IndyCar Testing

Sebastien Bourdais looking to reclaim past Long Beach form

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Sebastian Bourdais gets another chance to become the King of Long Beach this weekend, as he looks to recover from a 13th-place showing in the Verizon IndyCar Series’ season opener two weekends ago.

In the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, Bourdais was forced to get a new nose early in the event after contact and was penalized later on for not packing up.

“St. Petersburg was a valiant effort by the whole team and to finish where we started is very frustrating,” Bourdais said in a pre-race release. “The only positives that came out of the race are that we keep fighting back and I had a rocket ship for a car, so I know our time will come.”

Naturally, the Frenchman hopes for a smoother weekend by the Pacific Ocean, where he’s had some of his greatest success in North American open-wheel racing. Bourdais won three straight Champ Car races at Long Beach from 2005-2007.

Recent years there have been tough, however, with a DNF in 2011, and finishes of 17th and 15th in 2012 and 2013 respectively. But his respect for the event has not waned.

“Long Beach is a great event,” Bourdais said. “It is next to the Indy 500, the premier event on our schedule. The atmosphere at the race is always unbelievable and the circuit is a challenge. There are different corners and different surfaces that you have to contend with, so getting the right setup is crucial. Because it is a street circuit, qualifying is extremely important.

“I had some success at Long Beach when I raced in Champ Cars. The last few years have been more difficult, but based on how good the KVSH Racing car was in St. Petersburg, I am looking forward to debuting the Mistic machine this weekend in Long Beach.”

You can see how Bourdais fares this weekend with Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach qualifying on Saturday at 6 p.m. ET, and then the main event on Sunday at 4 p.m. ET on NBCSN and NBC Sports Live Extra.

Sainz uninjured, but to remain in hospital overnight

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Carlos Sainz Jr. will remain in hospital overnight following a terrifying crash during practice for the Russian Grand Prix on Saturday morning.

Sainz slammed into the wall at turn 13 after losing control of his car, pitching in underneath the TecPro barrier at the end of the run-off area.

Medical crews spent 20 minutes extricating Sainz from his car due to the barriers’ placement before he was taken away to hospital for a check-up.

Sainz tweeted a picture to his followers confirming that he was okay, and Toro Rosso has now released a second statement confirming that the Spaniard was fully conscious throughout the crash and is uninjured.

“After arriving at the Sochi Hospital 4, Carlos Sainz, who never lost consciousness, underwent a medical examination, including a full body scan,” the statement reads. “The scan showed that the driver has no injuries.

“However, he will be staying in the hospital overnight as a precautionary measure, which is the normal procedure in these circumstances.

“We will release further information when it is available.”

Sainz tweeted that he was hoping to convince the doctors to release him from hospital early enough so that he could take part in tomorrow’s race, but any steps taken will be with his well-being in mind.

Rosberg charges to Russian GP pole in Sochi

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Nico Rosberg will start tomorrow’s Russian Grand Prix from pole position after topping the timesheets in Saturday’s qualifying session at the Sochi Autodrom.

Rosberg posted a fastest lap time of 1:37.113 to edge out Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton by three-tenths of a second to score pole position in Russia.

Following on from its dominant display in Japan two weeks ago, Mercedes showed few signs of easing up at the front of the field as it stormed to another front-row lock-out.

Having traded fastest lap times throughout the earlier stages of qualifying, Hamilton and Rosberg renewed their battle in Q3 at Sochi, but it was Rosberg who finished on top.

Rosberg drew early blood in Q3 by going three-tenths faster than his teammate on his first run, and when Hamilton locked up late on and opted to pit, pole was safely with the German driver.

Valtteri Bottas finished as the best of the rest in third place, beating the Ferrari duo of Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen who finished fifth and sixth respectively as all of the drivers struggled to improve on their second runs.

Nico Hulkenberg and Force India teammate Sergio Perez will start sixth and seventh, while Romain Grosjean qualified eighth. Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo rounded out the top ten in P9 and P10 respectively.

Home favorite Daniil Kvyat was unable to delight the local fans as he would have liked to in qualifying, dropping out in Q2 by finishing 11th ahead of Felipe Nasr. Pastor Maldonado was also eliminated, finishing 14th, but it was Felipe Massa who was the biggest casualty of the second session, ending up 15th for Williams.

McLaren experienced something of a mixed qualifying session on Saturday as Fernando Alonso was knocked out at the end of Q1. Teammate Jenson Button managed to improve late on to dump the Spaniard out and leave him 16th overall, while the Briton went on to finish 13th in Q2.

Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson also dropped out at the first hurdle alongside the two Manor drivers, while Carlos Sainz Jr. took no part in the session following his practice crash. The Spaniard still hopes to take part in tomorrow’s race, but will remain in hospital overnight.