October Racing Update

October Racing Update

08 November 2019

We’re getting nearer and nearer to the end of 2019 and while some championships are still up for grabs, others have already been settled. Motorsport Live takes a look at what happened in the world of motorsport through October.

Formula 1

It was a case of East and West for Formula 1 as the championship took in events in Japan and Mexico. The sport's annual visit to Suzuka was disrupted by the presence of Typhoon Hagibis, prompting officials to reduce the track action to just Friday and Sunday. It meant a unique qualifying/race double come Sunday and it was Sebastian Vettel who sprung a surprise as Ferrari led a front-row lockout across one-lap, making a mockery of Mercedes' pace from two days beforehand.

Lewis Hamilton stands on the brink of title six

But a slow getaway from both drivers facilitated Valtteri Bottas' rise into the lead and from there the Finn was never headed as he claimed his third victory of the campaign, and first since April's Azerbaijan Grand Prix, with Vettel and Lewis Hamilton completing the podium. There was more disappointment for both Ferrari and home representative Honda as Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen clashed through the first corner, restricting Leclerc to sixth and leaving Verstappen out of the race due to damage.

Could Verstappen fight back at a venue where he had won in 2017 and 2018? That was the question on everyone's lips as Formula 1 surged through 14 time zones to the vibrantly chaotic Mexico City. Verstappen played down his prospects but come qualifying he set two laps fast enough for pole position - only to be deservedly stripped of the accolade after it was determined that he had sped under the yellow flags that was shown due to Bottas' hefty crash. That gave another front-row lockout to Ferrari, with Charles Leclerc ahead of Sebastian Vettel, but come the chequered flag it was Mercedes celebrating once more.

Valtteri Bottas dominated in Japan More pole positions, but no wins for Ferrari

The unexpected durability of the Hard tyre facilitated Hamilton's rise from third to first as he ran an aggressive strategy, ensuring he jumped the later-stopping Vettel and the two-stopping Leclerc. It was further impressive due to the grassy moment he encountered on the first lap after clashing with Verstappen, an incident that cost him seven seconds of race time due to the floor damage sustained. It means Hamilton just has to avoid relinquishing 22 points to Bottas at this weekend's United States Grand Prix and he will be World Champion for a sixth time.

MotoGP

In MotoGP Marc Marquez's coronation has been widely expected thanks to a remarkable season in which he has not finished a race outside of the top two. MotoGP headed to the Far East for its trio of rounds in Thailand, Japan and Australia, and at the first opportunity Marquez sealed an eighth world title and sixth in the premier class. A thrilling race-long duel with star rookie Fabio Quartararo was settled on the last lap in Marquez's favour, much to the Petronas Yamaha rider's frustration. It was another Marquez-Quartararo 1-2 at Motegi but this time around the World Champion delivered an emphatic victory on Honda's home soil that sealed the Manufacturers' title for the Japanese marque, in a year in which it has been largely reliant on the 26-year-old. Australia's Phillip Island produced typically cold and chilly weather, as well as a fantastic grand prix. An early nine-rider battle for honours featured some unexpected faces, such as Aprilia's Andrea Iannone, but eventually Marquez and Yamaha opponent Maverick Viñales pulled clear. Marquez edged ahead of Viñales and the latter's all-or-nothing attempt left him on the floor with a few corners to go as he pushed just that bit too hard. It meant Marquez took his fourth win on the bounce, and 10th of the season, as he chases the overall points record with trips to Malaysia and Valencia left in 2019.

Marquez is on a four-race unbeaten spell Formula E Testing in early October in Valencia

Formula E

While Formula 1 and MotoGP are entering the closing chapters of their 2019 campaigns Formula E is warming up for its sixth season - and with major new manufacturers in the fold. Mercedes and Porsche will join the likes of Audi, BMW and reigning champions Techeetah in the all-electric single-seater series, acting as another major boost following last season's success of the Gen2 package. Pre-season testing indicated that it will be another close campaign with multiple teams and drivers fighting for overall honours, prompting plenty to suggest that Jean-Eric Vergne will be given a tough challenge as he aims for a third successive title. Saudi Arabia will open the season on November 22/23 while Seoul and Jakarta join the roster, with London returning as the double-header finale at a new world-first outdoor/indoor circuit at the ExCeL centre.

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