Kanaan: “I don’t think you can pick a favorite yet”

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Despite Andretti Autosport’s sweep of the front row for tomorrow’s Pocono IndyCar 400, KV Racing Technology’s Tony Kanaan isn’t ready to concede anything.

“It’s a 400-mile race,” said Kanaan, who will start fifth in the middle of Row 2. “The Andretti guys were strong for the entire season. If you look at their Indy 500 effort, I don’t expect anything less. I don’t think I had anything for [Marco Andretti] today for pole.

“I don’t think you can pick a favorite yet. They did a great job putting three cars in the top three. But it’s a 400-mile race.”

Kanaan is looking to continue his bid for the Triple Crown with a victory tomorrow after winning the Indianapolis 500 this past May. An interesting wrinkle was added earlier this week for the remaining Triple Crown events at Pocono and Fontana in October, which will see three-wide starts.

The Brazilian believes that Pocono’s large frontstretch will be more than adequate in accommodating the start, but nonetheless maintains that everyone will need to take care of each other at the drop of the green flag.

“We only do it once per year,” said Kanaan, alluding to the three-abreast starts at Indy. “Being in a 400-mile race, I hope we respect each other. This straightaway, it’s longer than Indy. It’s wide. I don’t see a problem doing it. But it’s definitely going to be different. We can’t get greedy. We have to respect each other. It’s going to be difficult.

“My boss tells me all the time – that’s why I get paid the big bucks.”

Verstappen doesn’t want F1 season to end after recent run of form

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Max Verstappen says he is not ready for the 2017 Formula 1 season to come to an end after enjoying a run of strong form through the closing stages of the campaign.

Verstappen endured a rocky run of form through to the end of the European season that saw him suffer a number of reliability issues and score just a single podium finish, taking third in China back in April.

However, the Dutchman has rallied to score more points than any other driver in the last five races, including victories in Malaysia and Mexico, as well as a podium finish in Japan.

Verstappen heads into next weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix chasing a third win of the year to sign off, but joked he does not want the season to end just as he’s got into a good groove.

“We will, of course, try and end the season with a strong result in Abu Dhabi,” Verstappen said. “Last year was actually quite a good race after skipping a pit stop following a spin at Turn 1, it was hard to manage the tires to the end of the race but we did it and finished fourth.

“I would say that my favorite part of the track is at Turns 2 and 3, the fast left, right. It’s also very cool driving underneath the hotel and racing in the darkness with all the lights.

“The final sector at Yas Marina is actually quite technical so you have to be really precise there, but it should also be our strongest part of the track.

“There are quite a few overtaking opportunities to make the race interesting, before the long straight at the hairpin and then at the end of the straight under braking for the next chicane section.

“Abu Dhabi is the last race on the calendar, but I don’t actually want the season to end. I’m really fired up at the moment and I just want to keep going.

“The nice thing will be to spend some time with friends and family over the winter break and then I will look ahead to January and get back into training before it all starts again.”