VIDEO: Nico Rosberg pleased with 4th in qualifying

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Nico Rosberg believes that qualifying 4th for the Hungarian Grand Prix is a good result considering that Mercedes have been focusing on their race pace at the Hungaroring.

With temperatures expected to exceed 100ºF tomorrow in Hungary, Mercedes are expected to suffer from the same issues that saw Rosberg and Hamilton squander good qualifying results in Bahrain and Spain. However, Rosberg believes that the heat will in fact play into Mercedes’ hands on race day.

“Our speed was a bit of a surprise today as the car set-up work was focused on good race pace this weekend,” Rosberg said in a statement from Mercedes. “But it worked quite well in the hot temperatures. It’s great for the team to be starting from fourth and pole position. I hope we can have a good start even though I’m on the dirtier side of the grid.”

Rosberg also explained how a problem with the car prevented him from challenging for the front row on Saturday.

“Qualifying did not go perfectly for me at the end, it didn’t help that my brake balance adjuster got stuck, so I couldn’t change it around the lap. That cost me a little, but the pole wasn’t possible today. Now we look forward to tomorrow and I’m confident that we look better in the hot conditions than in the previous race.”

Rosberg’s teammate, Lewis Hamilton, will start on pole position following a fine performance in qualifying today.

Marco Andretti confident that fewer tests won’t hurt Andretti Autosport

Photo: IndyCar
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A small point of debate around the 2018 aero kit has been the manufacturer test days that took place through the Fall of 2017 and into the beginning of 2018. Chiefly, the debate has centered around teams who hadn’t participated in those manufacturer test days and if they’re starting the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series season at a disadvantage as a result.

Team Penske, Ed Carpenter Racing, and A.J. Foyt Racing completed test days for Chevrolet, with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports and Chip Ganassi Racing doing so for Honda.

That left teams like Andretti Autosport out of the mix, with some voicing concerns as a result.

However, in a press conference during testing at ISM Raceway last weekend, Marco Andretti explained that he thinks Andretti Autosport should be able to catch up on development, citing the team’s resources – they’re the only IndyCar team with four full-time cars in their stable – and the fact that everyone is still adapting to the new kit.

“I feel like it’s early enough days that, yes, we can catch up,” Andretti said at ISM Raceway. “When there is anything new, a new car, new aero kit, at-track days are huge. We can sim all these things we want. To really get out there and confirm what we’re learning back at the shop is another thing.”

Ryan Hunter-Reay during testing at ISM Raceway. Photo: IndyCar

Andretti continued, “Yeah, I don’t think we should look at it like we’re behind the eight ball. With a four-car team, that’s where we can use it to our benefit. So far so good.”

Teammate Ryan Hunter-Reay, echoed Andretti’s sentiments, adding that while the situation is not perfect, they will need to adapt to it in order to remain competitive.

“Any time you have a new car, to put it into perspective, we’re on track three days on a road course before we get to (the season open in St. Petersburg). That’s a very short amount of time. It’s obviously not ideal, but we’re just going to lace up our boots and get on with it. That’s all you can do.”

Andretti Autosport will have one more team test, at Sebring International Raceway later on in February, before the season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

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