Points for Grosjean, but Maldonado fails to start

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Lotus F1 Team once again experienced a grand prix of highs and lows in Monaco, with Romain Grosjean’s points haul being juxtaposed by Pastor Maldonado’s failure to start the race.

Maldonado has gained a lot of criticism this year for his aggressive driving style, but he had no control over a suspected fuel pump issue that meant his car could not start on the grid. He had qualified in 15th place, his best result of the season.

“We don’t know yet precisely what happened,” he explained after the race. “The engine switched off after 30 seconds. When we did out laps to the grid the car and the power unit were working well. We need to work to find out what the problem was.

“It is disappointing and I was expecting a solid race, we had a good strategy in place, I love this circuit where I have been competitive in the past. We have already worked hard on performance and reliability but today it was not to be. This afternoon we’re not happy but we are keeping focused on improving.”

Grosjean’s race appeared to take a turn for the worse just a few minutes later when he was forced to pit under the first safety car period due to a puncture. He then took his time passing the backmarkers, but ultimately fought his way through to finish ninth on track, which became eighth following Jules Bianchi’s five second penalty.

“It’s good to finish the race here for the first time in my career and it’s good to get some points too,” he said. “It started as a pretty bad Sunday for us with a puncture for me on the first lap after Adrian drove into me. We swapped to the soft tires but it was impossible to overtake on these so we came back in for the super softs.

“The safety car timing didn’t help us as we’d just gone out on the new tyres, but that’s Monaco. You can have thousands of misfortunes in the race, but still be in the points at the end!”

By failing to start, Maldonado’s record of never finishing the Monaco Grand Prix has been extended, but he will know that the inherent pace of the Lotus E22 should put him in the running to score some points in Canada.

Audi bids farewell to Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich upon retirement

Audi Sport
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Audi bid farewell to its iconic head of motorsport, Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich, at its end-of-season ‘Race Night’ event in Germany on Friday upon his retirement.

Ullrich took over the reins as Audi’s head of motorsport in 1993 and stayed in the role for 23 years, overseeing its arrival in the prototype class of sports car racing and domination of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Ullrich stepped down from the position at the end of 2016, handing the reins over to ex-Audi DTM chief Dieter Gass, and attended his final racing event with the German marque at its first works Formula E outing in Hong Kong earlier this month.

Ullrich was honored at the Race Night event on Friday and thanked for his efforts in developing Audi into a force within global motorsport.

“In 566 factory-backed commitments during this period he celebrated 209 victories, 13 of them in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, eleven in the 12-hour race at Sebring and nine in the ‘Petit Le Mans’ at Road Atlanta,” a piece on Ullrich’s tenure for Audi’s website reads.

“31 driver titles in super touring car racing, in the DTM and in the sports prototype category are credited to him. 57 campaigners were Audi factory drivers during Wolfgang Ullrich’s era and he was responsible for 18 new developments of racing cars – an impressive tally.”