Sao Paulo flashback: 2010 season starts with a bang

Leave a comment

The start of the 2010 IZOD IndyCar Series season in Sao Paulo, Brazil was anything but a smooth one.

Prior to the race, the Sambadromo main straight on the all-new street circuit needed an overnight grinding job to provide more grip for the drivers; the repairs forced qualifying to be staged on race morning. Then, just after the green flag, a multi-car wreck ensued at Turn 1 and culminated with Brazilian racer Mario Moraes somehow driving up and onto the top of Marco Andretti’s machine.

No one was seriously injured in the accident, but it nonetheless set the tone for perhaps the craziest race of the campaign. On Lap 30, a short but powerful storm soaked the 2.5-mile Anhembi Park circuit, knocking out all communications for an extended period and eventually bringing out the red flag to stop the race.

Following a delay of 36 minutes, leaders Ryan Hunter-Reay and Will Power decided to go to slick tires to try and take advantage of a drying circuit. Dario Franchitti would inherit the lead at the restart on Lap 38, but would pit five laps later. That set up a battle between Hunter-Reay and Ryan Briscoe. Briscoe took the lead from Hunter-Reay on Lap 50 and the two would trade it over the next several laps until Briscoe locked up and went into the tire barriers at Turn 7 on Lap 54 to bring out a full-course caution.

The green came back at Lap 56 — and more importantly, with six minutes remaining in the event — but Hunter-Reay was unable to hang on as Power passed him in the Turn 11 hairpin on Lap 58. That would prove to be the winning moment, as the Australian pulled away to a 1.85-second victory (Lap 61).

Power, who was making his first start since breaking two vertebrae in a practice crash the year before at Sonoma Raceway, would later call the event “probably the most mixed-up race that [he had] ever been in.”

Nonetheless, it was a highly memorable affair for the Brazilian fans, who proved their heartiness by waiting out the storms in the stands. They were rewarded with a wild race and a third-place showing from countryman Vitor Meira, who beat out another Brazilian, Raphael Matos, for the final spot on the podium.

Catch this year’s Sao Paulo Indy 300 on Sunday, May 5 at 11 a.m. ET on the NBC Sports Network, and NBC Sports Live Extra for your online and mobile devices.

F1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on NBCSN, NBC Sports App this week

Getty Images
Leave a comment

After five years and 98 Grands Prix broadcast since 2013, NBC Sports Group’s coverage of Formula 1 concludes with the 2017 season finale from Abu Dhabi at the Yas Marina Circuit this week.

The lights come on for the day-into-night Grand Prix of the year as the sun sets on five years of broadcasts, original content and additional digital specific features such as Paddock Pass.

For Abu Dhabi this week, all of the race, qualifying and second free practice will be live on NBCSN with first and third free practice live on the NBC Sports App. The race returns is back in the usual morning a.m. time slots after three mid-day races in Austin, Mexico City and Sao Paulo, and a pair of overnight affairs in Kuala Lumpur and Suzuka. Formula 2 coverage of its season finale from Abu Dhabi also airs both on NBCSN and online.

With this the final race of the season before F1’s winter break, there’s still a handful of things to get sorted even though Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes have wrapped their respective championships.

Sebastian Vettel (Brazil) and Max Verstappen (Mexico) have won the last two races, with Hamilton’s most recent win coming at Circuit of the Americas. Will it be any of these three that wrap the year on a high or could any of their teammates – Kimi Raikkonen, Daniel Ricciardo or Valtteri Bottas – upend the script?

Mercedes has won the last three races in Abu Dhabi, Hamilton winning in 2014 and 2016 with Nico Rosberg taking the 2015 crown.

Vettel and Hamilton have three wins apiece in Abu Dhabi, Vettel having taken all of his with Red Bull in 2009, 2010 and 2013, and Hamilton adding a 2011 McLaren triumph to his last two with Mercedes. Raikkonen (2012, Lotus) and Rosberg are the other Abu Dhabi winners, and while both Vettel and Raikkonen have won in Abu Dhabi, Ferrari never has in the first eight races here.

The last place up for grabs in the constructor’s battle is for sixth, with Toro Rosso (53 points), Renault (49) and Haas (47) separated by only six total points. Toro Rosso and Renault got into a nasty war of words in Brazil, and will part ways after the weekend.

Felipe Massa signs off his career in F1 for the second and expected final time at Williams, and with Toro Rosso having confirmed Pierre Gasly and Brendon Hartley last week, his seat is one of only three left to fill for 2018, and the most attractive.

McLaren and Honda also bring to an end their partnership after three troubled seasons, but on the bright side will look to score points for a third straight race together, which hasn’t happened since the Hungarian, German and Belgian Grands Prix of 2016.

As ever, and perhaps for the final time as a collective unit, Leigh Diffey, David Hobbs and Steve Matchett will be on the call with Will Buxton reporting from the pits and paddock.

Here’s the F1 schedule, with stream links and TV network if applicable:

  • Practice 1: Friday, Nov. 24, 4 a.m.-5:30 a.m. ET (Streaming)
  • Practice 2: Friday, Nov. 24, 8 a.m.-9:30 a.m. ET (NBCSN)
  • Practice 3: Saturday, Nov. 25, 5 a.m.-6 a.m. ET (Streaming)
  • Qualifying: Saturday, Nov. 25, 8 a.m.-9:30 p.m. ET (NBCSN)
  • Pre-Race: Sunday, Nov. 26, 7 a.m.-8 a.m. ET (NBCSN)
  • Race: Sunday, Nov. 26, 8 a.m.-10 a.m. ET (NBCSN)
  • Post-Race: Sunday, Nov. 26, 10 a.m.-10:55 a.m. ET (NBCSN)
  • Race (Replay): Sunday, Nov. 26, 7 p.m.-9 p.m. ET (NBCSN)
  • F2 Race: Sunday, Nov. 26, 6 a.m.-7 a.m. ET (NBCSN)
  • F2 Race (Replay): Sunday, Nov. 26, 9 p.m.-10 p.m. ET (NBCSN)