Provisional grid for the German Grand Prix

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Following an intense qualifying session at the Nurburgring yesterday, a period of relative clam came over the paddock on Saturday evening with just one change being made to the grid this morning.

Both Jenson Button and Nico Hulkenberg failed to set a time in Q3, allowing them a free choice of tire for the race later today. The top eight will start on the tire that they qualified on, with Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa opting for the prime (medium) tire. Otherwise, the frontrunners will all start on options.

The cars knocked out in Q1 and Q2 also get a free choice of starting tire.

Changes made to grid from qualifying

  • Charles Pic has received a five-place grid penalty for a gearbox change.

Provisional grid for the German Grand Prix

1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes
2 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull
3 Mark Webber Red Bull
4 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus
5 Romain Grosjean Lotus
6 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso
7 Felipe Massa Ferrari
8 Fernando Alonso Ferrari
9 Jenson Button McLaren
10 Nico Hulkenberg Sauber
11 Nico Rosberg Mercedes
12 Paul di Resta Force India
13 Sergio Perez McLaren
14 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber
15 Adrian Sutil Force India
16 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso
17 Valtteri Bottas Williams
18 Pastor Maldonado Williams
19 Jules Bianchi Marussia
20 Giedo van der Garde Caterham
21 Max Chilton Marussia
22 Charles Pic Caterham

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.