Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel

Vettel happy to qualify 2nd despite minor car problem


Defending Formula 1 world champion Sebastian Vettel has bounced back from a disastrous opening race of the season in Australia to qualify in second place for tomorrow’s Malaysian Grand Prix, and the German driver is delighted to be back on the front row of the grid.

However, it all very nearly ended in tears for Vettel and Red Bull. After being forced to retire from the Australian Grand Prix with just five laps on the board because of an engine problem, Vettel was called into the pits after posting just one lap time in Q1 on Saturday due to another problem. Thankfully for the team, it was merely a case of resetting the car and sending the German driver out again.

“My heartbeat was rising very quickly in Q1 when we realised there was an issue,” Vettel admitted after qualifying. “We came in and restarted the car, which seemed to solve the problem and after that it was fine.”

Eventually, Vettel qualified in second place and finished just 0.055 seconds behind pole-sitter Lewis Hamilton, but – being the four-time champion he is – was left frustrated by such a minor margin. Upon seeing the results, the German driver exclaimed: “Six-hundredths! You’re kidding!” before congratulating Hamilton on his second pole position of the season.

“Q3 was not perfect,” Vettel admitted. “It was very close, maybe too close, as if you look at the margin it was possible to go faster, but then if Lewis would have had another chance he would have improved also.

“So ‘would should, could’ – at the end of the day it’s good to be on the front row and it should be the good side of the grid for tomorrow. It depends on how our start is, but I’m happy with the result.”

After a disastrous winter testing programme and a poor start to the season in Australia, Vettel will be delighted to have finally found some form and pushed Hamilton and Mercedes in the fight for pole position.

Although he might struggle to beat Hamilton and Nico Rosberg in the dry on Sunday, the weather forecast suggests that rain could play a part, and perhaps give Vettel a chance of securing his fourth victory in Malaysia.

Pippa Mann, breast cancer survivors paint IMS’ start/finish line pink

Photo: IndyCar
Photo: IndyCar
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We’ve written a fair bit on MotorSportsTalk about the efforts Pippa Mann has done in working with the Susan G. Komen Foundation for breast cancer awareness. Susan G. Komen has supported Mann’s last two runs at the Indianapolis 500, when she’s driven the No. 63 Honda for Dale Coyne Racing.

This being National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the awareness hit a new level with Mann working alongside breast cancer survivors to paint the start/finish line at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s iconic Yard of Bricks pink for the day.

IMS president Doug Boles also joined in the opportunity.

View a selection of photos and social posts below. More is linked here, via IndyCar.com.

Mercedes set to clinch F1 constructors’ championship in Russia

SOCHI, RUSSIA - OCTOBER 08:  Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes GP speaks with members of the media in the paddock during previews to the Formula One Grand Prix of Russia at Sochi Autodrom on October 8, 2015 in Sochi, Russia.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
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For the second year in a row, Mercedes is poised to wrap up the Formula 1 constructors’ championship in Sochi at this weekend’s Russian Grand Prix.

Mercedes won its first F1 teams’ title in Russia last year, having returned to the sport as a works constructor in 2010. When it last enjoyed such status in the 1950s, there was no championship for the teams.

Just as it did in 2014, Mercedes has dominated proceedings in F1 this season, winning all but three races and sweeping to eight one-two finishes to leave drivers Lewis Hamilton (pictured) and Nico Rosberg battling for the drivers’ title for the second straight year.

Now, Mercedes seeks the knock-out blow in the constructors’ title race by officially wrapping it up in Sochi this weekend.

To do so, the team must simply outscore rivals Ferrari by three points this weekend. The lead currently stands at 169 points, with 215 still on offer. After Sochi, there will be 172 remaining.

“We return to Russia with positive memories from last season, when the team sealed the first constructors’ title for Mercedes-Benz with a one-two finish,” team boss Toto Wolff said.

“A repeat performance in Sochi would be fantastic and this is absolutely the target – but we are under no illusions that it will come easy. The job is not done yet.”

The tire allocation for this weekend’s race could pose problems to Mercedes just as it did in Singapore, potentially allowing Ferrari to spoil the party and delay the victory celebrations at Brackley.

However, if the form book is to be trusted, Sochi could be playing host to another Mercedes party on Sunday night with a second world title in the bag for the Silver Arrows.