30 HAMIL­TON MALAYSIAN DIS­AS­TER

SEPANG, MALAYSIA

Motor Sport News - - Top 50: Defining Moments -

WHEN: OCTOBER 2 WHERE:

If you dis­sected the F1 sea­son search­ing for the most defin­ing mo­ment of the year, you’d most likely stop at this one.

The mo­ment the ti­tle swung firmly to­ward the Ger­man side of the Mercedes garage, and there it re­mained, all be­cause of a sin­gle pesky bear­ing.

Lewis Hamil­ton was al­most home and dry, lead­ing the Malaysian GP by 20 sec­onds with just 15 laps to go, when it all went south.

That bear­ing in ques­tion – of the big-end va­ri­ety – failed, lead­ing to a loss of oil pres­sure, smoke, flames, and a de­spair­ing Hamil­ton cry­ing “oh no, no!” over the ra­dio.

What was cer­tain to be­come a slen­der cham­pi­onship lead for the Bri­tish star sud­denly be­came a gap­ing 23-point deficit with just five grands prix to go. Af­ter a win in Ja­pan, Ros­berg could af­ford to fin­ish sec­ond in each of the last four races and claim his maiden world ti­tle, and he did ex­actly that. RL

still don’t re­ally know who would have won that rally as the real times of the driv­ers was masked by re­ceiv­ing the bo­gey time.

It left a sour taste in the mouths of teams and driv­ers with fu­ture cham­pion El­fyn Evans la­bel­ing the event a joke.

The or­gan­is­ers apol­o­gised and hope­fully the is­sue will be cor­rected for next year. JB

If you hadn’t heard of Lando Nor­ris be­fore the start of the sea­son, he did his best through­out the year to make sure his was a fa­mil­iar name by the end of it.

Nor­ris con­tested FOUR cham­pi­onships in 2016, but showed no signs of fa­tigue as he went on to win three of them. Then 16, Nor­ris be­gan his year in the best pos­si­ble fash­ion by claim­ing the Toy­ota Rac­ing Se­ries crown, which in­cluded vic­tory in the pres­ti­gious New Zealand Grand Prix, and backed that up with the For­mula Re­nault Eurocup and NEC ti­tles.

That, plus his ex­ploits in the BRDC Bri­tish F3 Cham­pi­onship (where he won four races in four rounds) meant Nor­ris was an ob­vi­ous choice as a Mclaren Au­tosport BRDC Award fi­nal­ist. He duly capped his sea­son by win­ning the award – “stunning” the judges on some of his as­sess­ment runs. If you weren’t do­ing so in 2016, make sure you watch this space. JC

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