Rosberg denies deliberately going off at Mirabeau

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Nico Rosberg has said that the mistake he made during the final part of qualifying for the Monaco Grand Prix today was not deliberate, despite it inadvertently securing him pole position ahead of teammate Lewis Hamilton.

Rosberg was on provisional pole after the first runs during Q3, posting a lap time that was 0.059 seconds quicker than Hamilton’s best lap. However, during his final flying lap, Rosberg appeared to make a mistake at Mirabeau and had to go down the slip road in order to avoid hitting the wall.

This brought out yellow flags, and meant that all of the cars behind Rosberg on the track had to slow down. Hamilton backed off as a result, and was fuming that he had to settle for second place, inferring that it could have been a deliberate move. Michael Schumacher pulled a similar move in 2006 that was clearly deliberate, and was excluded from qualifying as a result.

However, Rosberg insists that there was nothing cynical behind the mistake.

“I tried to make it, but turned out as I was going to hit the tire wall,” he explained. “It was close but I managed to go into the escape road. I know that I had a really good banker in there, so I tried to push that little bit more and went over the edge.

“I thought the track would ramp up and somebody else would do a time. Of course I’m sorry for what happened for Lewis.”

Nevertheless, Rosberg was delighted to have secured pole position at his hometown for the second year in a row.

“I’m really, really happy. To be on pole at home is fantastic, it couldn’t be better.”

The stewards have chosen to investigate the incident and have called Mercedes to their office. For the time being, though, Rosberg can revel in his second pole position of the season that he will want to turn into win number two tomorrow.

Al Unser Jr. back in IndyCar after a decade away: ‘Life is very good’

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There’s been somewhat of a hole in Al Unser Jr.’s heart ever since he retired from racing in 2007.

It was a void, something was missing.

But now, after a decade away from racing, Unser has found the right medicine to fill that hole in his heart: he’s back in the racing game again.

No, he’s not driving again (although he does participate occasionally in vintage races), but the two-time Indianapolis 500 (1992 and 1994) winner is definitely back in the IndyCar world.

And he couldn’t be happier.

“For me, it’s a dream come true,” Unser told IndyCar.com. “Since I stepped out of the race car and retired from racing, there’s been something missing from my life, and it’s racing.”

Unser has hooked up with Harding Racing. The team competed in three races last season as a ramp-up for a full 17-race effort this season. While Unser’s official title with the team is “consultant,” he’s involved in so much more.

His main role is as a driving coach to 2015 IndyCar Rookie of the Year Gabby Chaves. But he’s also involved in so many other areas, including helping the team obtain sponsorships and much more.

He then added, “I’m involved in every sense of the word except actually driving the car. And I’m happy about that because I’m too old to drive the car.”

Unser, who won CART championships in 1990 and 1994, is now 55. He’s so involved with his new job that he even moved from his native New Mexico and has relocated to suburban Indianapolis.

Not only is it a new start for Unser, it also is for Chaves. After running all 16 races in 2015 for Bryan Herta Autosport with Curb-Agajanian, he competed in just seven races for Dale Coyne Racing in 2016 and only three races for Harding Racing last season.

But he definitely impressed the team, with a fifth- (Texas) and ninth-place (Indianapolis 500) finish in the first two races and 15th (Pocono) in the team’s final run of the season.

That’s why when Harding Racing decided to go fulltime in 2018, Chaves was their pick for behind the wheel. And Unser was their pick to help guide him to potential stardom in the series.

“(Team owner) Mike Harding is definitely a person that when he decides to do something, he does it right,” Unser told IndyCar.com. “The potential for this organization is through the sky. We’re all working really hard here and we see the potential.”

And as for Unser?

“Life is good, life is very good,” he told IndyCar.com. “We’re back full force, eager and better than ever.”

Click here for the full story about Unser from IndyCar.com.