IndyCar: Power, Pagenaud fittingly part of #IndyRivals launch (VIDEO)

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One of the more recurring knocks against the Verizon IndyCar Series in recent years is the perceived lack of rivalries – or, at least, rivalries with a distinct bitterness between drivers and/or teams.

However, one such rivalry appears to have emerged between Will Power and Simon Pagenaud, who collided with each other earlier this season at Long Beach and did the same in yesterday’s first race of the Chevrolet Indy Dual in Detroit.

Early on yesterday, Power’s car appeared to drift toward the outside at Turn 6, then made contact with the front end of Pagenaud’s car and left it with suspension damage.

The two have had differing opinions on that incident, and for today’s second race of the weekend (3:30 p.m. ET, check local listings), they’ll be starting together in Row 4.

Naturally, IndyCar has chosen to feature Power and Pagenaud prominently in their launch campaign for the social media hashtag #IndyRivals.

With Muse’s pulse-quickening “Knights of Cydonia” in the background, Pagenaud delivers a commentary on the pressures of IndyCar racing over a montage of close racing and gnarly crashes. You can check out the clip above.

F1 2017 driver review: Esteban Ocon

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Esteban Ocon

Team: Sahara Force India
Car No.: 31
Races: 20
Wins: 0
Podiums: 0
Best Finish: P5 (Spain, Mexico)
Pole Positions: 0
Fastest Laps: 0
Points: 87
Championship Position: 8th

A shining star in Mercedes’ junior programme, Esteban Ocon vaulted fellow youngster Pascal Wehrlein in the pecking order to secure a seat at Force India for 2017 – and boy, did he live up to the hype.

Ocon arrived at Force India with half a season of racing under his belt after his outings with Manor late in 2016, but wasted little time in settling in, scoring points on debut in Australia after winning a thrilling three-way fight with Nico Hulkenberg and Fernando Alonso.

The Frenchman spent much of the year close to teammate Sergio Perez – even if things did get a little too close in Canada, Baku and, finally, Spa, prompting the team to introduce team orders – and impressed the entire paddock with his displays.

While no podium was forthcoming, Ocon was often leading the midfield fight, enjoying three straight finishes ahead of Perez from Japan to Mexico. Given how well Perez is rated on-track in the paddock, to have convincingly beaten him in such fashion did a lot for Ocon’s reputation.

The term ‘Oconsistency’ also came into F1’s dictionary as he set a new record for consecutive finishes from his first race, with his retirement in Brazil ending the streak at 27 grands prix. It was also his first retirement in a single-seater race since the 2014 Macau Grand Prix.

The highlight moment arguably came at Monza, though, when Ocon stuck his Force India third on the grid through torrential rain in qualifying. While he would drop to P6 at the checkered flag, the display nevertheless cemented his place as one of F1’s rising stars.

Mercedes rates Ocon very highly, and with Valtteri Bottas’ future beyond 2018 already being questioned by the paddock, a good season could see the youngster move on up to the top table of F1 for 2019. His progression in the next 12 months will be fascinating to keep track of.

Season High: Lining up P3 on the grid at Monza after a rainy qualifying.

Season Low: Clashing with Perez in Baku, costing Force India a possible podium.