Takuma Sato is the man of the moment, on-track, in IndyCar. And as such, any door for a Formula One comeback is all but certainly closed for him.
Sato reflected Tuesday on his years in F1 when asked whether there was any “unfinished business” for him there. Despite being close to several deals when the Super Aguri team folded in 2008, there were no further starts for him after that happened.
“It was a really sad moment for everyone, for the sport and for the team and for the members, but it was an unfinished job in F1 for me. So I tried to come back in F1 for nearly two seasons,” said Sato.
“I had a huge opportunity with the Toro Rosso team, but unfortunately at the end of the day for some reason that didn’t happen; that was a really shocking moment. Then after that, as well, I had a little opportunity but it just didn’t happen.”
Sato came to IndyCar in 2010, first with Jimmy Vasser’s team, and hasn’t looked back.
“Formula One isn’t the only racing,” he said. “I had a great opportunity to come here with Jimmy. And since then, my focus is 100 percent in Indy.
“And my first focus is to win races here, win the ‘500’ and win the championship. It’s all sort of growing up, and now a lot of momentum and a lot of – how can I say – it’s the target that I want to do.”
Valtteri Bottas is confident of scoring a good result in tomorrow’s Russian Grand Prix after qualifying third at the Sochi Autodrom on Saturday.
Bottas finished as the ‘best of the rest’ in Q3 behind the leading Mercedes duo of Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton, beating the Ferrari drivers to secure P3 for the start of tomorrow’s race.
After a difficult run of form, Bottas believes that he can capitalize on this good qualifying result and make the most of the Williams car’s suitability to the track in Sochi.
“It was a strong job by the team today,” Bottas said. “We managed to set-up the car well and maximize our performance.
“I felt very good in the car all day and managed to get in a rhythm quickly and put in consistent lap times despite the limited number of laps we had completed in practice.
“Tomorrow is where it really matters but I have put myself in a very good position to capitalize.”
Bottas’ teammate, Felipe Massa, was less impressive in qualifying as a mistake and traffic caused him to drop out in Q2, finishing P15.
“I made a mistake at turn eight in my first timed lap in Q2, and then in my final two attempts I came up against a lot of traffic which lost me a lot of time,” Massa explained.
“On my final run my tires were gone at the rear and that was the end of my chances. It’s a shame and I’m very disappointed, but I have a quick car around here so we need to have a good strategy and use our pace to move up into the points tomorrow.”
The Russian Grand Prix is live on NBCSN and Live Extra from 6:30am ET on Sunday.
Alexander Rossi claimed his third win in as many GP2 Series rounds in Saturday’s feature race at the Sochi Autodrom.
Since winning the last feature race at Monza in Italy, Rossi has made his Formula 1 debut with Manor and also raced for the team at the iconic Suzuka Circuit in Japan.
As part of his deal with Manor, Rossi has returned to GP2 for this weekend’s round in Russia as he bids to finish as runner-up to impending series champion Stoffel Vandoorne.
Vandoorne was expected to be crowned champion on Saturday, but Rossi managed to delay the Belgian’s celebrations by storming to victory as darkness forced officials to shorten the race.
Carnage on the first lap saw four drivers retire from the race, with damage caused to the barrier at turn 3 by Jordan King resulted in a 30 minute red flag delay.
Once the race restarted, a shortened distance of 15 laps was confirmed, but full points were still to be awarded.
Pole-sitter Alex Lynn managed to pull clear through the first stint, and after falling behind Rossi in the first round of pit stops, the DAMS driver regained the advantage soon after.
However, when Lynn crashed out, Rossi was able to pull clear of the chasing Pierre Gasly and Vandoorne just behind to record his third win in as many race weekends by three seconds.
Rossi will start tomorrow’s sprint race from eighth place on the grid which is reversed, handing pole to Frenchman Arthur Pic who finished P8 on Saturday.
You will be able to read all about Alexander’s success in his exclusive NBC Sports blog on Wednesday. To read his pre-Sochi thoughts, click here.