Gutierrez calls Monza “crucial weekend”

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Esteban Gutierrez has highlighted next weekend’s Italian Grand Prix as being crucial to Sauber as the team looks to have a strong second half of the season.

The Mexican driver made his Formula One debut at the beginning of the year and has since failed to score any points, largely thanks to the pace of the Sauber C32 car. His teammate, Nico Hulkenberg, has also struggled to impress despite – at one point – being thought to be the natural successor to either Mark Webber at Red Bull or Felipe Massa at Ferrari. However, Gutierrez is hopeful of the team bouncing back to form at Monza next weekend.

“Coming from a track like Spa, we need to adapt to Monza in terms of driving style, strategy and set-up,” he explained. “It will be a crucial weekend, because stability in slow corners is important and, unfortunately, this is where we’ve been struggling.

“We have to focus on that and try to improve. Our pace is good, but now we need to complement that with the right decisions.”

Gutierrez currently holds a best result of eleventh at the Spanish Grand Prix, where he ran strongly on the hard tire early on to lead for a few laps. Eventually, he could not quite score his first point, although he did set the fastest lap of the race.

Sauber’s future has also come under close scrutiny in recent weeks after the team was supposedly saved thanks to Russian investment. With the deal came a driver, Sergey Sirotkin, who is poised to become the youngest driver in the history of Formula One next season relying he gains his superlicense.

IndyCar Grand Prix of Alabama final practice report

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Will Power posted the fastest lap in the third practice session for the Grand Prix of Alabama with a speed of 122.953 mph.

Rookie Robert Wickens (122.552 mph) was second fast, foretelling a continuation of his incredible rookie season.

Scott Dixon (122.237), Ryan Hunter-Reay (122.231) and Alexander Rossi (122.106) rounded out the top five.

The practice was interrupted several times for incidents. 

Ed Jones spun off track in turn five after locking up his brakes with 30 minutes remaining in practice three. He was able to drive back to the pits under his own power.

With 20 minutes still on the clock, Jordan King took a trip into the fence after posting a fastest lap of 121.753 mph. He sustained substantial left side damage to his car and came back to the pits on the hook.

“I’m annoyed really,” King said afterward on the live stream at IndyCar.com. “I slightly locked the inside front, then just stayed off onto the grass and that was it. But I wasn’t really even pushing that hard.”

With two minutes remaining, Charlie Kimball lost power and pulled off the track, bringing an end to the practice session.

Dixon also had an off-road excursion.