Mixed messages from Alonso following Monza qualifying

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Fernando Alonso has expressed his delight over qualifying fifth for tomorrow’s Italian Grand Prix despite appearing to berate his team over the radio during the final qualifying session after Ferrari’s tactics failed to pay off.

With Monza being the fastest circuit on the calendar, it can be highly beneficial for drivers to get in a teammate’s slipstream in order to reduce drag and therefore increase their speed. As they have done in the past two years, Ferrari opted to send their drivers out together on track with Felipe Massa leading from Alonso. By sending them around the circuit line astern, Alonso would benefit from Massa’s slipstream and theoretically post a better time.

However, during their final run, Massa appeared to pull away from Alonso, thus ruining the tactic and forcing the Spanish driver to solely rely on his own pace. He spoke over the radio to his team in Italian, but reports in the paddock from Italian journalists suggest that he may have called his team “stupid” for allowing Massa to pull away.

Eventually, Massa outqualified Alonso to line up in fourth with the Spanish driver fifth. Although the result may appear to be far from ideal for Ferrari, Alonso took to Twitter to express his happiness over his qualifying performance:

In the press session after the race, Alonso insisted that he had thanked his team after qualifying, with this result being a marked improvement from ninth in Belgium last time out.

Alonso had spoken out on Thursday to dismiss any rumors suggesting that he may be unhappy at the team, but this latest incident will only fuel the fire of conspiracy theorists in the paddock.

Takuma Sato’s likeness revealed on Borg-Warner Trophy (PHOTOS)

Photos; Walt Kuhn
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INDIANAPOLIS – Rather than the traditional December unveil, this year’s reveal newest likeness added to the Borg-Warner Trophy came Tuesday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum.

Takuma Sato got to see the result of the sculpting done by William Behrends and then turned from wax, clay and ceramic into sterling silver on Tuesday evening, as the winner of the 101st Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil saw his face revealed on the trophy.

Sato took the No. 26 Ruoff Home Mortgage Honda for Andretti Autosport to the win in thrilling fashion this year over Helio Castroneves, denying the Brazilian his fourth Indianapolis 500 victory in the process. It atoned for his near-miss in 2012, driving for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, the team he’ll return to in 2018.

It’s been a whirlwind last week-plus for Sato, doing the podium interviews at the Japanese Grand Prix, reflecting on his Indianapolis 500 triumph, then sharing the victory spoils with another Japanese pilot in Yoshihide Muroya, who won the Red Bull Air Race World Championship at Indianapolis this weekend.

Photos of Sato’s face on the most unique trophy in sports are below. This post will be updated following tonight’s full unveil. (All photos: Walt Kuhn)