damage to Marquez’s bike brought an end to his race.
Vinales had dropped from second to 10th on the opening lap but worked his way back to the front and he gradually stretched his lead over the field to claim his fifth MotoGP win.
His team-mate Valentino Rossi, Dovizioso’s main rival for second place in the championship, finished sixth behind Alvaro Bautista, who was standing in for three-times world champion Jorge Lorenzo on the factory Ducati. SA’s Brad Binder (KTM) won the Moto2 race, his third victory of the season and strengthening his third place in the championship.
Loeb wins in Spain
Sebastien Loeb claimed his first World Rally Championship win since 2013 at last weekend’s Rally Spain.
The nine-time WRC champion, making his last planned appearance for Citroen of the season, won by 2.9 seconds from Ford’s Sebastian Ogier in a down-to-the-wire finish.
Ogier took over the championship lead from Hyundai’s Thierry Neuville, who dropped to fourth place after clipping a rock in the final stage and breaking the right rear wheel. Ogier’s team-mate Elfyn Evans claimed third overall.
With only the November 15-18 Australian season finale to come, Ogier now leads Neuville by just three points.
Gymkhana star and former World Rallycross driver Ken Block rolled his Ford Fiesta WRC out of the rally.
Botterill is champ
Toyota Gazoo Racing SA’s Guy Botterill won his fifth SA Rally title in a row after placing second in last weekend’s Ermelo Rally.
Botterill and navigator Simon Vacy-Lyle, driving a Toyota Etios, were locked in a tussle with Volkswagen’s AC Potgieter and navigator Nico Swartz, and the two crews started the event on the same points. But Potgieter’s challenge faded early on, after he was forced to clock in late to stage two due to brake problems on the opening stage, which required urgent attention. This gave the Toyota crew a handy margin, which they maintained through the remainder of the 15-stage rally.
Botterill was pipped to the post by less than a second by Richard Leeke and Elvene Vonk in a Ford Fiesta, but it was enough to clinch the title.
With this title added to their tally, Botterill/Vacy-Lyle have now won two overall SA National Rally titles on the trot. However, they have won a total of five consecutive front-wheel-drive titles in a row, making them one of the most successful front-wheel-drive crews in the history of South African rallying.
Golden oldies gear up
With a month remaining until the start of the South Africa Historic Grand Prix Festival, excitement is growing among entrants and spectators alike.
Recent outings for some of the cars at the Goodwood Revival will be their last until turning a wheel again in anger in East London on November 25.
More than 20 Grand Prix cars are en route to our shores for the historic reunion of some of the exact cars that raced in the South African Grand Prix between 1934 and 1939. Some of them are even winners of the race, including the inaugural race-winning Maserati 8CM and the 1937-winning ERA.
Much of the original Prince George Race Track in East London still exists. The cars will retrace the historic 17km circuit in a parade taking place between two short sprint races on the current track on November 25. The road-going cars will then tour to the Western Cape between November 26 and 30.
The event will culminate in a two-day Grand Prix Garden Party at Val de Vie Estate, located between Franschhoek and Paarl, where the public will have a further opportunity to interact with these cars on the estate’s polo fields. Supported by several car manufacturers and local classic car clubs presenting their most interesting cars, the event on December 1 and 2 promises to be a classic-car haven for enthusiasts.
Also confirmed for the event are a number of Rileys, Bugattis, the Alfa Romeo Tipo B P3 from the 1936 race, a local Aston Martin Ulster, and a brace of former SA Grand Prix MGs, including the K3 that Dick Seaman raced in the 1934 SAGP.
Limited general access and VIP Hospitality tickets for both the East London Race event and the Grand Prix Garden Party are available for purchase at www.sahistoricgp.com or follow the event on Facebook — SA Historic Grand Prix Festival.