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“We had a good opportunity to win and get both cars on the podium” – Mercedes’ Shovlin

Andrew Shovlin admits it was frustrating to see the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team lose out on victory in Sunday’s French Grand Prix, with Max Verstappen overhauling Lewis Hamilton on the penultimate lap at the Circuit Paul Ricard to take his third victory of 2021.

There was even more disappointment for Mercedes as Valtteri Bottas also lost a podium finish late in the day, with the Finn losing out to the second Red Bull of Sergio Pérez.  The result sees Verstappen pull further away at the head of the Drivers’ Championship and Red Bull likewise draw away from Mercedes in the Constructors’ battle.

Both Hamilton and Bottas complained about their tyres suffering in France, with both losing performance in the closing laps that made life easier of Red Bull, who played a different tactical battle and came out on top when it mattered.

And Shovlin, the Track Engineering Director at Mercedes, says they will need to go away an identify the reasons why Red Bull were able to out perform the team around a track traditionally classed as a Mercedes stronghold.

“A frustrating day, we had a good opportunity to win and get both cars on the podium so the result is obviously very disappointing,” said Shovlin.  “Lewis had control of the race in the first stint and if anything we looked to be a bit better on degradation.

Mercedes’ Toto Wolff: “We need to understand the great pace of the Red Bulls on their out laps”

Toto Wolff says the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team will need to look into what happened during the French Grand Prix on Sunday, with the team losing out on victory on the penultimate lap to Red Bull Racing.

Lewis Hamilton led early on at the Circuit Paul Ricard but dropped behind Max Verstappen during the pit stops early on as Red Bull made use of the undercut by pitting the Dutchman two laps earlier than the reigning World Champion.

Verstappen then pitted again and fell to fourth but, on fresher tyres, was able to catch and pass Valtteri Bottas for second and then Hamilton for the lead.  The decisive move for the win came on the penultimate lap.

Both Hamilton and Bottas struggled for tyre performance in the closing stages, which made the latter also easy prey for the second Red Bull of Sergio Pérez, meaning Mercedes saw a potential one-two finish become a two-four finish.

Wolff, the Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport, says the pace of the Red Bull’s straight out of the pits made all the difference, and they will be looking into how they can improve their own tyre warm-up for the upcoming races.

Lewis Hamilton: “We didn’t know how strong the undercut was going to be”

Lewis Hamilton fell further behind Max Verstappen in the Drivers’ Championship after the French Grand Prix, with the Briton finishing second behind the Dutchman at the Circuit Paul Ricard.

The Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team gambled on pitting only once on Sunday while Verstappen pitted twice, and the fresher rubber for the Red Bull Racing driver gave him the pace needed to catch Hamilton and pass him for the lead on the penultimate lap.

Hamilton led initially after Verstappen made a mistake heading into turn two on lap one, but opted to pit two laps later than his rival, with the Red Bull driver edging ahead into turn one. Red Bull ten gambled on a second pit stop, which left Mercedes on the back foot and powerless to defend in the closing laps.

Despite losing the win, Hamilton was pleased with the result in France as the team worked through problems that had affected their Friday, although he acknowledges there is work to be done in order to fight back against Red Bull and take the challenge to Verstappen across the upcoming races.

“Congratulations to Max, he did a great job today,” said Hamilton.  “The Red Bulls had better straight line speed all weekend but considering that we had such a difficult Friday, I’m really happy with this result.

Kristoffersson gearing up with EKS JC for 2021 World RX Season

EKS and Johan Kristoffersson are two of the most prominent names in the FIA World Rallycross Championship. The two have spent their histories in the series competing against each other for championship glory. However, in a somewhat unprecedented move, Kristoffersson will now team up with the EKS squad for the 2021 season, as the pair join forces for a title assault. The pairing has resulted in a new squad being formed; EKS JC, a merger between Mattias Ekström’s EKS squad and Kristoffersson’s JC Raceteknick outfit. 

Here is what Johan had to say about the announcement;

“First of all, I’m very pleased that I can contest a full World RX season, and to do so with a new team is like a new challenge for me. EKS JC know how to win races and championships, and after our first two test days, we saw that we could learn and gain from each other. Joel Christoffersson and the whole team are very passionate and motivated to achieve the goal of defending my Drivers’ title and, together with Enzo, also the Teams’ title.

“The target when you enter a championship as the reigning champion is always to win it again, but that’s certainly no easy task. It’s a position I’ve been in twice already, and we will do whatever it takes to fight for the crown this year.

“The competition will always be there and – because rallycross is rallycross – there will always be a lot of action. We fully expect to have to fight hard, but we are ready for that and I really, really can’t wait to get to the first event with my new car and see where we are at.”

Will Aspin Column – What a start to the year!

Hi Guys

Well, what a start its been to the Protyre Motorsport Ginetta GT5 Challenge! Five races in and I’m lying second in the standings, just six-points off the lead having finished each race on the podium to date. And the bonus is that Alpaca, a Yorkshire-based company that has experts to help grow businesses, has come on board as a sponsor. 

The season began at Thruxton in early May and it was a really good start to the season for me. Finishing second and third and to be lying second in the championship heading to the most recent Brands Hatch races was really encouraging. Maybe I could have qualified better, which would have put me higher up on the grid, but considering it was the first GT5 meeting of the year, I was very happy.

In Race 1, we took a gamble. The track was wet but we opted for ‘slicks’ hoping the track would dry out quickly. Thankfully that’s what happened which benefitted my Elite team-mate John Bennett and myself whereas the pole-sitter started on wets which cost him. 

My start wasn’t great and conditions were tricky early on, the track was very greasy, and maybe I was over cautious. I completed lap one in seventh place but the track came to me as it dried allowing the tyres to get up to temperature. 

Kelvin van der Linde Celebrates 25th Birthday With His First DTM Win

South African ABT Sportsline Audi driver, Kelvin van der Linde not only claimed pole position for his second ever race in the DTM but he then went on to win and what a way to celebrate his birthday.

Sunday 20th June 2021 race two at Monza, Italy started as fiercely as day one did, showing how the changes in DTM with moving over to GT3 cars has made the championship even more competitive. Van der Linde, who has followed his brother Sheldon into the DTM, placed his foot down hard to get away from the pack at the start, after the tight first bend, leaving a battle for second to hold up the rest of the field. 

Four-way fight between Müller, Lawson, van der Linde & Muth. Photo Credit: Hoch Zwei

This battle was a thrilling one as four cars, sometimes racing three abreast, was such a close fight that it was difficult to predict who would come out on top. Those battling were Nico Müller in his Team Rosberg Audi, Liam Lawson in his AF Corse Ferrari, Sheldon van der Linde in the Rowe Racing BWM and the T3 Motorsport Lamborghini of Esteban Muth. By the end of the second lap van der Linde had claimed second place for himself, following his brother who by now had a four second lead over everyone. Day one winner, Lawson had a big moment with the Lamborghini of Muth as they went through a chicane resulting in Lawson being spun round and ending up at the back of the field.

The high-speed track of Monza is a traditionally difficult track to overtake on leading to a wealth of fascinating position fights. The ex-DTM champion Mike Rockenfeller and Muth showed us some great examples of how to fight for position at this track with some very high speed jostling for road space over eighth place. Rockenfeller finally got past Muth with a spectacular manoeuvre on the outside on the penultimate lap.

Lucas Auer’s Team WINWARD Mercedes-AMG. Photo Credit: Hoch Zwei

Kelvin van der Linde held control over the entire race, even when the field got mixed up in the mandatory pit stops, he remained focused and retook the lead as others pitted. His four second lead that he took in lap two came back to him as he took the checkered flag ahead of Müller and the Team Winward Mercedes-AMG of Lucas Auer. The other van der Linde brother came fourth giving BMW thier best result to date.

Edoardo Mortara Gives Venturi Victory in Second Race of Puebla E-Prix Weekend

Edoardo Mortara and the ROKiT Venturi Racing team played a perfect tactical battle to win race two of the Puebla E-Prix on Sunday, while Pascal Wehrlein lost more points thanks to another penalty having initially finished second.

Oliver Rowland started from pole position for Nissan e.dams, while Mortara jumped front row start Wehrlein to fall in behind the Briton in second.  When the attack mode zone opened, Rowland immediately took it, and when Wehrlein took his first attack mode, the Briton followed in to take his second as Nissan went aggressive on strategy.

Mortara now took over at the front, and the battle between Rowland and Wehrlein left him able to take his second attack mode and still come out in the lead. The Swiss racer then defended well from Wehrlein to hold onto the lead until the chequered flag, with his positioning around the banking putting him out of reach of the German lap after lap.

Wehrlein’s final gamble – to save energy and attempt to pass Mortara late on – was ruined when he ran wide at turn seven and lost more than one and a half seconds, allowing the Venturi driver to relax and secure his second Formula E win and the championship lead.

A mistake by Rowland saw him lose out on the final spot on the podium to a charging Nick Cassidy, with the Envision Virgin Racing driver securing his maiden top three finish of the season. 

Kyle Larson dominates Ally 400, 4th win in as many weeks

Kyle Larson cannot be stopped. In Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Nashville Superspeedway, the first in the area since 1984 at the Fairgrounds and the first at the Lebanon track, Larson led 226 of 330 laps en route to his third straight points victory and fourth in as many weeks (including the exhibition All-Star Race).

Larson started fifth while Aric Almirola won his first pole since Atlanta in 2019. His Hendrick Motorsports team-mate William Byron was sent to the rear for unapproved adjustments, as were Quin Houff and Erik Jones.

Houff’s race quickly came to an end when his right-front wheel detached and sent him into the wall on the opening lap. Larson would take the lead for the restart. Additional incidents came with Tyler Reddick spinning followed by Blaney’s two wrecks, the second of which came due to a brake failure and ended his day. Multiple drivers would also suffer tyre or brake issues throughout the race. Chase Elliott took the stage win, which was rolled over to Kurt Busch when Elliott was disqualified. The revised top ten after Elliott’s penalty was Busch, Larson, Daniel Suárez, Kyle Busch, Austin Dillon, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano, Matt DiBenedetto, and Denny Hamlin.

Bubba Wallace provided the lone incident of Stage #2 when he spun. The segment was the Kyle Show as Larson and Busch were the only drivers to lead laps in it, and the former would take the stage win. Dillon, Chase Briscoe, Byron, Busch, Hamlin, Stenhouse, Almirola, Kevin Harvick, and Kurt Busch followed.

The third stage began on lap 191 with Larson continuing to lead. Ryan Preece spun seven laps later, followed by Wallace doing so again on lap 219. Briscoe wrecked on lap 228. Larson led at the restart and held off Ross Chastain to win his tenth career Cup race. Chastain, incidentally driving the Chip Ganassi Racing #42 that Larson previously raced until his suspension last year, finished a career-best second.

Verstappen gets Barcelona Revenge in French Strategic Masterclass

Red Bull Racing can now add France to the endless list of countries where they have won a grand prix, after Max Verstappen got revenge for Barcelona and won the French Grand Prix in similar style.

It was a strategic masterclass by Red Bull, the team pitted Verstappen for a second time not long after pitting for the first, this gave Verstappen fresher tyres enabling him to hunt both Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team drivers down and snatch the victory. It was almost an exact replica of Barcelona, but this time it was the Dutchman charging through rather than Lewis Hamilton.

Verstappen who started on pole lost the lead to Hamilton on the opening lap after running off the circuit at turn one, the championship leader however regained the lead during the first round of stops after he undercut Hamilton. The team then pitted Verstappen again as it soon became apparent that a one-stop was not the fastest nor the best strategy, going against what Pirelli predicted.

Verstappen was left with a similar task to Hamilton in Spain, to hunt down and overtake the leader, which he successfully managed on the penultimate lap with an easy DRS maneuver.

It was a double podium for the team for the first time this season, as Sergio Pérez claimed third place after overtaking the other Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas in the closing laps.

“Winning this race was an amazing team effort” – Max Verstappen

Max Verstappen extended his world championship lead after a strategic masterclass at the French Grand Prix, with team-mate Sergio Pérez in third for fantastic double podium for Red Bull Racing.

Max Verstappen took his and Red Bull’s first ever win in France with a dramatic penultimate lap overtake on title rival Lewis Hamilton. The race was a carbon copy of the Spanish Grand Prix, but this time with Red Bull performing the two-stop with Verstappen, leaving him plenty of time to hunt down both Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team cars.

Verstappen went from third to first in the closing laps, first overtaking Valtteri Bottas and then Hamilton, who were both on destroyed hard tyres after pitting once earlier than expected.

Verstappen won the race having only led ten laps, the Dutchman lost the lead in the first corner of the very first lap after running off the circuit, only to get the lead back during the first round of pit-stops after undercutting Hamilton. It wasn’t long after Verstappen’s first stop that he was in again for a fresher set of medium tyres.

It became known very quickly that the predicted one-stop strategy wouldn’t work, the tyres were degrading much faster than Pirelli expected. Verstappen was left with plenty of laps to catch the Mercedes and take his first Formula 1 victory on French soil.

Palou steals Road America win as Newgarden suffers late race heartbreak

Chip Ganassi Racing’s Alex Palou remained patient and got his rewards as he took victory in the NTT Indycar Series, REV Group Grand Prix of Road America to take the championship lead away from Pato O’Ward.

The Spaniard made some bold moves to get up to second but he never looked likely to overtake long-time race leader Josef Newgarden, until the Team Penske Chevrolet went into emergency mode for the final two lap sprint following a late caution which ended the American’s hopes of victory.

Heartbreak for Newgarden, and Penske’s winless run continuing, was Palou’s gain as he is now 28 points clear of O’Ward in the championship.

Newgarden would eventually finish 21st, giving him a mountain to climb if he wants to earn a third championship title.

Colton Herta had a steady race but made moves when it mattered to take home second for Andretti Autosport while Penske did get a driver on the podium as Will Power redeemed himself after his Detroit nightmare.

Max Verstappen leaves it late at Paul Ricard to Extend Championship Advantage

After a washout of rain this morning and overnight, and with all the rubber each car has laid down at each session this weekend being washed away by that rain, this was sure to be a wild race at the the Circuit Paul Ricard in Le Castellet, France. In the end Max Verstappen made a big statement with a major overtake late in the race to hold onto the lead in the 2021 Formula 1 World Drivers’ Championship.

The race started with an even getaway for the top three. Carlos Sainz Jr. had a superior start to Sergio Pérez but was not able to seal the position. Into turn two Verstappen locked up and went wide seemingly for no reason as he was not under pressure from anyone behind, and in doing so, he gifted Lewis Hamilton the lead.

A lap later Hamilton almost powerslided round Turn Five and called into his team to check his back tyres as he could not find any grip. Further down the field, Daniel Ricciardo had a fantastic start, getting ahead of of his team-mate Lando Norris, and Sebastian Vettel made a beautiful move on Esteban Ocon for eleventh place. Nikita Mazepin nearly took out his Uralkali Haas F1 Team team-mate Mick Schumacher on Lap Five and Gasly began to complain about his car balance, calling it “a disaster”.

On Lap eight, Hamilton began to complain about his tyres, stating that they were getting hot, reporting front tyre graining, and believing that the tyres would not last as long as Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team expected them to. It seems Hamilton was correct as Mercedes announced to their Pit Crew that they were going to be minus two laps to their planned strategy.

Ricciardo finally found his way past the Alpine F1 Team car of Fernando Alonso into turn eight, and just three turns later, his team-mate Lando Norris found his way through too. Just a few laps later, Daniel then found his way past Charles Leclerc in the Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow, who a short time later decided to be the first driver into the pits.

Doohan wins wet F3 feature race in France

On a soggy morning in Southern France, Jack Doohan out-witted Championship leader Dennis Hauger to claim his first FIA Formula 3 victory at Paul Ricard.

The Australian and the Norwegian have raced against each other for many years in many different single-seater series as they climbed the racing ladder together so they are no strangers to racing wheel-to-wheel and Doohan came out on top this time as he held on to his wet tyres longer as the track dried towards the end of the race.

The race winning overtake with five laps to go looked to be the end of it but Hauger kept pushing to the end and was never too far away from making a move but the Trident of Doohan withstood the challenge.

Hauger does however extend his championship lead as Victor Martins could only manage fourth at his home race, being overtaken by MP Motorsport and Alpine academy teammate Caio Collet for the final spot on the podium.

It was a result much needed for Collet having not scored in the two races on Saturday while Martins will still be content with a very healthy chunk of points after his double Saturday podium.

Liam Lawson Becomes Youngest Ever DTM Race Winner

In the 2021 DTM season opener, on Saturday 19th June, New Zealander Liam Lawson had many firsts. He not only won his first DTM race, he did it as the youngest driver ever to win at just 19 years old plus he is the first Kiwi to do so. He also gave Ferrari their first win in their debut DTM race.

The race got underway in very summerlike temperatures of around 30 degrees centigrade at Monza, Italy with an Indy-style rolling start. This first race gave us some very close racing with paint being exchanged a number of times including between the BMW of Timo Glock and Dev Gore’s Audi which resulted in Gore’s retirement. Later in the race Daniel Juncadella in the GruppeM Mercedes-AMG was unable to avoid a minor collision with DTM regular, Nico Müller’s Audi resulting in the Audi spinning a full 360 degrees which lost him a few positions and giving Juncadella a time penalty.

Lawson Leads the Pack. Photo Credit: Hoch Zwei

Early in the race, DTM rookie, Vincent Abril led the pack and led well until he had to pitstop where Lawson managed to get past on Abril’s exit in turn one by the skin of his teeth. You could barely see daylight between the Mercedes-AMG of Abril and the Ferrari of Lawson as Lawson squeezed by to take the lead.

Formula 1 driver Alexander Albon piloted his AlphaTauri Ferrari brilliantly in his first DTM race from starting fourteenth to finishing fourth.

There was a great battle, watched by many, between the two female drivers of this season and the first since 2012, British driver Esmee Hawkey and German driver Sophia Flörsch. The pair fought hard throughout the race and it was the T3 Motorsport Lamborghini of Hawkey who came out ahead of Flörsch’s ABT Sportsline Audi.

SRX co-founder Tony Stewart wins inaugural dirt race at Knoxville

Tony Stewart, noted stock car and dirt track legend, can add winning in his own creation to his résumé after winning Saturday’s Camping World SRX Series race at Knoxville Raceway. The first dirt race for the young series, Stewart won a heat race before dominating the fifty-lap feature.

Heat races

SRX co-founder Stewart led much of the first heat while NASCAR Camping World Truck Series rookie Hailie Deegan, who was making a cameo appearance a day after her main series’ race at Nashville in place of Tony Kanaan due to scheduling conflicts, moved into second. Paul Tracy hit the wall with five minutes remaining to produce a caution, and Stewart continued to lead to the heat win.

Michael Waltrip spun after contact with local track champion Brian Brown, resulting in him finishing last but starting first for Heat #2. Hélio Castroneves led much of the race before a caution came out as the race had run too many green-flag laps (yes, SRX has a mandated yellow flag whenever a race hits a certain number of consecutive laps under green). Tracy produced another caution when he spun with less than a minute remaining to set up a green-white-checker finish. Castroneves and Scott Bloomquist led the field to the restart, with the latter—one of the most decorated dirt racers of all time—winning out. In an odd twist, Castroneves fell back to seventh as he did not understand the concept of GWC conditions, causing him to assume the checkered flag waved in conjunction with the green; such a concept is not used in Castroneves’ IndyCar Series home, where races typically end under yellow in the event of a late caution.

Heat #1 results

114Tony Stewart23
298Marco Andretti23
31Hailie Deegan23
42Ernie Francis Jr.23
513Paul Tracy23
69Bill Elliott23
721Brian Brown23
818Bobby Labonte23
93Hélio Castroneves23
1000Scott Bloomquist23
1117Willy T. Ribbs23
1215Michael Waltrip23

Heat #2 results

100Scott Bloomquist22
22Ernie Francis Jr.22
315Michael Waltrip22
414Tony Stewart22
51Hailie Deegan22
69Bill Elliott22
73Hélio Castroneves22
821Brian Brown22
918Bobby Labonte22
1098Marco Andretti22
1117Willy T. Ribbs22
1213Paul Tracy22


Stewart and Ernie Francis Jr. occupied the front row to begin the Feature. After the previous week’s season opener saw the Feature starting lineup set by Heat #2 results, SRX tweaked the format to have the Feature’s grid established by average finish between the two heats.

After a debris caution on lap four, Bloomquist moved up to second on the ensuing restart while Bill Elliott fell off the pace. Brown and Willy T. Ribbs brought out cautions of their own due to spins.