Lack of pace costs Fernando Alonso in Monaco

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Fernando Alonso has admitted that Ferrari simply did not have the pace in Monaco, as he lost ground to Sebastian Vettel at the top of the drivers’ championship.

Alonso, who has won in Monaco twice before, started the race in 6th and held position until the race was red flagged. He was then ordered by the FIA to hand his position to Sergio Perez after cutting the chicane to stay ahead, but battles with Jenson Button and Adrian Sutil saw him lose even more ground. Eventually, Alonso came home in 7th after Raikkonen and Perez both dropped back in the final few laps.

“With a bit of Perez’s car in our front-wing we lost a bit of aerodynamic performance in the last part of the race,” Alonso explained to Sky Sports. “Even in the first part of the race, when everything was normal, we just didn’t have the pace.

“We know to understand why it happened and when we are back to Canada then I hope that everything will be back to normal.”

Alonso was also in a reflective mood when tweeting after the race had finished.

“In Canada, we will come back to our best level! Very important points today,” he told his fans on his official account.

Ferrari will be pleased to have come away with some points in Monaco, yet they will be disheartened by the ever-growing gap to Vettel and Red Bull in both championships.

IndyCar 2017 driver review: Ed Carpenter

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MotorSportsTalk continues its annual review of the Verizon IndyCar Series drivers that raced in 2017. The 2017 season behind the wheel was better for Ed Carpenter than either of the last two years, but still wasn’t ideal results-wise in his six oval starts.

Ed Carpenter, No. 20 Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet

  • 2016: 25th Place (5 Starts), Best Finish 18th, Best Start 5th, 0 Top-5, 0 Top-10, 1 Lap Led, 11.2 Avg. Start, 21.8 Avg. Finish
  • 2017: 22nd Place (6 Starts), Best Finish 7th, Best Start 2nd, 0 Top-5, 1 Top-10, 5 Laps Led, 11.3 Avg. Start, 12.3 Avg. Finish

Ed Carpenter’s 2017 season was largely one of frustration, both behind the wheel and as a team owner.

While a respectable turnaround in results occurred – Carpenter finished between seventh and 12th in five of his six oval races after a nightmare season of ending 18th or worse in each of his 2016 starts – this is still not what he sets out to strive for in the races he does. Lost opportunities loomed larger than any official result he or the Ed Carpenter Racing team achieved.

Carpenter and new teammate JR Hildebrand, in for the departed Josef Newgarden, dominated preseason testing in Phoenix but Hildebrand could only muster third in the race, Carpenter a season-best seventh. Then at Indianapolis, Carpenter (second) and Hildebrand (sixth) flew the flag for Chevrolet in qualifying and practice pace, but they fell to 11th and 16th on race day owing to a front-wing change and late-race penalty for passing before a restart.

Both drivers got collected in incidents at Texas. Hildebrand qualified and finished a season-best second in Iowa but that result came only after the ECR crew rebuilt his car from a crash in practice. Then Carpenter had a practice crash in Pocono and despite a rapid rebuild, they missed the clock to qualify by mere minutes and were unable to do so. Carpenter’s spin on a slick Gateway track at the start of the race sent him over Will Power’s nose assembly in one of the scarier looking incidents of the year, although fortunately he was OK.

In a similar refrain as we often write, it’s not that Carpenter’s lost his ability to drive and he remains one of the series’ savviest and smartest people in the paddock. There have been a lot of extenuating circumstances of late, and it almost felt as though this team had “empty nest” components. Since September, Carpenter has had to secure his team’s future with a move away from its Speedway, Ind. shop, line up Spencer Pigot for a full-time drive replacing Hildebrand in the No. 21 car, find a new road/street course driver in the No. 20 car, and manage both driving and owning himself.