Speedy Hamil­ton in a class of his own

THE MO­TOR­SPORT LAP/ This past week­end’s Ital­ian Grand Prix saw a shift in the cham­pi­onship stand­ings, with the Brit surg­ing ahead on record and in points

Business Day - Motor News - - MOTOR NEWS - Mo­tor News Reporter

Fol­low­ing his win at the Bel­gian Grand Prix, Lewis Hamil­ton (Mercedes-AMG) made it two in a row this past week­end at the Ital­ian Grand Prix held at the Monza race­track.

While the win saw Hamil­ton take the cham­pi­onship lead, it also marked him as the pole po­si­tion record holder (69 in to­tal), trounc­ing Michael Schumacher’s long­stand­ing record of 68 pole po­si­tions.

Hamil­ton qual­i­fied in first and fin­ished Sun­day’s race in the same or­der ahead of team-mate Valt­teri Bot­tas and Se­bastien Vet­tel (Scud­e­ria Fer­rari). This means Hamil­ton leads the cham­pi­onship by three points with 238, fol­lowed by Vet­tel on 235 and Bot­tas on 197 points.

It was also the 6 Hours of Mex­ico in the World En­durance Cham­pi­onship sea­son where Porsche con­tin­ued to dom­i­nate pro­ceed­ings. The LMP1 Porsche 919 hy­brid of Bern­hard, Hart­ley and Bam­ber took their third win of the sea­son. The vic­tory, which was Bern­hard and Hart­ley’s sec­ond win in a row in Mex­ico, saw the trio ex­tend their points lead to 41, with four races re­main­ing this sea­son.

In sec­ond place was the sec­ond Porsche 919 of Jani, Lot­terer and Tandy. They stayed with the sister car in the first phase of the race but lost mo­men­tum when they had to serve a driv­ethrough penalty af­ter Tandy was judged to have gone over the pit lane speed limit. Mean­while, the pair of Toy­ota Ga­zoo Rac­ing TS050 hy­brid cars strug­gled to match the Porsches’ pace in the high al­ti­tude, thus the team of Buemi, David­son and Naka­jima had to set­tle for third po­si­tion.

In the LMP2 class, the trio of Canal, Prost and Senna (Vailante Re­bel­lion Oreca) took the lau­rels ahead of the team of Lap­piere, Menezes and Ngrao (Sig­nat­ech Alpine Mat­mut Alpine A470) in sec­ond. Third went to the team of Rao, Han­ley, Vergne (CEFC Manor TRS Rac­ing Oreca 7).

Mean­while, the LMGTE Pro cat­e­gory saw the pair of Thiim and Sorensen (As­ton Martin Rac­ing Van­tage) fin­ish in first af­ter the Fer­rari 458 GTE of Rigon and Bird was given a 10sec­ond penalty for speed­ing un­der a full course yel­low cau­tion pe­riod, rel­e­gat­ing them to sec­ond even though they crossed the line first. Third place went to Li­etz and Makowiecki in their Porsche 911 RSR.

The re­sults of the LMGTE AM class saw the trio of Ried, Cairoli and Dienst fin­ish first in their Porsche 911 RSR ahead of the team of Dala Lana, Lamy and Lauda in their As­ton Martin V8 Van­tage. Third spot went to Wain­right, Barker and Foster in their Porsche 911 RSR. The next race will be the 6 Hours of Cota (Cir­cuit of The Amer­i­cas) in the US on Septem­ber 15.

Lo­cally, the Red Star Race­way near Del­mas hosted round nine of this year’s Ex­treme Fes­ti­val on Satur­day. The Volk­swa­gen Chal­lenge events saw vet­eran Iain Pep­per (Husq­varna Polo) take the open­ing race, lead­ing home Sti­aan Kriel (Span­jaard Polo), Wayne Crous (Del­way Polo), Waldie Mein­tjies (VW Polo) and Adrian Wood (Laser­fis­che Polo). Pep­per re­peated the win­ning per­for­mance in race two, this time ahead of Mein­tjies, Crous, Kriel and Wood.

Jonathan du Toit (TAR Honda Civic) took the first au­to­barn Su­perHatch race, nar­rowly ahead of Reno van Heer­den (Rem­ing­ton Peu­geot 206), Nic Martin (Rex Diff Opel Kadett) and An­dre’ Dannhauser (Pro Auto Opel Corsa). Du Toit led the sec­ond race from start to fin­ish, fol­lowed by Brett Gar­land (Au­to­bahn Honda Civic) in sec­ond and Tyler Scott (Lopec Opel 200T) round­ing off the podium.

Hein­rich de Villiers (VW Polo) won the first race for 111 Sport and Sa­loon Cars. He was chased to the flag by Lu­cas Bezuiden­hout (Pta North Toy­ota Lexus), Bjorn Ge­bert (Alfa GTV6 3,0) and Brent Hen­shaw (Toy­ota Cel­ica). In race two, Bezuiden­hout took the win, fol­lowed in sec­ond by Ge­orge Bezuiden­hout (Ni­co­lade Nis­san Primera) and Roan Eh­lers (FEC Polo) in third.

Lewis Hamil­ton leads the F1 cham­pi­onship af­ter his vic­tory at Monza.

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