UPDATE (10:35 a.m. ET): Katherine Legge will have a chance to qualify for this year’s Indianapolis 500 after all. She’ll take the reins of the third entry under the Sam Schmidt Motorsports stable, the second with the Schmidt Peterson designation along with rookie Tristan Vautier in the No. 55 car. Simon Pagenaud is in the Schmidt Hamilton No. 77 car.
Per a tweet from Indianapolis Star reporter Curt Cavin, Legge will roll out in the renumbered No. 81 car. The attempt will be Legge’s second at the Indianapolis 500, and provide a 34th entry to the field of 33 – which means there will be bumping on Bump Day.
Raining. But @katherinelegge has been confirmed to the No. 81 car. Yep, Schmidt’s car is changing from its No. 99. #Indy500
From the “things that make you go hmmm…” department, Katherine Legge might have a last minute chance with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports to hop in the currently TBA No. 99 Honda the team has entered for the Indianapolis 500.
Legge is a viable option for a last-minute entry because as a driver who raced the new Dallara DW12 at Indianapolis last year, she would not need to take a refresher course. Buddy Lazier and Pippa Mann have had to do that this week. Dragon Racing dropped Legge on the fortnight before the 2013 season opener for Sebastian Saavedra.
Legge has spent the week at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway pounding the pavement with helmet in hand, looking for any opportunity to find a ride for what would be her second 500 start. She sent tweets out Thursday night of a positive degree regarding her Indianapolis prospects.
“I will go to sleep tonight with everything crossed for some good news tomorrow re my 500 chances!…,” she wrote. “I am doing all I can, and I am super grateful for the help and support of some great people I am proud to call friends…”
The vacant entry is the only conceivable 34th car, and would be a 17th Honda powerplant to match the 17 Chevrolets. Legge spent last weekend racing the DeltaWing car in the American Le Mans Series in Monterey, Calif. Former Indianapolis 500 champion Buddy Rice has been linked to the ride, but has turned it down.
The aftermath of the Chinese Grand Prix has centered around Red Bull Racing and its two drivers, Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen.
While Ricciardo has garnered praise at every turn for a masterful drive from sixth to first in the second half of the race, Verstappen has again come under criticism for overzealous driving in the wake of contact with Scuderia Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel.
A recap of the past news week for the FIA Formula 1 World Championship, and the attention both Ricciardo and Verstappen have garnered, is below.
Ricciardo Surfaces as Outside Title Contender After Chinese Grand Prix Win
Prior to the Chinese Grand Prix, few would have labelled Ricciardo as a possible title contender, especially in the wake of a mechanical failure in the opening laps of the Bahrain Grand Prix.
However, Sunday’s victory in China not only provided a number of thrills for onlookers, it also gave Ricciardo a major boost of confidence, and he asserted afterwards that he thinks a championship push is possible.
“I really feel like, I’ve said a few times, just give me the chance to be in a title hunt and I really believe I will take it,” Ricciardo said in a piece posted on Crash.net. “I feel like I can capitalize on opportunities and I guess [China] was a good example even with a fat lip I am still pretty fast and pretty good on a Sunday.”
The victory also comes at an interesting time in Ricciardo’s career, as the 2018 season is the final one in his current contract with the Red Bull team. On the market for a new contract, Ricciardo mentioned that he’s seeking a two-year deal with whichever team he signs with.
“I don’t want to sign anything too long because I don’t know where the sport’s going,” Ricciardo said in an interview with The Times newspaper.
He added, “Ideally, I’d sign a two-year contract. I think two years I can definitely be comfortable with and then see it from there. That third year will be the rule change so I will probably wait and see what happens then.”
Ricciardo also added that whether or not he returns to Red Bull is entirely down to the team’s performance this year.
“I kind of feel like if they want me to race for them they should contact me, but they haven’t,” he said. “If we win this year then I’m staying with Red Bull. It’s pretty simple. It’s really just about performance at the moment.”
Jos Verstappen Offers Constructive Criticism to Max
Max Verstappen has again come under fire for overzealous driving, and not just from rivals this time.
Perhaps most notably, Max’s father Jos Verstappen, a former Formula 1 driver in his own right, offered his thoughts this past weekend, asserting that Max needs to show more patience and a little better judgment in his overtaking moves.
“The overtake on Vettel really wasn’t on. It wasn’t possible. It was an error of judgement. In some circumstances Max just has to think more,” Jos told Ziggo Sport’s Peptalk, referenced in a Crash.net story.
However, Jos also praised his son’s driving style, noting that he hopes that part doesn’t change.
“I don’t want him to change his driving style. He passed two people at the start. He did that perfectly,” he added. “That’s what we all want to see. But we don’t want to see these kinds of actions. He needs to have it under control. He needs to think.”
In addition to receiving a 10-second penalty for the incident, Verstappen also received two penalty points, bringing his total to five. A driver who gets 12 penalty points within a span of 12 months is automatically given a one-race ban.
Rubens Barrichello Recovering from Brain Tumor
Rubens Barrichello has revealed that he was diagnosed with a brain tumor earlier this year after collapsing in the shower.
“Suddenly I felt a sharp pain in my head. It seemed to be exploding, I had to fall on the ground and only after a few minutes I managed to reach my wife Silvana to ask for help. I immediately realized that it was a serious problem,” Barrichello said of the ordeal in an emotional interview.
Barrichello, whose health has appeared to improve in recent weeks, revealed that the recovery process has been nothing short of miraculous.
“I feel like a miracle,” he said. “(The doctors) told me that only 14 percent of the people who suffered this type of problem then managed to recover completely.
“I am still going through exams and so on, but I am honestly great and the difficulties in life are the ones who show us how to grow and how to be better.”