Hungarian Grand Prix – Verstappen takes a crushing win as Red Bull break win record

Max Verstappen  won at a canter to take a seventh win in a row and ninth of the 2023 season.

His win means that Red Bull break McLaren’s record of 11 straight victories in 1988, with the Milton Keynes outfit now on their 12 straight triumph.

The result means Verstappen has a championship advantage of 110 points, more than four race victories without reply, over teammate Sergio Perez.

His 44th career win came ahead of Lando Norris, who took consecutive podiums for the first time in his career after second in Silverstone last time out, and a resurgent Perez in third.

Polesitter Lewis Hamilton was down in fourth after a tough first corner saw him lose places to Verstappen, eventual fifth place finisher Oscar Piastri and Norris at Turn 2.

Piastri lost pace after his first stop, but these previous two weekends have shown a real coming of age having not raced in 2022 and starting life in Formula One with an undercooked McLaren.

George Russell rose well from 18th on the grid to finish sixth after Charles Leclerc’s penalty dropped the Monegasque to seventh ahead of Ferrari teammate Carlos Sainz.

Fernando Alonso on the 20th anniversary since his first Grand Prix win was ninth as Aston Martin completed a Noah’s Ark top 10 with Lance Stroll in tenth.

A good initial launch at the start from Hamilton was wasted in the second phase and Verstappen got alongside, and crucially for Turn One, the inside to block pass his rival and stop his run on the exit.

That allowed Piastri to take the inside and move to second, with Hamilton boxed in to allow Norris a run on the outside of the second corner.

Behind them an awful start from fifth for Zhou Guanyu in the Alfa Romeo left him out of sync on the run to the first corner and he outbraked himself to hit the back of the returning Daniel Ricciardo’s Alpha Tauri.

That sent the Australian into the Alpine of Esteban Ocon, who launched over his teammate Pierre Gasly to break not only car but his seat, and resulted in another double retirement for the Enstone team.

Behind Verstappen the story was how quickly Perez could make his way through the field from ninth on the grid.

The Mexican was quickly into his stride dispatching the Alfa Romeos of Zhou and Valtteri Bottas, who started seventh, before taking Alonso’s seventh early on.

From there he settled behind the Ferrari duo, before Sainz stopped on lap 16 to release Perez – Leclerc would follow suit shortly after.

After that he stalked Hamilton’s Mercedes through the second stint, the both catching Piastri who had lost out to Norris in the first round of pit stops.

Both Perez and Piastri pitted on lap 44 to leave Hamilton stranded on old hards for a further six laps, and Perez passed Piastri three laps after their stops.

Norris proved to be a bridge too far in second and he couldn’t make it a 1-2 on a day of history for Red Bull.

The race marked a solid return to F1 for Daniel Ricciardo, who’s 13th for Alpha Tauri capped off a weekend that saw him outqualify and outrace teammate Yuki Tsunoda.

Red Bull in a class of their own

Verstappen and Red Bull were once again in a class of their own. (Getty/Red Bull Content Pool)

Verstappen made a mockery of Hamilton’s pole position and talk of a Mercedes victory within the first ten seconds of the race.

From there, his afternoon followed a familiar pattern in that he controlled the race, stretched out a comfortable lead and completed a trouble free run to the flag.

Red Bull’s 12th win broke a 35-year-old record set by McLaren for wins in a row and, as with 1988, it’s only the prospect of a double DNF that looks set to stop them from winning every race this season.

McLaren won 15 of 16 races that year, and a 100% record season is surely a target now for the current World Champions.

McLaren prove themselves

McLaren had not been expected to match the heights of the British Grand Prix, with their car suited to high speed corners at Silverstone and the team struggling on lower speed corners that characterise the Hungaroring circuit.

So it was a surprise to see Norris and Piastri qualify in third and fourth on Saturday, and aside from Perez recovering from another out of position start to finish roughly where his Red Bull should have been, they stayed there.

Piastri faded somewhat after his second stop eventually finish fifth but the rookie can be pleased with his efforts nonetheless on a circuit he hasn’t raced on since 2020.

Lando Norris
Lando Norris took his second straight podium, for the first ever time (Pirelli F1 Media)

Norris meanwhile underlined his credentials as a future world champion by backing up second place last time out with another runners-up finish in Budapest as McLaren look like they are here to stay.

Ferrari and Aston Martin falter

Put kindly, Ferrari had another race to forget.

After Carlos Sainz qualified 11th and Leclerc sixth, their pace was badly shown up by McLaren’s improvement and George Russell coming through from 18th on the grid to beat the pair of them in sixth.

Leclerc was heard less than impressed on the radio with their strategy, and lost time in the pit stops with a slow rear left tyre change.

For Aston Martin, their pace since the Austrian Grand Prix has slowly slipped away culminating in a finish this weekend at the very rear of the points in ninth and tenth for Alonso and Stroll.

The Silverstone team has never counted the Hungaroring among its favourite tracks, but there’s a lot of work to be done if they are once more emerge as one of Red Bull’s primary challengers.

Mercedes’ contrasting day.

When Lewis Hamilton woke this morning fresh from a shock 104th pole position yesterday, he cannot have expected fourth to be the best that his Mercedes could achieve today.

Mercedes struggled badly in the middle of the race as hard tyres and heavy fuel took a heavy toll in the second stint and ultimately extinguished any chance of a podium – a late salvo not enough for Hamilton to overhaul Perez.

Similarly, when Russell was tucking into his morning Weetabix, he cannot have expected sixth place from 18th on a track where overtaking is difficult.

He was helped slightly by Zhou’s skittling of the Alpines at Turn One, but his pace was solid late on and struggles for pace on the hard tyre masked by being in a train of slower cars earlier in the race, and his charge against a spent Ferrari team ensured that he salvaged a good result from an awful Saturday.

Images courtesy of Red Bull Content Pool / Getty mages, and Pirelli F1

Formula E-Rome EPrix Round 13 and 14 Race Reports: Evans Goes From Hero To Zero As Dennis Takes Championship Lead

Round 13 and Round 14 of the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship took place in the Italian capital of Rome. As the heat in the air and the track heated up, the championship battle reached new levels with chaos on Saturday and Sunday.

Round 13:

The first round kicked off with a Jaguar front row;  Sam Bird overtook his teammate Mitch Evans off of the line at the start.  Sacha Fenestraz maintained P3 withSebastien Buemi falling down the order after contact with Rene Rast. Edo Mortara went for a dive and held up Nick Cassidy in the opening stages, but he fell down the order as championship leader Jake Dennis made his way up to P5. It was a poor race for Pascal Wehrlein, he started in the top ten – however, the title contender fell down to P13 due to damage.  Evans tried to battle for P1 but was unsuccessful as Andre Lotterer’s Andretti collided with the barrier, bringing out the safety car for a couple of laps.

The pair of Jaguars battled again after the safety car restart and ended up swapping positions, with Evans taking the lead. Bird soon began to falter, he was overtaken by the Nissan rookie of Fenestraz as Rene Rast tried to pounce on the British driver.  Rast was able to make a move on Sam Bird a lap later as Da Costa also moved up . Evans went for attack mode in the opening stages, ended up dropping behind Fenestraz as the rookie took control and the lead of the race.  He was able to keep the lead as the first glut of drivers began to take the attack mode.

Mitch Evans, Jaguar TCS Racing, Jaguar I-TYPE 6, leads Jake Dennis, Avalanche Andretti Formula E, Porsche 99 X Electric Gen3
Image Credit: Formula E’s Media

After a brief yellow flag, the race was red flagged for a MONUMENTAL crash. Sam Bird lost the rear end of his car on a blind corner and crashed into the wall, ended up stranded in the middle of the track Buemi was the first car to pass but ended up being collected by the rear end of Bird’s car. Meanwhile, Mortara crashed into Bird’s stranded car. As replays show, the Mahindra of Di Grassi was also collected at the same place as Buemi on Bird’s car and he ended up crashing out too. After about 40 minutes, the cars lined up again after the red flag to resume the race with 13 drivers left in the race.

Rast lost  positions at the start of the race to P4 with Dennis making his way to the podium positions, battling with Evans.  Gunther and Rast went side by side after turn 4 but Cassidy managed to overtake the Maserati. Nico Muller also had a terrible race, colliding with Dan Ticktum and Jean-Eric Vergne, the former picked up damage.  As the time ticked down, Dennis and Cassidy remained towards the front with their attack mode still intact. Fenestraz lead from Evans in P2 and Dennis in P3 but Fenestraz began to struggle in the closing stages. Dennis began to make moves, overtaking Evans to take P3 and then dispatching of Fenestraz to take control and lead the Rome E-Prix.

Sacha Fenestraz, Nissan Formula E Team, Nissan e-4ORCE 04. Image Credit: Formula E Media.

Fenestraz continued to falter, with Evans sweeping through on  lap 16 and Cassidy following a few laps later to snatch the final podium positions.  Dennis took his attack mode after building a sizable gap, managing to maintain the lead.  Dennis and Cassidy began to exchange fastest laps – until Evans joined the fray setting the fastest lap on Lap 19.  Evans and Dennis managed to pull a lead from Cassidy in the final podium position. Evans missed his attack mode in the latter stages, and had to retake it again as Cassidy made his way up into P2.  Two laps were added to the end of the race, as  Gunther slipped past a struggling Dennis to take the final spot on the podium.

Evans won the Rome E-Prix ahead of Cassidy making it a Kiwi 1-2 with Gunther in P3 and a home podium for Maserati.  Dennis held onto P4, Vergne in P5, Muller took P6 with Wehrlein in P7, dropping down to P9 due to a 5 second time penalty. Nato and Sergio Sette Camara took P7 and P8 respectfullywith  Fenestraz rounding out the top ten.

Mitch Evans, Jaguar TCS Racing, 1st position, with his trophy on the podium. Image Credit: Formula E Media

With Cassidy’s P2 finish, he took the lead of the championship by 5 points ahead of Dennis in P2. Mitch Evans leapfrogged Wehrlein to go to P3 in the championship.

Round 14:

Round 14 started off with the championship leader Nick Cassidy starting P2 with his closest championship competitor Jake Dennis on pole. Dennis held off the lead from the Envision Driver while Norman Nato held P3. However, Bird looked impressive, slipping past the Nissan man to slot into the podium positions. Jake Hughes, missing from the previous round due to injury, and Ticktum both managed to have excellent starts, picking their way through the field.  Title contender Mitch Evans managed to get up amongst the action to take P3 in the early stages.  He began to battle with Cassidy, but the Envision man held off the Jaguar.  However, a lap later, Evans tried to make a move that failed,  sending him out of contention and damaged his car which brought out a safety car and caused collisions behind them including Hughes, Rast and Vergne having a broken wing, forcing them all into the pits.

After the drama, it was a clean restart with many drivers immediately going for attack mode. Evans returned to the pits  to retire his car after his collision with Cassidy, a major blow to his championship hopes. Nato tried to overtake Dennis shortly after but he got some damage after this attempt. Dennis wf the leaders to take attack mode, keeping his lead as Bird moved up to P2. Antonio Felix Da Costa locked up and ended up going off the track, ruining any chances of points as Buemi began to climb the order to P4.

Nick Cassidy, Envision Racing, Jaguar I-TYPE 6.
Image Credit: Formula E Media

Dennis managed to hold onto the lead after pressure from Bird, as Di Grassi was forced to retire after contact with the barrier. Both Mahindras retired on lap 13 as Bird activated his attack mode, dropping down to P4. Dennis and Nato went for their attack mode in the final stages, both keeping their positions.  Buemi moved down to P6 as he took attack mode and both Maseratis took attack mode, retaining their positions which disrupted Buemi’s progress.

Cassidy never managed to get back onto solid ground after his incident with Evans, circulating near the back of the field, he was collected by Lotterer in the dying stages, a blow to his championship hopes.  It was a quiet end to the race,  as the pole sitter Jake Dennis claimed victory, ahead of Nato and Bird clinging on for a crucial P3. Mortara claimed P4 ahead of Buemi and previous podium winner Gunther. Wehrlein hung on for P7 ahead of Vandoorne and Ticktum, with Muller taking the final point.

Jake Dennis managed to extend his championship lead up to 24 points from Nick Cassidy in P2. Mitch Evans is 20 points behind his rumoured teammate in P3 and Pascal Wehrlein is arguably out of the title race.

What did you think of these last 2 races? Do you think Dennis can clinch the title in London or can someone mount a comeback?

Round 7 WorldSBK, Imola, Race 2

The earlier Superpole race was won by Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK), followed by Alvaro Bautista ( Racing Ducati), and Andrea Locatelli in 2nd, and 3rd respectively.

Round 7 WorldSBK, Imola, Race 2 – Picture courtesy of WorldSBK

With the extreme heat conditions persisting, it was decided by the race organization to shorten the length of race 2, to 15 laps.

Lights out then for race 2, and after initially getting a great drive off the line, Bautista tipped into the right handed turn 2 and went straight down, he had no chance to save it, and the bike somersaulted into the gravel. A rare mistake from the reigning champion.

Toprak took over the lead, followed by his team mate Locatelli in 2nd, and Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) in 3rd. Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) then dived through on Bassani and took 3rd. Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) 5th, and Redding (Rokit BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) 6th.

Next lap and positions were as follows: 1. Toprak 2. Locatelli 3. Rea 4. Bassani 5. Lowes 6. Redding 7. Rinaldi ( Racing Ducati) 8. Ray (MotoxRacing Yamaha) 9. Petrucci (Barni Spark Racing) 10. Baz (Bonovo Action BMW).

With 13 laps of 15 left, Bassani aggressive as always from the start, dived up the inside of Locatelli to take 2nd, Rea seized the opportunity and likewise did the same to the Italian who dropped down to 4th. Out in the lead, Toprak had pulled the gap out to 0.9s.

With 11 laps remaining Rinaldi took Redding into the chicane to take 6th. Meanwhile further back it was Petrucci 10th, Vierge (Honda HRC) 11th, Aegerter (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK) 12th. Tito Rabat (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) then crashed out, his race over.

Round 7 WorldSBK, Imola, Race 2 – Picture courtesy of WorldSBK

With 10 laps to go Toprak had pulled the gap out to 0.3s. Bassani put in the new fastest lap with a 1:47.4. Rea was in 3rd. The leading trio had pulled away from the rest, with Locatelli now 1.7s behind Rea.

With 8 laps to go, Bassani had been steadily gaining on Toprak, and cut under him to take over the lead. Toprak now in 2nd, Rea 3rd. Further back it was Locatelli 4th, Lowes 5th, and Rinaldi 6th.

Just over half race distance and Bassani only held a gap of 0.1s to Toprak. Meanwhile it was Toprak who put in the new fastest lap with a 1:47.7. Drama further back for Isaac Vinales (Team Pedercini) who crashed out, his race over.

With only 4 laps remaining Rea was now struggling to remain in contact with the two ahead of him, and had a gap of 1.0s to overcome to 2nd. Drama for the other factory Kawasaki, Alex Lowes crashed out from a comfortable 5th place, losing the front end, his race over. Meanwhile up ahead Toprak had caught back up to Bassani, and cut up the inside of the Italian into turn 16, to retake the lead. Bassani, however, snapped straight back although Toprak was able to defend the lead.

Last 3 laps and the win would surely be decided between Toprak, and Bassani. Rea now too far back to be in contention.

Penultimate lap and Toprak had put the hammer down, obviously with more tyre grip, and broken the ability of Bassani to remain in contact. Great race for Brad Ray who was now up to 6th, in contention for his best ever WorldSBK result. Behind was Baz 7th, Redding 8th, and Petrucci 9th.

Round 7 WorldSBK, Imola, Race 2 – Picture courtesy of WorldSBK

Last lap and Toprak took the win to make it a double across the weekend. Bassani 2nd, Rea 3rd, Locatelli 4th, Rinaldi 5th, Ray 6th, Baz 7th, Redding 8th, Petrucci 9th, Lecuona 10th.

Result top 5:

  1. Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK)
  2. Bassani (Motocorsa Racing)
  3. Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK)
  4. Locatelli (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK)
  5. Rinaldi ( Racing Ducati)

Championship top 3:

  1. Bautista – 391
  2. Razgatlioglu – 321
  3. Locatelli – 208


Round 7 WorldSBK, Imola, Race 1

The earlier Superpole saw Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Prometeon Yamaha) claim top spot with an unbeaten time of 1:45.959, followed by team mate Andrea Locatelli, and Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Ducati) in 2nd and 3rd respectively.

Scorching temperatures were already taking hold across Southern Europe, and the mercury was hitting 34 degrees Celsius for race 1, with a track temperature of nearly 60 degrees.

Lights out then for race 1 and it was Andrea Locatelli with the hole shot into turn 1, followed by Bassani 2nd, Alvaro Bautista ( Racing Ducati) 3rd, Toprak 4th, and Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) 5th.

Round 7 WorldSBK, Imola, Race 1 – Picture courtesy of KRT WorldSBK

Next lap of the 19 lap race and positions were as follows: 1. Locatelli 2. Bassani 3. Bautista 4. Toprak 5. Rea 6. Redding (Rokit BMW Motorrad WorldSBK)  7. Rinaldi ( Racing Ducati) 8. Brad Ray (MotoxRacing Yamaha) 9. Petrucci (Barni Spark Racing) 10. Baz (Bonovo Action BMW)

With 18 laps to go, Bassani who had been looking aggressive from the off, dived up the inside of Locatelli to take the lead. Further back Rea held a gap of 0.7s to Redding, while Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) was up to 10th. At the front Locatelli responded to retake the lead, Bautista moved into 2nd, while Bassani dropped down into 3rd. Drama then for Baldassarri (GMT94 Yamaha) who crashed out, his race over.

Next lap and Toprak got through on Bautista up into 2nd. Pata Prometeon Yamahas were now 1 and 2.

With 16 laps of 19 remaining, Bassani continued to fall back and this time Rea got through and into 4th.

Next lap and Toprak got through on his team mate and took the lead. Meanwhile further back it was Redding 7th, Petrucci 8th, Baz 9th, Lowes 10th, and Ray 11th. Bautista then got through on Locatelli and up into 2nd, Rea too seized the opportunity and dived up the Italian into 3rd. Locatelli had now dropped to 4th.

With 13 laps to go, Bautista was slowly ratcheting up the pressure on Toprak. Rea put in a new fastest lap a 1:47.554 and was right on the back of Bautista. The leading trio were edging away from the rest of the field. Meanwhile further back Petrucci was up to 7th, Redding 8th. The factory Hondas were struggling again with Vierge 14th, and Lecuona 15th, although Vierge had to start from the back of the grid due to a last minute issue, so his position was well deserved. Leon Haslam (Rokit BMW Motorrad WorldSBK) was in 13th and riding for the injured Tom Sykes.

Next lap and it was Locatelli with the new fastest lap a 1:48.353, he had clearly not given up and was trying to make contact with the leading trio. Bautista then had a massive tank slapper down the back straight and it allowed Rea to come through. Bautista was lucky to get away with what could have been a nasty crash. It didn’t deter Alvaro however, and he snapped back to take 2nd.

With 11 laps remaining Locatelli held a gap of 1.6s to Bassani in 5th, Rinaldi 6th.

Next lap and it was Petrucci who got through on Bassani up into 6th, Rinaldi was ahead of him in 5th, and Bassani had now dropped down to 7th.

Just over half race distance and Bautista had shrugged off his earlier moment, and was now right on Toprak. Rea was struggling to keep contact with the pace being set by the leading duo, and was falling behind.

With 8 laps to go Bautista had been lining up a pass and used the power of the Ducati to once again blast past Toprak down the back straight, and into the lead. It was a perfectly clean pass and Toprak could not respond. The 250 revs docked from the Ducati by the organisers, seemingly making no difference to the performance what so ever.

And if to reiterate the point, Bautista put in a new fastest lap a 1:47.065 with now only 6 laps remaining. Drama for Eric Granado (Petronas MIE Racing Honda Team) who crashed out.

With only 5 laps remaining the positions were as follows: 1. Bautista 2. Toprak 3. Rea 4. Locatelli 5. Rinaldi.

Next lap and drama for Lecuona who had to retire due to a mechanical issue. Meanwhile further back Bassani continued to slide down the positions, and was now getting reeled in by Loris Baz. Lowes was 9th, Redding 10th, Haslam 11th. Vierge then got through on Leon to take 11th. Meanwhile drama for the Swiss rider Aegerter (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) who retired back to the pits due to a mechanical.

Penultimate lap and Bautista now held a gap of 3.4s over Toprak, while Toprak held a similar gap over Rea in 3rd.

Round 7 WorldSBK, Imola, Race 1 – Picture courtesy of WorldSBK

Last lap and Bautista secured yet another win followed by Toprak 2nd, Rea 3rd, Locatelli 4th, Rinaldi 5th, Petrucci 6th, Bassani 7th, Baz 8th, Lowes 9th, and Redding 10th.

Result top 5:

  1. Bautista ( Racing Ducati)
  2. Razgatlioglu (Pata Prometeon Yamaha WorldSBK)
  3. Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK)
  4. Locatelli (Pata Prometeon WorldSBK)
  5. Rinaldi ( Racing Ducati)

Championship top 3:

  1. Bautista – 382
  2. Razgatlioglu – 284
  3. Locatelli – 188


British Grand Prix Preview – Can Anyone Stop the Verstappen Juggernaut?

This weekends marks one of those rare occasions in British sport.

It is Round 10 of the 2023 Formula One World Championship as the British Grand Prix rolls into Silverstone. The Wimbledon Tennis Tournament is in full swing and the third Test Ashes Test between England and Australia will be on Day Four at Headingley.

The last time those three sports collided on the same day in Great Britain was 2019, where Lewis Hamilton won the Grand Prix in another all conquering, England won the Cricket World Cup “by the barest of margins” and Novak Djokovic beat Roger Federer in a thriller in SW19.

Verstappen juggernaut rolls on.

12 months ago it looked as if Verstappen would take a comfortable victory after passing Charles Leclerc for the lead during the race.

That was until he ran over a piece of debris caused by Alpha Tauri’s Yuki Tsunoda and Pierre Gasly, before Ferrari left Charles Leclerc to fend for himself after a Safety Car allowing Carlos Sainz to win his first career Grand Prix.

As with 2019, 2023 has a dominant team and one dominant driver, as Hamilton was cruising to the sixth of his seven World Drivers’ Championships, while this season Max Verstappen can pick and choose the races he attends and he will still be the Drivers’ Champion for a third time.

It is a question of when, not if he wins the World Championship and inevitably Verstappen is the hot favourite to win his eighth race of the season, and keep Red Bull’s 100% record in 2023 going.

The Dutchman has won the last five Grands Prix and lies 81 points – over three race victories – clear of Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez.

The fight behind Red Bull.

The real fight is behind them, with three teams vying to be the best of the rest.

Mercedes currently have that honour with Lewis Hamilton and George Russell consistently banking points.

The Silver Arrows are three points clear of Aston Martin – largely as a result of Lance Stroll’s struggles to match teammate Fernando Alonso for the Silverstone team.

The Spaniard is himself just 18 points behind Perez in third but, as with the cricket, it is very difficult to see the home side managing an unlikely series victory this weekend.

The third team fighting for the best of the rest is Ferrari, who have had something of a renaissance themselves over the last two races with a well managed fourth and fifth in Canada, before Charles Leclerc took an excellent second place in Austria last week.

McLaren, sporting a throwback Chrome livery in a nod to their history this weekend, will be looking to build on a strong weekend for Lando Norris who took fourth in Austria, as their season of catch up continues.

Track Limits?!

As yes, track limits.

Last weekend saw a farcical 1,200 instances of drivers losing lap times for exceeding track limits, largely at the final corner around the 2.7 mile Red Bull Ring.

Track limits will be monitored at Copse Corner, or Turn 9 depending on who you are, but we can expect minimal impact as the layout at Silverstone’s former first corner is different, and crucially a lot less awkward, than the final corner in Spielberg.

Don’t expect to see eight drivers affected by track limit penalties, five hours after the race this weekend.

What else should I look out for?

Well…. the battle at the bottom.

With McLaren and Alpine in fifth and sixth in the Constructors cut well adrift from the top four, four teams at the bottom are separated by nine points.

Haas and in particular Nico Hulkenberg benefitted from a wet-dry sprint qualifying, and race, to nick sixth place and three points as more established teams fell over themselves on Saturday to lift themselves up to seventh in standings with 11 points.

They’re two points clear of Alfa Romeo on nine, with the team run by Sauber having failed to push on from a strong 2022 to sit just two points clear of a resurgent Williams team.

Their team principal James Vowles has warned that progress will be slow, but despite this the team, courtesy of Alex Albon, have been genuine points contenders ever since a raft of upgrades were introduced at the Spanish Grand Prix.

Rookie Logan Sargent will finally be able to access those this week, as the team look to celebrate 800 races in style.

At the bottom of the pile, Alpha Tauri’s miserable season continues with Nyck de Vries seemingly unable to get close to scoring points, while Yuki Tsunoda has two points.

Dr Vries has been the subject of speculation over his future in his debut season in the sport, with Red Bull driver supremo recently suggesting that Red Bull team principal Christian Horner “maybe was right” in his opposition to signing the Dutchman.

Round 6 WorldSBK, Donington Park, Race 2

The earlier Superpole race saw a new winner crowned, with Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Prometeon Yamaha WorldSBK) claiming only his 2nd win of the season so far, with Alvaro Bautista ( Racing Ducati) in 2nd, and Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) in 3rd.

Toprak Razgatlioglu WorldSBK Donington 02.07.2023 Race 2 Picture courtesy of WorldSBK

Lights out then for race 2 and both Toprak and Bautista were in contention, before Toprak took the early lead. Then before the first lap could be completed, a massive crash involving 3 riders into turn 8 Coppice, brought the red flag out and the race was stopped. The riders involved were, Tom Sykes (Rokit BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team), Rinaldi ( Racing Ducati), and Loris Baz (Bonovo Action BMW). Seemingly it was Sykes who had a massive highside, and the others were collected in the process.

The race would be restarted with a total of 22 laps.

Lights out for the restart and this time Bautista gets the hole shot, followed by Rea, Toprak 3rd, Locatelli (Pata Prometeon WorldSBK) 4th, and Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) 5th. Toprak dived up the inside of Rea into his favourite corner, Melbourne Loop, to take 2nd.

Next lap and positions were as follows: 1. Bautista 2. Toprak 3. Rea 4. Locatelli 5. Gerloff (Bonovo Action BMW) 6. Lowes 7. Petrucci (Barni Spark Racing) 8. Redding (Rokit BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) 9. Aegerter (GYRT GRT Yamaha WorldSBK) 10. Oettl (TeamGoEleven).

Toprak then once again, and in his favourite corner, stuck it up the inside of Bautista to move into the lead. The Spaniard had to pick the bike up, and it allowed Rea to come through into 2nd. Bautista got mugged in that corner and found himself in 3rd.

Next lap and Rea put in the new fastest lap with a 1:26.4, and increased the gap to Bautista to 0.3s. Meanwhile in 5th, the Texan, Gerloff, was having one of the best rides for a BMW rider in some time.

With 18 laps of 22 remaining, at the front it was still Toprak leading Rea, with Bautista in 3rd, Locatelli 4th, and Gerloff 5th. Bautista had reduced the gap to Rea to 0.2s.

Next lap and further back it was Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) 10th, Oettl 11th, and Remi Gardner (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK)  12th. Meanwhile at the front there was now a group of 7 riders forming, and Alex Lowes was showing good pace and passed Gerloff into 5th.

With 15 laps to go, the lap times between the leading trio of Toprak, Rea, and Bautista was similar. Further back Locatelli was struggling to keep in contact. Lowes then carried on his charge and moved past Locatelli into the chicane to take 4th.

Next lap and both Hondas were having a disaster of a weekend, with Vierge 13th, and Lecuona 15th. The Brit, Brad Ray (MotoxRacing Yamaha), was sandwiched in between in 14th.

With 13 laps to go, Bautista, who had been closing the gap made his move on Rea into the chicane and into 2nd. Meanwhile Toprak was looking to take his 2nd win of the weekend.

Next lap and Bautista put in the new fastest lap with a 1:26.4, and was now slowly reeling in the Turkish rider ahead. Meanwhile Rea couldn’t match the pace and was now losing contact with the two ahead the gap increasing to 1.6s.

Just over half race distance and Bautista seized the moment, and blasted past Toprak and into the lead in turn 1. Toprak however had the pace down the Craner Curves, and snapped straight back at Bautista into turn 4 to retake the lead.

Next lap and Bautista knew he had the speed to take Toprak down the straight, which he did to retake the lead. Toprak again responded using the agility of the R1 to close the gap through the twisty parts of the track. Meanwhile further back it was still Rea leading his team mate, followed by Locatelli 5th, Petrucci 6th, Redding 7th, and Gerloff down to 9th.

With 8 laps remaining, the weekend was going from bad to worse for Honda, and Xavi Vierge retired to the garage. Meanwhile as he had shown in race 1, Petrucci was capable of late race pace, and he was again gaining on the riders ahead. He caught Locatelli and made a clean pass into 5th.

Next lap and Scott Redding was having the best race of his season so far, and got through on Locatelli into 6th. He had only started from 9th on the grid. Meanwhile at the front the gap between Bautista, and Toprak, increased to 0.7s.

With 6 laps to go, Petrucci had now caught Lowes, and dived through into the Foggy Esses to take 4th. He now had Rea in his sights, and got through into 3rd with what would be his first podium of his WorldSBK career to date. Both Kawasakis were now dropping back, and Redding was reeling them in, he caught Lowes first and cut under him into the Melbourne loop to take 5th.

With 4 laps to go Redding had now caught Rea, and made a clean pass again into the Melbourne loop. The BMW had much better acceleration, and Rea was unable to respond. Meanwhile at the front Bautista increased the gap to 1.3s. Toprak was winding the life out of his R1 but was unable to make up any ground.

Penultimate lap and Petrucci had now increased the gap over Redding to 1.2s. Meanwhile Rea launched an attack on Redding into the chicane, but Redding was able to defend his position.

Petrucci WorldSBK Donington 02.07.2023 Race 2 Picture courtesy of WorldSBK

Last lap and Bautista crossed the line to take another win, followed by Toprak 2nd, Petrucci 3rd, Redding 4th, Rea 5th, Lowes 6th, Bassani 7th, Locatelli 8th, Gerloff 9th, Oettl 10th, Brad Ray 13th.

Results top 5:

  1. Bautista ( Racing Ducati)
  2. Razgatlioglu (Pata Prometeon Yamaha WorldSBK)
  3. Petrucci (Barni Spark Racing)
  4. Redding (Rokit BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team)
  5. Rea (Kawaski Racing Team WorldSBK)

Championship top 3:

  1. Bautista – 357
  2. Razgatlioglu – 264
  3. Locatelli – 175


Formula E: Title Fight Heats Up In Portland As Dennis Takes The Championship Lead

The very first Portland E-Prix for Formula E saw drama in both qualifying and the race.



This session kicked off with Group A going out. 2 of the 4 chamionship contenders participating in this session: Pascal Wehrlein and Nick Cassidy. Gunther, Fenestraz, Ticktum and Vergne were quickest in the early parts of the session. As the timer ticked down, drivers kept on going faster and faster. Fenestraz, Vergne, Nato and Gunther were the top 4 as we entered the latter staged of the first group session. Mitch Evans, although he was not in this session, was under investigation for pit land procedures. 2 championship contenders Cassidy and Wehrlein both did NOT improve and were due to start on the 6th and 10th rows of the grid. Fenestraz, Vergne, Nato and Gunther(who made an error on his final lap) managed to make it through to the duels. Group A was finished and Group B was just getting underway.

As the light went green for Group B, another championship contender Mitch Evans was out of his car before the session even got underway. It appeared he had an issue with his car so he was unable to even participate in the session which was big for his championship hopes. It emerged that both DS Penskes were under investigation for a technical infringement which then meant both drivers of Stoffel Vandoorne and Jean-Eric Vergne would be forced to do a pitlane start. Roberto Mehri had a big lockup going into turn 1 but he managed to go into the run off area and rejoin the track. Mortara did something similar to his teammate and went onto the grass. He then pitted while Jake Dennis went fastest with a 1:09:856. It was then understood that a DC fault was the reason for the Mitch Evans not taking part in qualifying. Mortara managed to jump up to P2 which dropped Andre Lotterer out of the top 4. Both Sam Bird and Antonio Felix Da Costa managed to finish laps but only got up to P7 and P8 respectfully. The top 4 then went from Dennis, Mortara, Lotterer and Rast to Rast, Dennis, Hughes and Da Costa. They all went through to the duels.

It was Nato and Vergne up first with Nato managing to beat the 2 time champion.

Fenestraz and Gunther were up next with Fenestraz having an advantage over the Maserati driver. Fenestraz then has a moment after the final corner and he managed to tap the wall and have a wiggle. He manages to beat Gunther by 0.100.

Hughes and Dennis went up against eachother for the third qualifying. Hughes first ahead by 0.056 but then Dennis managed to get a jump by 0.126. Dennis managed to keep that lead and beat the McLaren driver.

The final quarter final saw Rene Rast and Antonio Felix DaCosta go against eachother. Rast was 3 tenths down on the 2020 champion and it didn’t seem to go well. But then as they crossed the line, Rast managed to get through by other 1 tenth!

It was an all Nissan semi final 1 with Nato against Fenestraz. Nato managed to go a bit wide in turn 1 while Fenestraz managed to keep it tighter and be over 3 tenths up. Fenestraz then managed to get through to the final.

Rast and Dennis went uo against eachother with Dennis maintaining an early lead as they crossed the line to go into the final.

Dennis and Fenestraz went against eachother for the final with Dennis first being up by 0.011 tenths and then Fenestraz being up by 0.022 tenths. Fenestraz then tapped the wall at the final corner which costs him pole position. Jake Dennis took pole position and the championship lead.

Jake Dennis, Avalanche Andretti Formula E
Pole Position-Image Credit to Sam Bloxham

The lights went out in Portland and the McLarens managed to make a good start as well as Nick Cassidy who already made his way up to P5. Many moves happened in the early parts of this race with Mehri up to P15 and the Nissans still in 2nd and 3rd. Da Costa also managed to overtake Cassidy for P5. Muller managed to have broken front nose on his car. Cassidy then managed to get up to the lead from Dennis and Rast. A yellow flag then came out due to Mehri having a loss of power and stopping on track which brought out a safety car. At the safety car restart, Nato lead from Da Costa and Dennis. At that point, Da Costa managed to make 12 overtakes in the race so far. When the safety car came in, Fenestraz had to pit for a new front nose. The top 3 remained the same after the restart until Nato and Gunther managed to jump Cassidy with Mortara and Da Costa in P4 and P5.

The Safety Car was then deployed for a second time as the Abt Cupra of Nico Muller crashed at the walls of turn 9 and 10. His wing came off and went under the car. Thankfully, he is safe and got out of the car. The DS Penskes of Vergne and Vandoorne managed to get up to P13 and P15 after starting from the pitlane. Wehrlein also managed to get up to P1. The Safety Car remained out for many laps as we passed lap 15 out of 28. Then, Nato passed Cassidy while under the safety car. This was more than likely due to the race stewards reviewing the footage when the safety car came out.

Jake Dennis, Avalanche Andretti Formula E, Porsche 99 X Electric Gen3-Image Credit: Simon Galloway

We then went green again and MANY drivers decided to go for attack mode including Nato, Gunther, Mortara, Rast, Frijns, Hughes and Bird. While having attack mode, Gunther goes for an overtake on Dennis and managed to hold onto it. Every car was still stuck together on lap 18/28 while Vandoorne and Lotterer went through attack mode. Vergne then had a moment on the grass at the same place Muller went off but he managed to keep it on track. Wehrlein was then under investigation for a turn 1 incident. Both Vergne and Wehrlein then fell down the order as they took attack mode. Muller then got a 5 second penalty for leaving the track but he already retired from the race. Da Costa managed to overtake Cassidy for the lead of the race!

The race then became a matter of energy saving to get them to the end. This involved a lot of weaving from many drivers. Vergne managed to get his way up to P4 after a pit lane start but he was overusing on power and had to drop back to conserve in order to get to the end. As we entered the letter staged of the race, Evans, Wehrlein, Buemi and Sette Camara all had 1 attac mode remaining. 4 additional laps were then added due to the amount of laps we spent behind the safety car. In terms of energy at this point, Vergne has 24% while Cassidy had 28% and Da Costa 29%. Dennis then goes for a move around the outside and he gets Da Costa but not Cassidy as Da Costa fights back. Gunther manages to touch the grass and drop down to P8. With 3 laps remaining, Da Costa takes the lead of the E-Prix! Dennis lines up a move into turn 1 on Da Costa but he stays behind the Porsche driver.

Cassidy manages to hold onto the lead and he wins the Portland E-Prix! Jake Dennis finishes P2 and Antonio Felix Da Costa finished the podium positions in P3. Mitch Evans managed to go from P20 to P4, Sebastian Buemi finished in P5 with Maximilian Gunther in P6. Sam Bird crossed the line in P7 but he got a penalty for a collision and dropped down to P17. Lucas DiGrassi, Pascal Wehrlein and Normal Nato crossed the line P8, P9 and P10 but got points for P7, P8 and P9. Robin Frijns managed to get P10.

Formula E returns in a few weeks with the Rome E-Prix on the 15th and 16th of July with the season finale a few weeks after that in London for the London E-Prix on the 29th and 30th of July.

Who is your favourite to win the title?

MotoGP: Martin Sprints to Sachsenring Glory

Jorge Martin was on another level in a superb sprint race victory here at the Sachsenring. Pecco Bagnaia and Jack Miller rounding off the top three in 2nd and 3rd as the Martinator marched on in his 2023 title challenge.

The crowd were witness to a fantastic battle in the early stages between the front 3 riders and a great fight for 4th place which was taken, in the end, by Luca Marini.  More disappointment for both Yamaha and Aprilia with only Aleix Espargaro managing to finish in the top 10.

Image Credit: MotoGP


Jack Miller, after a great start, lead into turn 1 on the first lap only for Pecco Bagnaia to come back past Miller into turn 2.

At the end of lap 1,  Bagnaia ran too hot into turn 1 as Miller moved back past into 1st and created a bit of a gap at the front. Jorge Martin  wasup 3 places in the race by the start of lap 2.

As the front three were battling, it was Brad Binder setting the fastest lap of the race at the end of lap 2 with Marc Marquez running wide. Marquez is constantly on the limit with his Honda this weekend, which has resulted in a lot of crashes so far. Halfway through lap 3, Bagnaia made his way back to the front down the hill of turn 11, back past Miller, only for the lead to quickly switch back to Miller down into turn 1 at the start of lap 4. A fantastic battle between last year’s teammates.

The overtake and key moment of the race has to go to the Martinator, Jorge Martin, as he blasted up the inside of both Bagnaia and Miller into the lead. An outstanding move from Martin!

On lap 6, Martin set the fastest lap of the sprint whilst building a gap to Bagnaia in the chasing group of 4 behind. Martin was pushing the gap above 1 second for the first time and trying to stretch out a lead at the front. Martin posted fastest lap after fastest lap and was on another level here at the Sachsenring.

It was a story of Ducati vs KTM in the top 5 with Yamaha nowhere, down in 14th and 15th. Aprilia were also outside of the top ten. With 9 laps to go in the sprint race, Martin is now 1.327s ahead of Bagnaia in second and despite Bagnaia doing his best lap of the race, he’s still unable to respond to the blistering pace of Martin out at the front.

Starting lap 10 of 15, Martin was well ahead now with a gap of 1.696s to Bagnaia in 2nd. Bagnaia was also half a second clear of Miller in 3rd.

Coming into the final phase of the sprint race, the top 3 seemed to have the positions locked in. The battle for 4th intensified with Binder battling with Marini. Binder was unable to outbreak the VR46 team rider into turn 1 as the battle for 4th place continued with 4 laps to go.

At the start of lap 14 and Binder was trying all he can to get by Marin, again into turn 1, however he was unable to make the move stick. Marini was holding station in 4th and showing superb defensive skills and was shutting the door whenever he could on Binder.

On the last lap of the sprint, Zarco managed to barge his way by Binder to take 5th but this then forced an investigation by the stewards. In the end, Marini managed to hold off everyone to take a great 4th place.

Martin crossed the line +2.468s clear of Bagnaia in 2nd and is now just 21 points shy of Bagnaia’s lead in the championship. Martin is mounting a serious challenge to our reigning champion and proved to be just too quick today for Bagnaia and Miller. Miller said, post race, that there is still more to come from the KTM rider and we’re all set for a great race tomorrow.

How it finished
Image Credit: MotoGP

Feature Image Credit: MotoGP

MotoGP: Bagnaia takes pole in Sachsenring

Pecco Bagnaia reigns supreme at the Sachsenring with his 15th career pole position in MotoGP.  Back-to-back pole positions for the world champion as the incredible run of form continued here in Germany. 

A Sachsenring stunner here and a qualifying session full of drama. After a sea of yellow flags and laps cancelled, it was the Bologna bullet holding out at the end of Q2 to take pole position. 

Image Credit: Ducati Corse


Nicknamed the SachsenKING, Marc Marquez lead the pack of riders into Q1 on an ever changing track and set the benchmark time for the rest of the riders to chase posting the fastest time early on in the session.

With eight minutes left of the session, Marquez headed back out on the medium rain tyres to see if the track was ready for slicks, only to end up sprinting back to the pits for the spare bike, after the first of what turned into many falls throughout qualifying session for Marquez.

With time ticking away and riders in the pits looking on, they all had a tough call to make on what tyres to head back out on for the rest of Q1. After advice from his KTM teammate Jack Miller, Brad Binder was the first to gamble and head out onto the track on slick tyres.

With 30 seconds remaining of Q1, only two riders had the slick tyres on and this proved to be the right call with Binder and Marquez moving into Q2.


The battle for pole was on and with the sunshine now beating down onto the circuit, all of the riders headed out onto the track with slick tyres.

With ten minutes of the session remaining, Marquez was on course to posting the fastest time only to go over the handlebars coming out of turn 13. Marquez yet again seen sprinting back to the pits determined to get back out in Q2.

With Luca Marini now crossing the line going quickest, we then saw teammate Marco Bezzecchi crash out at turn 13. A copy cat like crash to the one we saw only moments earlier with Marquez.  With yellow flags now waving in sector 4 and with Bezzecchi now sprinting back to the pits, we were set for a hectic battle for pole in the second half of the session.

With just two minutes left to go in Q2, Johann Zarco goes quickest only to be topped a few seconds later by Miller. Fastest lap times just kept coming as we were shaping up for a thrilling finish to Q2.

Then just as all of the sectors lit up in yellow flags, Marini posted the quickest time only to be fractionally topped by Bagnaia, which would turn out to be pole position with a lap time of 1’21.4090 seconds. Just 0.078th of a second quicker to Marini in second place.

With Zarco going down and another fall from Marquez forcing the yellow flags, it caused a bunch of riders lap times to be cancelled and in doing so kept Bagnaia on top to take pole position.

Starting grid for the 2023 Saschenring MotoGP race. Image courtesy of MotoGP


Feature Image Credit:  courtesy of Ducati


Moto3: Sasaki Shatters Sachsenring for Pole

Ayumu Sasaki pole setter for the moto3 2023 Saschenring race. image courtesy of IntactGP

Ayumu Sasaki takes pole position here in Germany shattering the lap record. Not just shattering the lap record,  but demolishing the rest of the field in the process. A clear +1.092 seconds ahead to championship rival Deniz Öncü in second.

Ayumu Sasaki Pole Setter for the 2023 Moto3 Sachsenring GP. Image courtesy of Intactgp



Taiyo Furusato was the first of the riders to post a quick time setting the benchmark for the session. Filippo Farioli shortly followed Furusato, topping the timesheets in the sunshine here at the Sachsenring.

The Q1 session then came to a halt with yellow flags quickly turning to red in sector 2 with Scott Ogden’s highside at turn 3. A nasty fall for the British rider and good to see Ogden walking away from the incident. However, clearly in pain holding his left leg.

As the session restarted and with five minutes left of the session, it was Honda Team Asia leading the way with Furusato and Mario Aji at the top of the leader board heading for Q2.  David Salvador crashing at turn 1 forced the yellow flags just as David Muñoz posted the fasted time. Another highside crash in the session, Salvador shaken but walked away from the incident ok.

A tightly contested Q1 in Moto3 and with a few minutes remaining, only a few tenths of a second separated the top 4 places.

Muñoz topped the session ahead of Xavier Artigas, Furusato and Farioli the top 4 making it through to the Q2 session.


With the grandstands packed as we headed into Q2, could any of the riders get ahead of Daniel Holgado in qualifying and take the fight to him in the championship. A key Q2 session here in Germany.

Sasaki set the benchmark time in the first run at pole position, with an impressive time of 1:25.963 seconds, 6 tenths clear of Öncü in second. The usual suspects of Ivan Ortola, Jaume Masia and Moreira rounding off the top 5 with Holgado in 6th.

Six minutes left of the session and all of the riders made their way out of the pits for their final go at pole position, could any of them get near Sasaki’s time? After a big crash yesterday in practice, Öncü clearly is a rider to never give up, was up on Sasaki half way through his lap only to fall short in sectors 3 and 4. Öncü cementing his second place reducing the gap to Sasaki. Now just +0.259 tenths of a second separating 1st and 2nd place.

With less than a minute to go in the session, a Moto3 snaking train of riders crossed the line to go for a final flying lap. Yamanaka overtaken by Holgado, the championship leader impatient chasing Sasaki’s time crossing the line only to improve to 5th place.

Holgado’s 5th place would only last a few seconds as just about every Moto3 rider crossed the finish line together in a flurry of changes in positions on the grid. Every rider in turn 1 glancing up at the screen to see where they would start in tomorrows race.

Next to cross the line and cross the line in some style was Sasaki. A lap time of 1:25.130 and new all time lap record for the #71 bike. The lap time was that quick from Sasaki that it was only 6 hundredths of a second away from getting into Q2 in Moto2! Incredible from the Husqvarna rider, a clear +1.092 seconds ahead of Öncü in 2nd place.  Öncü and Ortola rounding off the front row with Holgado starting 7th in tomorrow’s race.

Image credit: MotoGP 

Feature Image Credit: intactgp





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