IndyCar update: Bourdais leads off-sequence in Baltimore

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Past lap 38 of 75 in the Grand Prix of Baltimore presented by SRT (LIVE on NBCSN and NBC Sports Live Extra), Sebastien Bourdais currently leads on an off-sequence strategy in the 16th IZOD IndyCar Series race of the season.

The race kicked off under hot and humid conditions, reported at 85 degrees ambient and 122 on track, per Firestone. Will Power took the lead on polesitter Scott Dixon at Turn 3 on the opening lap and led the first 31 laps before pitting on lap 32.

Dixon and Simon Pagenaud slotted in behind him. Josef Newgarden moved up to fourth with Graham Rahal also making a series of moves to get into the top five.

Other hard chargers were Oriol Servia and Simona de Silvestro, who each gained seven spots from their grid positions (15th to eighth and 17th to 10th, respectively) and also Dragon Racing’s Sebastien Bourdais, who advanced from 22nd to 13th.

Four different Honda drivers had mechanical issues in the opening laps. James Jakes, Takuma Sato and Luca Filippi all retired while Dario Franchitti, who needed to change engines twice this weekend, had reported brake and master cylinder issues per team owner Chip Ganassi to NBCSN’s Marty Snider. IndyCar series debutante Stefan Wilson made his first pit stop within the first five laps and had an issue with the left rear tire being attached, but resumed.

Ed Carpenter nosed into the Turn 5 wall at Lap 12 right when Filippi had an engine fire; the two combined incidents caused the first yellow flag of the race.

The race restarted on Lap 20 and Newgarden brushed the wall exiting Turn 12 a few laps later. That dropped him from fourth back to eighth, and he was the first of the leaders to pit on Lap 24.

Power banked a gap over the Hondas: Pagenaud, Dixon, Kimball and Rahal then in the top five behind the Sonoma winner in the Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet.

The leaders stopped for the first time from Laps 26 through 31. Power’s stop was costly, a 15.7 second stop after he overshot his marks. That moved Bourdais to the lead; the Dragon Racing driver was one of several who pitted off sequence on Lap 12 (also pitting then: Tristan Vautier, Justin Wilson, Sebastian Saavedra, Marco Andretti, Helio Castroneves and E.J. Viso).

Viso had an issue on Lap 36 to create a major stack-up of cars behind him.

Formula One: Recapping the past week’s news

Photo: Getty Images
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While the FIA Formula 1 World Championship is still two months away from beginning its 2018 season, this past week did bring about news items that filled out the 2018 grid and shed some light on individual team and car launches as the season-opening Australian Grand Prix draws closer.

Below is a recap of F1 news from this past week:

Williams Signs Sirotkin for 2018 Drive, Names Kubica as Reserve Driver

The saga of the second seat at Williams Martini Racing was finally resolved early on in the week, with former Renault Sport F1 Team test driver Sergey Sirotkin officially confirmed as a teammate to the incumbent Lance Stroll in 2018.

The announcement concluded months of speculation that saw multiple drivers test for the team in an auditioning capacity. Most notably, Robert Kubica looked to be a main contender for the seat before Sirotkin emerged as the favorite.

However, Kubica, who has not raced in Formula 1 since a devastating rally accident in 2011 left him with brutal injuries to his right arm, was named as a reserve and development driver for the team.

This announcement also completes the 2018 Formula 1 driver lineup, with all 11 teams having their seats now filled. Among those who were left without F1 drives are Paul Di Resta, who drove for Williams at the Hungarian Grand Prix in relief of Felipe Massa and even tested with them during the Winter months, and Antonio Giovinazzi, who filled in for Pascal Wehrlein at the Australian and Chinese Grands Prix.

Former Red Bull Racing and Scuderia Toro Rosso driver Daniil Kvyat is also without a race seat for 2018, but did sign on with Scuderia Ferrari as a development driver.

Mercedes, McLaren Reveal Dates for Their 2018 Car Launches

While most teams have not yet released dates for when their 2018 cars will be publicly launched, three notables have.

Mercedes AMG Petronas will introduce its 2018 challenger on February 22nd, the same day Ferrari is doing so, while McLaren will unveil its car one day later on the 23rd.

Testing will commence on February 26th at Circuit de Catalunya.

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