Vettel admits that pole position was “a surprise”

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Sebastian Vettel may have dominated proceedings at Monza so far this weekend, but the Red Bull driver has said that pole position came as something of a surprise considering Red Bull’s track record at Monza.

The team has traditionally struggled at high-speed circuits in the past, with both Vettel and teammate Mark Webber retiring from the Italian Grand Prix last season. However, Red Bull have bounced back this season by winning at other high-speed tracks such as Montreal and Spa, but Vettel was still not convinced they would carry this form over to Monza.

“It’s a special track, it’s always nice to come back here,” Vettel said, reflecting on his first win at the circuit in 2008.

“The car was fantastic so far, I think better than what we could expect. In the end, it’s a bit of a surprise to have both cars on the front row at a place where historically we’ve had bad years.”

As surprised as Vettel may have been, he finished quickest in all three qualifying sessions today, posting a fastest time of 1:23.755 late on to secure his fourth pole position.

This result also marks the fortieth pole position of Vettel’s career, with just two drivers having more starts from P1 than the German driver. Further to that, this is Red Bull’s fiftieth pole position since joining the sport in 2005.

Judging by his practice form, it is difficult to see Vettel not winning the race on Sunday, yet he will be all too aware of the pace of his teammate, Mark Webber, who joins the three-time world champion on the front row at Monza.

Audi bids farewell to Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich upon retirement

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Audi bid farewell to its iconic head of motorsport, Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich, at its end-of-season ‘Race Night’ event in Germany on Friday upon his retirement.

Ullrich took over the reins as Audi’s head of motorsport in 1993 and stayed in the role for 23 years, overseeing its arrival in the prototype class of sports car racing and domination of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Ullrich stepped down from the position at the end of 2016, handing the reins over to ex-Audi DTM chief Dieter Gass, and attended his final racing event with the German marque at its first works Formula E outing in Hong Kong earlier this month.

Ullrich was honored at the Race Night event on Friday and thanked for his efforts in developing Audi into a force within global motorsport.

“In 566 factory-backed commitments during this period he celebrated 209 victories, 13 of them in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, eleven in the 12-hour race at Sebring and nine in the ‘Petit Le Mans’ at Road Atlanta,” a piece on Ullrich’s tenure for Audi’s website reads.

“31 driver titles in super touring car racing, in the DTM and in the sports prototype category are credited to him. 57 campaigners were Audi factory drivers during Wolfgang Ullrich’s era and he was responsible for 18 new developments of racing cars – an impressive tally.”