Defending IZOD IndyCar Series champion Ryan Hunter-Reay is out of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach after crashing into the tire barriers at Turn 8 on Lap 49 of the 80 lap race.
Hunter-Reay was seeking to go to the inside of Ana Beatriz but carried too much speed into the corner and went into the tires. He will be credited with a 23rd place finish after winning the most recent IZOD IndyCar Series race two weeks ago at Barber Motorsports Park.
The American driver was already mired in the back after sustaining damage in an earlier incident that also involved Andretti Autosport teammates James Hinchcliffe and E.J. Viso, as well as Tony Kanaan. Hinchcliffe’s car came out the worst in the run-in at Lap 35 and the Canadian was knocked out of the race.
“Some of the corners that are my strongest were my weakest today,” Hunter-Reay told the NBC Sports Network when he got out of the car following his crash at Turn 8. “I started just trying things. We were in the back anyway. I had to go for it, and got inside of Ana, and I just drove in too hot. There was no grip on the inside there.
“I was just trying things — anything to make a bad day go a little bit better. But it just went from bad to worse. I feel bad for the guys. They gave me a great car all weekend. We just missed it today and I absolutely missed it out on the track.”
Carlos Sainz Jr.
Teams: Scuderia Toro Rosso (1-16), Renault (17-20)
Car No.: 33
Best Finish: P4 (Singapore)
Pole Positions: 0
Fastest Laps: 0
Championship Position: 9th
Carlos Sainz Jr. has always been compared to Max Verstappen given their relative rise and stint together at Toro Rosso, but the Spaniard began to forge his own impressive path through 2017, securing himself a works drive with Renault in the process.
Alongside the struggling Daniil Kvyat for much of the season, Sainz led Toro Rosso’s charge, scoring 48 of its 53 points with a string of impressive drives. His headline moment came in Singapore when he matched Verstappen’s best result in Toro Rosso colors by finishing fourth, capitalizing on the start-line crash and the wet weather with a strong display.
Sainz’s displays led to a call from Renault, who announced just two days before his star display in Singapore he would be joining up for 2018 on loan from Red Bull. However, the deal was accelerated after a deal was brokered to secure Jolyon Palmer’s departure, allowing Sainz to join up from the United States GP onwards.
Sainz made an immediate impression, completing a perfect race en route to seventh on debut for Renault to secure six points that would prove crucial in the final constructors’ championship standings as the French team beat Toro Rosso to P6 in the standings at the last race of the year.
Red Bull retains an option on Sainz’s future beyond 2018, making him a candidate for a seat with its senior team should Daniel Ricciardo opt to leave. Failing that, Renault could offer Sainz the platform he needs to continue his rapid rise in F1 and establish himself at the front of the pack for many years to come.
Season High: Finishing fourth in Singapore after dodging the start-line drama.
Season Low: Crashing out in his final Toro Rosso appearance on the first lap at Suzuka.