Five-time world champ ain’t fin­ished

THE MO­TOR­SPORT LAP/ Lewis Hamil­ton is aim­ing for more For­mula One ti­tles, as Yamaha fi­nally finds the top step of the Mo­toGP podium again

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

Lewis Hamil­ton has ad­mit­ted Michael Schu­macher’s all­time record of 91 For­mula One race wins and seven ti­tles are in his sights. The Mercedes driver won his fifth crown in Sun­day’s Mex­i­can Grand Prix, only the third man to reach that mile­stone after Ger­many’s Schu­macher and Ar­gentina’s Juan Man­ual Fan­gio.

“I’ve still got things to achieve, there are so many tar­gets, so many things ahead,” the Bri­ton told re­porters after fin­ish­ing fourth to take an unas­sail­able lead with two races re­main­ing.

The race was won by Red Bull’s Max Ver­stap­pen ahead of Fer­rari duo Se­bas­tian Vet­tel and Kimi Raikko­nen.

“Michael’s still quite far ahead in race wins so you have to say he is still the GOAT (great­est of all time),” said Hamil­ton.

“Fan­gio, I think, is the god­fa­ther and al­ways will be, from a driver’s per­spec­tive.”

Hamil­ton, 33, has won four of his ti­tles in the last five years and has a con­tract with cham­pi­ons Mercedes for two more years.

Mercedes are head­ing for their fifth suc­ces­sive con­struc­tors' ti­tle and will most likely again start as favourites in 2019.

Team boss Toto Wolff said on Sun­day that Hamil­ton was driv­ing bet­ter than ever. “As long as he is in a good car and he con­tin­ues to en­joy the way he is to­day I think there is more to come,” said the Aus­trian.

Hamil­ton has 71 For­mula One wins so far and has av­er­aged 10 a season for the past four years, putting him on track to match Schu­macher pro­vid­ing Mercedes con­tinue to de­liver a com­pet­i­tive car.

“There’s still a long way to go, but I’m here for a few more years, so I’m hop­ing that I can at least get close,” said the Bri­ton.

BACK TO WIN­NING WAYS

Spain’s Mav­er­ick Vi­nales made the most of an early re­tire­ment for world cham­pion Marc Mar­quez to bring an end to Yamaha’s long­est Mo­toGP win­less streak with a vic­tory in the Aus­tralian Grand Prix on Sun­day.

The 23-year-old gave the Ja­panese mar­que a first vic­tory in 26 races since the 2017 Dutch TT at Assen, hold­ing off a charg­ing An­drea Ian­none over the fi­nal cou­ple of laps to take the che­quered flag.

“It feels amaz­ing, it’s been such a dif­fi­cult year for me, I can’t be­lieve I’ve won,” Vi­nales said. “The bike was per­fect to­day. When I crossed the line, there were tears in my eyes.”

Ian­none fin­ished 1.543 sec­onds back to take sec­ond for Suzuki ahead of his fel­low Ital­ian An­drea Dovizioso, who did his chances of se­cur­ing sec­ond place in the rid­ers’ cham­pi­onship no harm by fin­ish­ing third on his Du­cati.

Mar­quez, who sewed up his fifth Mo­toGP ti­tle with three races to spare in Ja­pan last week­end, started on pole but lasted only five of the 27 laps in the race.

Jo­hann Zarco’s Tech3 Yamaha caught the back of the Spa­niard’s Honda go­ing into turn one and al­though the French­man es­caped a high-speed crash with­out se­ri­ous in­jury, the dam­age to Mar­quez’s bike brought an end to his race.

Vi­nales had dropped from sec­ond to 10th on the open­ing lap but worked his way back to the front and he grad­u­ally stretched his lead over the field to claim his fifth Mo­toGP win.

His team-mate Valentino Rossi, Dovizioso’s main ri­val for sec­ond place in the cham­pi­onship, fin­ished sixth be­hind Al­varo Bautista, who was stand­ing in for three-times world cham­pion Jorge Lorenzo on the fac­tory Du­cati. SA’s Brad Binder (KTM) won the Moto2 race, his third vic­tory of the season and strength­en­ing his third place in the cham­pi­onship.

LOEB WINS IN SPAIN

Se­bastien Loeb claimed his first World Rally Cham­pi­onship win since 2013 at last week­end’s Rally Spain.

The nine-time WRC cham­pion, mak­ing his last planned ap­pear­ance for Citroen of the season, won by 2.9 sec­onds from Ford’s Se­bas­tian Ogier in a down-to-the-wire fin­ish.

Ogier took over the cham­pi­onship lead from Hyundai’s Thierry Neuville, who dropped to fourth place after clip­ping a rock in the fi­nal stage and break­ing the right rear wheel. Ogier’s team-mate El­fyn Evans claimed third over­all.

With only the Novem­ber 15-18 Aus­tralian season fi­nale to come, Ogier now leads Neuville by just three points.

Gymkhana star and for­mer World Ral­ly­cross driver Ken Block rolled his Ford Fi­esta WRC out of the rally.

BOT­TER­ILL IS CHAMP

Toy­ota Ga­zoo Rac­ing SA’s Guy Bot­ter­ill won his fifth SA Rally ti­tle in a row after plac­ing sec­ond in last week­end’s Ermelo Rally.

Bot­ter­ill and nav­i­ga­tor Si­mon Vacy-Lyle, driv­ing a Toy­ota Etios, were locked in a tus­sle with Volk­swa­gen’s AC Pot­gi­eter and nav­i­ga­tor Nico Swartz, and the two crews started the event on the same points. But Pot­gi­eter’s chal­lenge faded early on, after he was forced to clock in late to stage two due to brake prob­lems on the open­ing stage, which re­quired ur­gent at­ten­tion. This gave the Toy­ota crew a handy mar­gin, which they main­tained through the re­main­der of the 15-stage rally.

Bot­ter­ill was pipped to the post by less than a sec­ond by Richard Leeke and El­vene Vonk in a Ford Fi­esta, but it was enough to clinch the ti­tle.

With this ti­tle added to their tally, Bot­ter­ill/Vacy-Lyle have now won two over­all SA Na­tional Rally ti­tles on the trot. How­ever, they have won a to­tal of five con­sec­u­tive front-wheeldrive ti­tles in a row, mak­ing them one of the most suc­cess­ful front-wheel-drive crews in the his­tory of South African ral­ly­ing.

GOLDEN OLDIES GEAR UP

With a month re­main­ing un­til the start of the South Africa His­toric Grand Prix Fes­ti­val, ex­cite­ment is grow­ing among en­trants and spec­ta­tors alike.

Re­cent out­ings for some of the cars at the Good­wood Re­vival will be their last un­til turn­ing a wheel again in anger in East Lon­don on Novem­ber 25.

More than 20 Grand Prix cars are en route to our shores for the his­toric re­u­nion of some of the ex­act cars that raced in the South African Grand Prix be­tween 1934 and 1939. Some of them are even win­ners of the race, in­clud­ing the in­au­gu­ral race-win­ning Maserati 8CM and the 1937-win­ning ERA.

Much of the orig­i­nal Prince Ge­orge Race Track in East Lon­don still ex­ists. The cars will re­trace the his­toric 17km cir­cuit in a pa­rade tak­ing place be­tween two short sprint races on the cur­rent track on Novem­ber 25. The road-go­ing cars will then tour to the Western Cape be­tween Novem­ber 26 and 30.

The event will cul­mi­nate in a two-day Grand Prix Gar­den Party at Val de Vie Es­tate, lo­cated be­tween Fran­schhoek and Paarl, where the pub­lic will have a fur­ther op­por­tu­nity to in­ter­act with th­ese cars on the es­tate’s polo fields. Sup­ported by sev­eral car man­u­fac­tur­ers and lo­cal clas­sic car clubs pre­sent­ing their most in­ter­est­ing cars, the event on De­cem­ber 1 and 2 prom­ises to be a clas­sic-car haven for en­thu­si­asts.

Also con­firmed for the event are a num­ber of Ri­leys, Bu­gat­tis, the Alfa Romeo Tipo B P3 from the 1936 race, a lo­cal As­ton Martin Ul­ster, and a brace of for­mer SA Grand Prix MGs, in­clud­ing the K3 that Dick Sea­man raced in the 1934 SAGP.

Lim­ited gen­eral ac­cess and VIP Hospi­tal­ity tick­ets for both the East Lon­don Race event and the Grand Prix Gar­den Party are avail­able for pur­chase at www.sahis­toricgp.com or fol­low the event on Face­book — SA His­toric Grand Prix Fes­ti­val.

Lewis Hamil­ton cel­e­brates claim­ing ti­tle num­ber five at Sun­day’s Mex­ico Grand Prix.

The Maserati 8CM, win­ner of the 1934 SA Grand Prix.

Guy Bot­ter­ill and Si­mon Vacy-Lyle clinch the SA Rally ti­tle in Ermelo.

Mav­er­ick Vi­nales ended Yamaha’s long win­less streak.

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