05 April 2019 21:43
March saw motorsport arrive back in earnest, with MotoGP and F1 kick-starting their new seasons, answering some tantalising pre-season questions and raising many more.
The World Endurance Championship continued its extended season, arriving into the iconic Sebring, and Formula E, having started back in December, continued to deliver racing action and new winners. We take a look at some of the key highlights…
F1 kicked off the start of the new season, with its first ever launch event. The special event at Melbourne’s Federation Square saw all drivers and team principals come together to meet fans, ahead of the notoriously action-packed opener at the fan-favourite Albert Park Circuit.
Ferrari having come into the weekend with the tag of favourites, were below par at the notoriously bumpy street circuit and instead it was Mercedes who surged to the top of the standings. Although Lewis Hamilton dominated every practice session and took pole, it was not the reigning World Champion who triumphed; instead team-mate Valtteri Bottas dominated the race to greet the chequered flag 20 seconds clear of the Briton, ending a drought that extended back to the 2017 season finale. The now Honda-powered Red Bull of Max Verstappen took the final podium ended the Japanese marque’s decade-long absence from the trophy-paying places.
Last weekend saw the circus arrive into Bahrain, and with it an immediate return of the Ferrari pace seen pre-season. Dominating all practice sessions, it was the fast charging Charles Leclerc that went on to edge out his four-time world champion team mate Sebastian Vettel in Practice 3, and subsequently went on to convert that into his maiden pole position in dominant style. The race itself saw a confident Leclerc lose his pole to Vettel, and slip behind Bottas also, before charging back to the front with two great overtakes by lap 6. Charging our front and looking like heading for a first dominant win, dramatically engine issues saw him lose power and 4-5seconds per lap. This saw him slip into the clutches of the Mercedes pair in 2nd and 3rd. Saved by a late safety car, due to the failures of both Renaults, Leclerc was saved a podium, but he was left to rue what could have been.
The midfield continues to remain as close as pre-season testing eluded. McLaren stand out as having made good progress. With Haas, Renault, Alfa Romeo, Racing Point, McLaren and Toro Rosso split by a handful of tenths, it will be intriguing how the midfield battle will evolve as the season progresses. Williams, fortunes from a chaotic pre-season, did not improve in Melbourne. Bahrain did not offer much respite, other than news that Sir Patrick Head was returning to the team as a consultant, to help transform their beleaguered form. F1 chalks up 1000 GPs in China, before moving to Azerbaijan just after Easter. Formula 1 will then arrive in Europe, and with it, undoubtedly a series of upgrades for all the teams. With ticket and hospitality options available for the whole European season and beyond, you could be there to see the action unfold with Motorsport Live. Find your ideal race here!
MotoGP teams have already raced beneath the lights in 2019 as Qatar’s Losail International Circuit hosted an enthralling season-opener that was a near-repeat of the 2018 event – and that’s no bad thing. A multi-bike battle for the victory was only decided at the chequered flag as Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso used the power of his engine to blast past reigning World Champion Marc Marquez and take the win by mere thousandths of a second – 0.023s to be precise! The entire top five – which included LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow, Suzuki’s Alex Rins and Yamaha legend Valentino Rossi – was covered by just six-tenths of a second, with close racing throughout the field as the riders battled for the points-paying positions. As the series moved to Argentina, it was Marquez that romped to a dominant victory, beating fan-favourite Valentino Rossi by a commanding 10second margin, who got the better of the Andrea Dovizioso in the final stages, to take his first podium, since last July. The presence of four different manufacturers within that top five points to an action-packed campaign ahead, the next chapter of which will be written at Austin’s Circuit of the Americas, before arriving in Europe, for the start of the European leg. For all MotoGP ticket options click here.
ABB FIA Formula E continued to put on a show as newcomer Stoffel Vandoorne took pole position in a rain-affected Hong Kong E-Prix but in race trim it was Edoardo Mortara who triumphed, but only after Sam Bird was given a post-race time penalty for causing a collision. With the title race wide open the field headed to the streets of Chinese city Sanya for the first time. Oliver Rowland secured a maiden pole, from a determined Jean-Eric Vergne, who went on win the race. The resultant triumph makes it six different polesitters and six different winners from the first five races, leaving the top six in the championship covered by just ten points. Can someone take a hold on the championship as we move into April? The racing arrives in Europe, with Rome next up. Motorsport Live has tickets available, as well for the upcoming Monaco and Berlin races. Click here to see all options available.
World Endurance Championship
The World Endurance Championship’s winter hiatus came to a close with the 1000 Miles of Sebring and Toyota once again controlled the race. Fernando Alonso, Sebastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima claimed their first win since the Le Mans 24 Hours, opening their points advantage over team-mates Mika Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and Jose Maria Lopez. The classic Spa-Francorchamps circuit is next up. Be there with Motorsport Live. To see all ticket options, click here.
Over in IndyCar the season began with a frenetic race around the streets of St. Petersburg and it was 2017 champion Josef Newgarden who piloted his Penske-run machine to the top of the pile, as his quest to wrestle back his title began in imperious fashion. The series moved to an inaugural race at Austin’s Circuit of the Americas for round two, and it was Colton Herta, at the tender age of 18, with a strong pace and perfect strategy saw him become the youngest winner of an IndyCar race.