Andretti Autosport goes 0-for-Fast Six for first time in 2013

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Here’s one for you: name the last race before the Honda Indy Toronto race one where all of Andretti Autosport’s cars missed the Firestone Fast Six.

If you guessed any race this year, you’re wrong. The last time the last round of IZOD IndyCar Series qualified didn’t have any of the fearsome foursome, Ryan Hunter-Reay, James Hinchcliffe, Marco Andretti or E.J. Viso, was Sonoma in 2012.

Hunter-Reay will start sixth as a result of James Jakes’ engine change penalty, but had his charge on Friday halted again, ironically, by Takuma Sato. Sato contacted “RHR” in the pits last week at Pocono, costing the defending series and race champion pivotal points. Friday, during Q2 of IndyCar’s knockout qualifying, Sato’s contact with the Turn 1 wall cost Hunter-Reay the chance to improve his fastest lap.

“It’s frustrating. We had a great car today; we led the first practice,” said Hunter-Reay. “I’d like to thank the guys, the crew on the No. 1 DHL team for giving me a great car. I’d like to thank (Takuma) Sato for knocking us out of the session again today. It’s unfortunate, but we’ll be fighting again tomorrow, we’ll be fighting again on Sunday.”

Andretti will start 10th, while Hinchcliffe and Viso failed to advance out of Q1 and will start alongside each other on Row 7.

“You always want to do your laps in the end, but I’m sure I’m in the same boat as everyone else, so I can’t use that final red flag as an excuse,” said an introspective Andretti. “We tried something for the second qualifying round that didn’t really help, so it’s a bummer for the Dr Pepper crew.

“I think the race tomorrow will come down to attrition,” he added. “Mistakes will be made during the race, but hopefully not from us. Hopefully there isn’t too much carnage, but there might be with the first standing starts. I think the fans are going to be in for a good show.”

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.”