Webber: Pole slipped through my fingers

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Mark Webber believes that pole position slipped through his fingers in today’s qualifying session for the United States Grand Prix, as the Australian driver finished just 0.103 seconds down on teammate Sebastian Vettel at the end of Q3.

Webber had looked poised to claim his third pole position in four races after going fastest on his first run and quicker still with his second run. However, a mistake at the final corner meant that Vettel’s stunning final lap did enough to edge out the Australian driver, and Webber knows that this was an opportunity missed.

“The first part of my final lap was very good, I was happy with that, but I didn’t quite get turns nineteen and twenty,” Webber said. “If I’d done what I did there initially in Q3, it would probably have been enough, but I tried to squeeze a bit more out and it’s easy to load the car a bit too much in these conditions.

“Sometimes you’re happy and think you’ve given your best, but today it slipped through the fingers. Well done to Seb, he put the three sectors together and I put two and a half together. I just dropped it in the last sector and it’s not satisfying when you do that, but I’m still pretty happy with second.”

This will be Mark Webber’s final appearance as a Formula One driver in the USA ahead of his retirement at the end of the season, and he will be hoping to sign off with a win in his final two races.

SMP Racing unveils BR1 LMP1 car in Bahrain ahead of WEC entry

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SMP Racing has publicly unveiled its new BR1 LMP1 car that will enter the FIA World Endurance Championship from 2018.

SMP Racing opted to pull out of racing full-time in the WEC for 2017 in order to focus on its preparations for an LMP1 entry the following year, with the decision being taken long in advance of Porsche’s exit announcement.

Officials from the Russian-backed SMP Racing, as well as drivers including recent IndyCar racer Mikhail Aleshin (sporting a broken arm in a sling), Vitaly Petrov and Sergey Sirotkin were all on hand to unveil the car on Friday in the Bahrain International Circuit paddock ahead of this weekend’s WEC finale.

The BR Engineering BR1 features a Dallara chassis and an AER engine, and has completed over 2,000 km in private testing, with further running set to be completed in the coming weeks.

SMP Racing plans to field two cars in the WEC’s LMP1 class next year, and is keen to get as many Russian drivers as possible in the seats from its wide pool of talent.

Even with Porsche’s departure from LMP1, the class is set to feature a bigger field thanks to the increased number of privateers moving up, with Toyota set to remain the sole manufacturer in the class.