James Hinchcliffe

Hinchcliffe vents about doubleheaders, but is he right?


Perhaps it was just venting in the face of an emotional, challenging weekend in front of his home fans. Or perhaps, he had a point.

Either way, James Hinchcliffe was not a happy camper in the aftermath of this weekend’s Honda Indy Toronto doubleheader weekend. Scott Dixon swept the weekend and Hinchcliffe had one eighth place, and a second race to forget after needing to fix a stuck throttle at the outset.

“I don’t think anybody likes them,” he told Wheels.ca after the race. “You have to have double-headers at all of them or none of them. I’ve said that since they announced these things. It’s not a fair way to do it.

“Nobody in the series will ever warm up to these,” he added. They’re too hard on the drivers, they’re too hard on the teams. You get so little practice, it’s so tough to get the car set up right.”

Hinchcliffe followed that line of thinking with a line that “it’s not about us,” and that if the fans want to see it and buy more tickets, then they need to try to way to make it work.

He’s not alone in questioning the doubleheader format. Earlier this year, in an exclusive interview with MotorSportsTalk, racing legend Mario Andretti said he personally wasn’t a fan of doubleheaders heading into Detroit.

“You want to have just one main event,” he told me.

Judging by the attendance, and particularly the increased Saturday attendances at both Detroit and Toronto, the promoters have to be happy with the financial increases. But what are some ways forward for IndyCar to modify or enhance the doubleheader weekend format?

More importantly, is Hinchcliffe right? Or was it just sour grapes because his Andretti Autosport, which has been on target the rest of 2013, missed the setup this weekend? Sound off in the comments.

Bottas confident after strong qualifying in Sochi

SOCHI, RUSSIA - OCTOBER 10:  Valtteri Bottas of Finland and Williams drives during qualifying for the Formula One Grand Prix of Russia at Sochi Autodrom on October 10, 2015 in Sochi, Russia.  (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)
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Valtteri Bottas is confident of scoring a good result in tomorrow’s Russian Grand Prix after qualifying third at the Sochi Autodrom on Saturday.

Bottas finished as the ‘best of the rest’ in Q3 behind the leading Mercedes duo of Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton, beating the Ferrari drivers to secure P3 for the start of tomorrow’s race.

After a difficult run of form, Bottas believes that he can capitalize on this good qualifying result and make the most of the Williams car’s suitability to the track in Sochi.

“It was a strong job by the team today,” Bottas said. “We managed to set-up the car well and maximize our performance.

“I felt very good in the car all day and managed to get in a rhythm quickly and put in consistent lap times despite the limited number of laps we had completed in practice.

“Tomorrow is where it really matters but I have put myself in a very good position to capitalize.”

Bottas’ teammate, Felipe Massa, was less impressive in qualifying as a mistake and traffic caused him to drop out in Q2, finishing P15.

“I made a mistake at turn eight in my first timed lap in Q2, and then in my final two attempts I came up against a lot of traffic which lost me a lot of time,” Massa explained.

“On my final run my tires were gone at the rear and that was the end of my chances. It’s a shame and I’m very disappointed, but I have a quick car around here so we need to have a good strategy and use our pace to move up into the points tomorrow.”

The Russian Grand Prix is live on NBCSN and Live Extra from 6:30am ET on Sunday.

GP2: Rossi victorious again in shortened Sochi opener

2015 GP2 Series Round 9. Sochi Autodrom, Sochi, Russia. 
Saturday 10 October 2015. 
Alexander Rossi (USA, Racing Engineering) celebrates his win on the podium.
Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Series Media Service. 
ref: Digital Image _SBL3610
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Alexander Rossi claimed his third win in as many GP2 Series rounds in Saturday’s feature race at the Sochi Autodrom.

Since winning the last feature race at Monza in Italy, Rossi has made his Formula 1 debut with Manor and also raced for the team at the iconic Suzuka Circuit in Japan.

As part of his deal with Manor, Rossi has returned to GP2 for this weekend’s round in Russia as he bids to finish as runner-up to impending series champion Stoffel Vandoorne.

Vandoorne was expected to be crowned champion on Saturday, but Rossi managed to delay the Belgian’s celebrations by storming to victory as darkness forced officials to shorten the race.

Carnage on the first lap saw four drivers retire from the race, with damage caused to the barrier at turn 3 by Jordan King resulted in a 30 minute red flag delay.

Once the race restarted, a shortened distance of 15 laps was confirmed, but full points were still to be awarded.

Pole-sitter Alex Lynn managed to pull clear through the first stint, and after falling behind Rossi in the first round of pit stops, the DAMS driver regained the advantage soon after.

However, when Lynn crashed out, Rossi was able to pull clear of the chasing Pierre Gasly and Vandoorne just behind to record his third win in as many race weekends by three seconds.

Rossi will start tomorrow’s sprint race from eighth place on the grid which is reversed, handing pole to Frenchman Arthur Pic who finished P8 on Saturday.

You will be able to read all about Alexander’s success in his exclusive NBC Sports blog on Wednesday. To read his pre-Sochi thoughts, click here.