Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama - Day 2

Detroit Update: Helio leads in another race of dueling strategies

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Helio Castroneves came out ahead of Mike Conway after a cycle of green-flag stops and led at halfway of Race 2 of the Chevrolet Indy Dual in Detroit at Belle Isle Park.

Today’s race got off to a rocky start with an aborted rolling start and then two cautions within the first 10 laps. On the opening lap, Will Power went to the inside of Josef Newgarden at Turn 3 and made contact with the American, sending him into the barrier while collecting Graham Rahal and Justin Wilson.

Newgarden, Rahal and Wilson would continue on, while Power decided to pit under the yellow. However, Verizon IndyCar Series Race Control opted to hit him with a drive-through penalty for avoidable contact.

Then on Lap 10, Sebastian Saavedra brought out Caution No. 2 by hitting the barrier coming out of Turn 6. He would come to a stop on the backstretch with major front-end damage.

Race leader and pole sitter Takuma Sato was among several that chose to pit under this particular caution, handing the lead to James Hinchcliffe. With the field once again split into multiple strategies as they did yesterday, the race returned to green conditions at Lap 15.

Conway, who was the only driver to start the race on the primary Firestone “black” tires, proceeded to hound Hinchcliffe for several laps before he finally put the Canadian behind him for P1 at Lap 21.

Hinchcliffe promptly pitted, and Conway then built up a massive gap to his pursuers as he tried to help himself prior to going in for his own first stop.

By the time he made that stop at Lap 25, Conway had pushed his lead to more than 11 seconds, bringing back memories of his Belle Isle beatdown in last year’s Race 1. That gave the lead to, of all people, Power, who held it until his second stop at Lap 27.

Mikhail Aleshin inherited the lead from the Australian briefly before he too pitted and Castroneves moved up to the front. He and Sato pitted together on Lap 32 and Jack Hawksworth did the same on the next lap, which put Castroneves back in control of the proceedings.

Status targets 2016 GP2 title after GP3 exit

2015 GP2 Series Round 8.
Autodromo di Monza, Italy.
Sunday 6 September 2015.
Marlon Stockinger (PHL, Status Grand Prix) 
Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Series Media Service.
ref: Digital Image _G7C2088
© GP2 Series
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Status Grand Prix has set its sights on winning the 2016 GP2 Series championship following its decision to close down its GP3 team at the end of the current season.

Earlier this week, GP3 issued a statement confirming its team roster for the next three seasons that featured new entries from DAMS and Virtuosi Racing.

However, both Carlin and Status did not appear on the list, signalling that both had opted to leave GP3 at the end of 2015.

Status first entered GP3 back in 2010, but only set up a GP2 team in 2015 after taking over the old Caterham Racing operation.

This will now become the main focus for the Irish outfit, though, as explained by team boss Teddy Yip Jr. earlier this week.

“Status Grand Prix has not renewed entry into the GP3 Series from 2016 onwards in order to maximize focus on our GP2 campaign,” Yip said.

“Having finished second in the team championship in the inaugural GP3 Series, we have enjoyed six successful years in the category collecting nine race wins, 26 podium finishes and vying for numerous team and driver titles.

“We are very proud to have given opportunities and achieved success with drivers such as Robert Wickens, Antonio Felix da Costa, Alexander Sims and our current GP2 race winner, Richie Stanaway.

“We now look forward to finishing the 2015 GP2 and GP3 seasons on a high before mounting a robust GP2 title campaign in 2016.”

Both GP2 and GP3 return from a one-month break next weekend in support of the Formula 1 Russian Grand Prix.

Hakkinen: Verstappen is already “a real pro”

during a media interview at the Shanghai Grand Theatre prior to the 2015 Laureus World Sports Awards on April 15, 2015 in Shanghai, China.
© Getty Images
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Two-time Formula 1 world champion Mika Hakkinen has heaped praise upon Toro Rosso rookie Max Verstappen, supporting his decision to ignore team orders during last month’s Singapore Grand Prix.

Verstappen only turned 18 on Wednesday, but has already made a big impression on the F1 world during his first 14 races with his aggressive driving style and mature approach to racing.

In Singapore, Verstappen was told by Toro Rosso to let faster teammate Carlos Sainz Jr. go past, but refused to give up his position and eventually beat the Spaniard to finish eighth.

Writing in his Hermes blog, Hakkinen backed Verstappen’s decision to stay ahead and praised the Dutchman for his performances so far this season.

“A driver must be alert and keep track of what is happening around him at all times,” Hakkinen wrote. “That’s what Verstappen is. He does not simply let anyone pass if it’s not for the world championship, but only a few championship points.

“Verstappen is 18 years old, but the guy’s already a real pro. Young people are developing incredibly fast nowadays, and by that I don’t mean just drivers.”

Despite having more than half a season of F1 racing under his belt, Verstappen only gained his road driver’s license on his 18th birthday, having previously been under the age limit to drive a regular car in public.