Mercedes to keep foot on throt­tle

THE MOTORSPORT LAP/ The Sin­ga­pore Grand Prix this past week­end gave Mercedes-AMG’s Lewis Hamil­ton a fur­ther lead in the cham­pi­onship, writes Ler­ato Matebese

Business Day - Motor News - - MOTOR NEWS -

His­tor­i­cally some­what of a “bo­gey track” for the Mercedes-AMG F1 team, it seems the tide has changed this sea­son with cur­rent cham­pi­onship leader Lewis Hamil­ton having put in a ster­ling qual­i­fy­ing lap, which he also man­aged to trans­late into an em­phatic race win at this past week­end’s Sin­ga­pore Grand Prix.

This has given the Brit a 40point cham­pi­onship lead with six more races to go this sea­son, but as that clas­sic adage goes — it’s not over un­til it’s over – and this seems to be the mantra that the team will ap­proach in the next six races.

“Forty points’ ad­van­tage or zero makes no dif­fer­ence to us,” says Mercedes-AMG F1 team boss Toto Wolff. “It’s six week­ends to go. You can see like in Aus­tria, we had a dou­ble DNF, how quickly it goes, and you are los­ing 25 points. In so far, we just have to look week­end by week­end and try to per­form at our best and it’s only won when it’s won. There are mar­ginal gains that will de­ter­mine the out­come of this cham­pi­onship, be­cause on per­for­mance lev­els, we are very close. So we have to keep the foot on the throt­tle and try to avoid mis­takes and con­tinue to de­velop the car,” he says.

As­ton Martin Red Bull Rac­ing’s Max Ver­stap­pen put in quite a de­cent race week­end having qual­i­fied sec­ond over­all and fin­ish­ing the race in the same po­si­tion ahead of Fer­rari’s Se­bas­tian Vet­tel who went into the race as a firm favourite and qual­i­fied and fin­ished the week­end race in third spot over­all.

The next race is the Rus­sian Grand Prix on Septem­ber 30 and each team will need to bring their A-game and keep their wits about them to bring home those much-needed points. Hope­fully the cham­pi­onship will once again go down to the wire as things get rather in­ter­est­ing lead­ing to the last few races.

Mean­while, the Turkey round of the 2018 WRC (World Rally Cham­pi­onship) took place this past week­end where Toy­ota Ga­zoo Rac­ing’s Ott Tanak romped to the top of the time sheets and claimed vic­tory at what was a tough race due to a high at­tri­tion rate, which im­pacted on the cars.

This marks Tanak’s hat-trick of event wins to move up to sec­ond place in the drivers’ stand­ings and close to 13 points be­hind leader Thierry Neuville (Hyundai i20) who had an event­ful race where an un­for­tu­nate mis­cal­cu­la­tion re­sulted in an im­pact that saw him pick up some sus­pen­sion dam­age and a punc­ture, which re­sulted in a race re­tire­ment.

In sec­ond spot, Jari-Matt Lat­vala (Toy­ota Ga­zoo Rac­ing) man­aged to keep the nose of his car point­ing in the right di­rec­tion, while Hayden Pad­don (Hyundai i20) rounded up the podium, his first of the sea­son.

FORTY POINTS’ AD­VAN­TAGE OR ZERO MAKES NO DIF­FER­ENCE TO US

Mercedes’ Lewis Hamil­ton was vic­to­ri­ous at last week­end’s Sin­ga­pore Grand Prix.

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