Strong performance by Ferrari on home soil

5 Comments

Despite losing ground to Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull in both championships, Ferrari will be celebrating tonight following the team’s best performance since the Spanish Grand Prix back in May.

After qualifying fourth and fifth on Saturday, Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso made good starts to lie second and fourth respectively at the end of the first lap. Alonso pulled off a gutsy move on Mark Webber through the second chicane to move up to P3. Predictably, the Spaniard then passed Massa with relative ease, but he was unable to catch Vettel at the front. In fact, Alonso’s greatest challenge came from Webber who, after leapfrogging Massa in the pits, remained within a second of the two-time world champion for the rest of the race, only to be slowed down by a problematic gearbox.

Nevertheless, the result marks a return to form for Ferrari after a troublesome spell that has seen Red Bull pull away in the constructors’ championship and Alonso lose ground on Vettel. However, the Italian marque has now overtaken Mercedes to move up to second place in the constructors’, trailing Red Bull by 104 points.

Unsurprisingly, Alonso was welcomed onto the podium by a rapturous support of scarlet-clad fans who had made their way onto the track after the checkered flag. The Spanish driver even took a second to take a picture of himself and the fans, uploading it to Twitter soon after the race.

Josef Newgarden wins pole for Grand Prix of Alabama

1 Comment

With time running off the clock, Josef Newgarden lapped Barber Motorsports Park with a speed of 122.773 mph to win his third career pole and first on this track in the Grand Prix of Alabama.

Newgarden was .0128 seconds faster than teammate Scott Dixon in second.

Newgarden has two previous wins at Barber. He won last year’s edition of this race after starting seventh and in 2015 from fifth.

“I didn’t know if that was going to be enough,” Newgarden said after winning the pole.

“Team Chevy has done a good job,” Newgarden said. “They’ve really given us good power this weekend – good driveability. We’re going to need some fuel mileage tomorrow, which I think we’ll have. But it’s going to get mixed up with the rain.”

Dixon’s lap of 122.750 mph was not quite enough.

“I’m sure you could pick out a number of different things on a lap when it’s that close,” Power said about what made the slight difference between him and Newgarden. “A little mistake out of 9; a little lift here or there.”

Sebastien Bourdais (122.605 mph) qualified third, with Ryan Hunter-Reay (122.159) and James Hinchliffe (121.859) rounding out the top five.

Scott Dixon was the last driver in the top six.

Fast 12

Newgarden topped this chart with a speed of 123.475 mph.

He brought Power, James Hinchcliffe, Scott Dixon, Ryan Hunter-Reay, and Sebastien Bourdais along with him to the Fast 6.

Marco Andretti (122.480), Alexander Rossi (122.216), Simon Pagenaud (122.050), Robert Wickens (122.042), Zach Veach (121.784) and Ed Jones (120.984) failed to advance.

Round 1, Group 1

Newgarden posted the fastest single lap in round one, group one of qualification for the Grand Prix of Alabama with a speed of 122.550 mph.

Hunter-Reay, Hinchcliffe, Wickens, and Andretti also advance to the fast 12.

Taking the final slot was Jones with a speed of 119.835 mph after an off-course excursion in final practice.

This was Andretti’s first advancement to the fast 12 for the first time since 2014.

Round 1, Group 2

Power had the fastest lap of 121.570 mph.

Bourdais, Veach (who is battling food poisoning-like symptoms), Rossi, and Pagenaud grabbed positions 2-4.

Scott Dixon had an uncharacteristically slow lap of 121.006, but managed to advance to the fast 12 when the session was red-flagged for an incident involving Tony Kanaan.

With three minutes remaining, Kanaan spun into the tire barriers while leaving pit road. Since he brought out the red flag, he lost his qualification time of 119.996 mph.

Takuma Sato had slipped off-course midway through the session and posted only the Ninth-fastest speed of 120.789 mph.