Sebastian Vettel has explained how he lost the chance to challenge Lewis Hamilton for victory today at the Hungarian Grand Prix after getting stuck behind Jenson Button following his first pit stop.
Vettel pitted on lap 11 for fresh tires in an attempt to catch Hamilton, but he instead came out of the pits behind Button which allowed Hamilton to pull away. Instead of quickly passing Button, Vettel lost twelve laps behind the McLaren driver and he believes that this was “crucial” in determining the result of the race.
“It was not the best race,” Vettel said on the podium after the race. “The start was difficult and when Lewis pulled in we thought we could do it on the softs. I lost a bit and came out behind Jenson which was crucial. I damaged my front wing which did not help.”
In the final stint of the race, Vettel came close to passing Kimi Raikkonen for 2nd place but he could not find a way past.
“I tried to hang on in there and tried to fight back with Kimi. I could not get him on the straight. We wanted a little bit more today.”
Despite failing to win the Hungarian Grand Prix for the first time, Vettel has extended his lead in the drivers’ championship to 38 points, putting him in a strong position heading into the summer break.
Dublin, Ireland’s Keith Donegan claimed a $200K scholarship from Mazda after emerging victorious at the second annual Mazda Road to Indy Shootout. The 20-year-old Donegan earned an at-large nomination for the scholarship based on his performance at this year’s Formula Ford Festival, in which he finished second in the final, and emerged from a pack of 17 drivers from across the globe to claim the scholarship.
“It really hasn’t hit me yet,” said an emotional Donegan, who earlier in his career actually spent two years away from racing as he focused on academics. “The weekend was really good and I enjoyed it. I have to say a huge thanks to Mazda and Cooper Tires and everyone at the Mazda Road to Indy. I enjoyed every moment. Throughout the weekend we were consistent and I kept the small things in check. I didn’t make any stupid mistakes and kept my head cool and that really paid off in the end.”
The two-day shootout was held at the Bondurant Racing School in Arizona and saw the nominated drivers tackle the school’s 1.6-mile circuit in Formula Mazda race cars before facing on and off-track assessments. Donegan was selected by a panel of judges that included former driver and current Verizon IndyCar Series TV analyst Scott Goodyear, Mazda drivers Tom Long, Andrew Carbonell, and Jonathan Bomarito, as well as Victor Franzoni – the current champion of the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires – and Oliver Askew, the current champion of the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda.
Donegan was humbled to be in the presence of drivers who have won scholarships and championships previously, and added that he is grateful to have the opportunity to continue his racing career.
“You see all these champions here today that will go on to great things in the future and I’m sure the names you see here today aren’t going to disappear,” Donegan added. “They will be back up there and I’m sure I will be racing them again some day. It is an unbelievable opportunity to be given and for Mazda to provide that for any young driver. It just gives that bit of motivation that you need because the [U.S.] is where you need to go to become a professional these days. It is such a boost to my career.”
Donegan is now slated to join the 2018 USF2000 championship, with further announcements regarding the team with whom he’ll be racing to come in the future.