GP of Indy: Rookie pilot Jack Hawksworth impressive in Top-10 run

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A series of mid-race cautions ultimately caused Jack Hawksworth to fade to a seventh-place finish in today’s Grand Prix of Indianapolis on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course – a result that does not fully represent how strong the Verizon IndyCar Series rookie was in regards to pace.

After starting on the front row, Hawksworth passed Hunter-Reay for the lead shortly after the field went back to green following the ill-fated standing start.

But instead of the American veteran reeling him back in, Hawksworth pulled away and kept the point through after the first cycle of green-flag pit stops around the Lap 25-30 range.

By the halfway point, Hawksworth was leading the race by four seconds before the caution came out at Lap 42 for Scott Dixon getting turned around after a battle with Will Power.

While Hawksworth and eventual race winner Simon Pagenaud went in for service, Hunter-Reay chose to stay out and inherited the lead.

Hawksworth restarted ninth but the aforementioned mid-race incidents – which included a crash involving Martin Plowman and Franck Montagny with 34 laps left and another involving Graham Rahal on the subsequent restart – forced the team to try and make strategy work for them.

That didn’t happen, but Hawksworth still was able to garner his first Top-10 finish in the IndyCars after pacing 31 of 82 laps and setting the second-fastest lap of the Grand Prix.

“We got into the lead at the beginning, opened up a gap and we were controlling the race pretty well from what I could see,” he said in a post-race statement. “I felt like we had it all under control and then we got a bit hosed from that yellow.

“The strategy calls were a bit tricky but overall, the car was great to drive. The team gave me a great car all day. We certainly deserved, on pace, a better result than what we got there but we gave it our all.

“We fought back and at least we got the points for seventh place. The pace is there so we’ll come back and try to get after it again.”

Hartley to make F1 debut from back of grid after penalty

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Brendon Hartley’s hopes of a points finish on his Formula 1 debut took a hit on Friday after the FIA confirmed the Toro Rosso driver will start the United States Grand Prix from the back of the grid due to an engine penalty.

Porsche factory driver and 24 Hours of Le Mans winner Hartley was drafted in by Toro Rosso as a surprise replacement for Pierre Gasly in Austin, with the Frenchman tied up with Super Formula duties at Suzuka this weekend.

Hartley took to the track in an official grand prix session for the first time on Friday in Austin, marking his first run-out in an F1 car since a test with Mercedes in 20120.

However, FIA technical delegate Jo Bauer confirmed in his pre-race report that changes had been made to the power unit on Hartley’s Toro Rosso car since the last race in Japan, triggering a grid penalty.

Toro Rosso elected to take a new internal combustion engine, MGU-H, energy store and control electronics on Hartley’s Renault power unit, totaling a 25-place grid drop that will be applied after qualifying. Confirmation of the penalty is set to follow later today.

The penalty comes as a setback for Hartley, but was necessary as Toro Rosso found itself short on engine elements to get to the end of the season.

Hartley is not the only driver to have a penalty confirmed, with Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg and McLaren’s Stoffel Vandoorne also taking new engine elements, also confirmed in Bauer’s report.

A new ICE, turbocharger and MGU-H for Hulkenberg will see him drop 20 places on the grid, while an eighth ICE of the year for Vandoorne will trigger a five-place drop.