Mark Webber believes that finishing 4th is the best result he could have wished for in today’s Hungarian Grand Prix after the Australian driver made good use of his strategy to make up for a poor qualifying display yesterday.
Webber started P10 on the medium tire and managed to lead the race in places, but he could not quite catch teammate Sebastian Vettel in the final stages of the race, forcing him to settle for P4. However, Webber does not believe the team could have done any better.
“I think we had the right strategy,” he said in a team statement after the race. “We knew there was a lot of pressure on getting a good first lap and I got some clear air, which worked well.
“I don’t think we could have got much more than that result today. The strategy was pretty solid and you have to pace the option tires until the end.”
The result does however see Red Bull extend their lead in the constructors’ championship by two points over Mercedes, taking their total lead to 79 points. Once again though, Webber proved his ability to fight through the field and fight with the likes of Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel despite being in his final season of racing.
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.