Gutierrez scores first points in Formula One

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Esteban Gutierrez will be celebrating tonight after scoring his first points in Formula One, having made his debut at the beginning of the season. The Mexican driver ran strongly throughout the race at Suzuka today to cross the line in seventh place behind his teammate and ahead of Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg.

Having qualified in fourteenth place, Gutierrez made a fantastic start to jump up to ninth and he remained in the fight for the final points-paying positions for a large part of the race. However, he did not simply fall backwards, battling for position with Felipe Massa and Kimi Raikkonen before eventually losing out to both drivers. A drive-through penalty for Massa saw the Brazilian fall back down the order, allowing Gutierrez to make up a position. He then moved up to P9 on lap thirty-seven with a great overtake on Jean-Eric Vergne before benefitting from late pit stops for Jenson Button and Nico Rosberg.

In the final few laps, Rosberg did close up on the back of the Sauber, but the German driver was asked to save fuel. As a result, Gutierrez kept the three-time grand prix winner at bay to score his first points of the season.

Not only are these Gutierrez’s first points of the season, but they are also the first for any of the five rookies on the grid in 2013. Valtteri Bottas, Giedo van der Garde, Max Chilton and Jules Bianchi are all yet to score.

Gutierrez’s result also allowed Sauber to breakaway from Toro Rosso in the battle for seventh in the constructors’ championship, with the team now fourteen points ahead and just seventeen behind sixth-placed Force India.

FIA returns Manor’s F1 entry fee for 2017

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Good news: Manor Grand Prix Racing Limited got a refund of an entry fee it paid to the FIA to run in this year’s F1 season.

Bad news: Manor still hasn’t run this year, and won’t be for the foreseeable future (especially as Manor’s former leadership staff is moving that team into FIA WEC’s new-look LMP1 class in addition to its LMP2 program).

Manor Group’s receivership outfit, Just Racing Services Limited, went into administration earlier this year. As there was no new buyer for the F1 team, Manor dropped from the 2017 grid before the season.

The FIA said it would return its entry fee to help Manor Group pay off outstanding debts.

It basically means nothing in the grand scheme of things since Manor missed out on 10th place in the constructor’s standings in 2016 and fell from the F1 grid as a result, but hey, it’s a goodwill gesture going into Thanksgiving this week.