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While still maintaining that McLaren is behind on pace compared to the other front-runners, Jenson Button is hopeful that he’ll have an advantage for race day on Sunday in Shanghai after utilizing the medium tires during the final round of Saturday’s qualifying sessions.
“All the guys in front will be starting on grained soft-compound tires, and I think we’re going to see the high-fuel graining on the soft [tires] that we saw in practice [Friday], so it’s going to be an extremely interesting race,” said Button, who will start alongside Toro Rosso’s Daniel Ricciardo in Row 4.
“The first 10 laps tomorrow are going to be eventful; if I can get a good start, I’ll hopefully be able to find some clear air in front of me, and then we’ll see what happens.”
Button’s slow timed lap of 2 minutes, 5.273 seconds in Q3 was by design in an attempt to make up spots on the grid during the aforementioned opening stint of the race.
“It’s such a difficult call,” Button explained. “The racer in you wants to go out…In Q2, we were relatively quick — P7 was a slight surprise, we were quicker than we expected. I felt we got everything out of the car.
“We went for the prime direction. It was a bit of cat and mouse at the end to see who actually does a lap.”
INDIANAPOLIS – Rather than the traditional December unveil, this year’s reveal newest likeness added to the Borg-Warner Trophy came Tuesday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum.
Takuma Sato got to see the result of the sculpting done by William Behrends and then turned from wax, clay and ceramic into sterling silver on Tuesday evening, as the winner of the 101st Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil saw his face revealed on the trophy.
Sato took the No. 26 Ruoff Home Mortgage Honda for Andretti Autosport to the win in thrilling fashion this year over Helio Castroneves, denying the Brazilian his fourth Indianapolis 500 victory in the process. It atoned for his near-miss in 2012, driving for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, the team he’ll return to in 2018.
It’s been a whirlwind last week-plus for Sato, doing the podium interviews at the Japanese Grand Prix, reflecting on his Indianapolis 500 triumph, then sharing the victory spoils with another Japanese pilot in Yoshihide Muroya, who won the Red Bull Air Race World Championship at Indianapolis this weekend.
Photos of Sato’s face on the most unique trophy in sports are below. This post will be updated following tonight’s full unveil. (All photos: Walt Kuhn)