Dixon’s still a Barber bridesmaid

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Scott Dixon has a rather sizable trophy case, which features a “Baby Borg” for his 2008 Indianapolis 500 win and two IZOD IndyCar Series championships. But the addition of a winner’s trophy from Barber Motorsports Park will have to wait another year.

For the fourth consecutive season, Dixon came up just one spot short at the Alabama road course. In 2010, he chased Helio Castroneves to the checkered flag. Then in 2011 and 2012, it was Will Power that kept him from the top spot on the podium. And today, it was Ryan Hunter-Reay who held him off in this year’s running in Alabama.

“Our car was very quick, but clearly I have to go out and buy a bridesmaid’s dress tonight,” said Dixon, who moved to second in the championship behind Helio Castroneves (who finished third in the race).

After qualifying fourth on Saturday, Dixon fell back a couple of spots while avoiding contact with Will Power at the start of the race. But he managed to hang around the top five and found himself sitting in third position after his final stop at Lap 65. Then on Lap 77 — one lap after Hunter-Reay had passed Castroneves for the lead — Dixon got by the Brazilian for second position and attempted to cut into RHR’s advantage.

Unfortunately for him, he could only halve it and lost out to Hunter-Reay by six-tenths of a second at the finish.

“Spending so much time in traffic, especially in the middle part of the race, hurt us,” said Dixon. “It left us with too much ground to make up after the final round of pit stops.”

Still, Dixon salvaged the day for Target Chip Ganassi Racing, whose other driver, Dario Franchitti, was forced to bow out after 42 laps due to a broken header on his machine.

Hamilton: Abu Dhabi ‘the last race with good-looking cars’ in F1

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Lewis Hamilton believes that this weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will be remembered as the last race with good-looking Formula 1 cars ahead of the introduction of the ‘Halo’ cockpit protection for next year.

Officials from the FIA and F1 Strategy Group confirmed earlier this year that the Halo would be fitted to all cars from the 2018 season in a bid to improve safety standards, with the deaths of Justin Wilson and Jules Bianchi putting head protection high on the agenda for the series’ chiefs.

Hamilton has long made his opposition to the Halo clear, believing it will ruin the look of F1 cars, and echoed his thoughts ahead of the final Halo-less race in Abu Dhabi this weekend.

“It’s the last year of looking good I think in the cars. It’s the last race where the cars will look good,” Hamilton said.

“I think next year, it’s all downhill from there in terms of how they look.

“But safety will go up at least, and maybe it could be successful in some way.”

Hamilton’s F1 title rival Sebastian Vettel was less bothered about the change, believing the field will adjust and move on.

“The cars will look different next year. Everything I’ve seen so far looks different, but on the other hand it is something we all get used to,” Vettel said.

“But no doubt the cars look better now, but we’ll get used to it, and we’ll work on the aesthetics so it can be better. It is less of a big deal.”

Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo shared Vettel’s view, saying: “I don’t think it’s gonna be as dramatic as most people make it out to be.”