Canadian F1 Grand Prix - Qualifying

Alonso hoping to beat Williams, Red Bull on Sunday

1 Comment

Fernando Alonso has set his sights on beating both Williams and Red Bull drivers in tomorrow’s Canadian Grand Prix despite being outqualified by them on Saturday in Montreal.

Alonso seemed to struggle throughout qualifying today, and could only finish seventh in the final session behind the Mercedes, Williams and Red Bull drivers. Even though he will start from so far back, the Spaniard was still pleased with his lap.

“I think it was the limit, the lap was very very good,” Alonso explaiend. “We crossed the line and there are six cars faster than us, they were faster than us all through qualifying so it wasn’t as if all of a sudden they are there.

“We were 12th in Q1 in the first run so it was a difficult Saturday for us and it means we were not fast enough. The new parts yesterday they worked OK and I felt the car better and it improved, so I’m happy with those and I know there’s more coming at the next races to hopefully put us in a better position.”

Alonso admitted that he was surprised by Williams’ pace in Montreal, with Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa qualifying fourth and fifth respectively. However, he still thinks that he can fight to beat them and the Red Bulls of Sebastian Vettel (P3) and Daniel Ricciardo (P6).

“Surprisingly good [were] Williams here, Red Bull have been very good, we want to fight for the second place in the constructors with Red Bull so we’d like to finish in front of them if we can.

“Degradation of the tires will be important for the race and we need to manage that as much as we can and choose the right time to stop, especially with the temperature change today, we need to be clever with that. We need to finish the race and score points, hopefully in front of our competitors.”

Alonso currently sits third in the drivers’ championship behind the two Mercedes drivers, and although he won’t be able to challenge for a third title this year, he will certainly be hoping to taste the winner’s champagne at some point this season.

IndyCar 2015 Driver Review: Gabby Chaves

Gabby Chaves
Leave a comment

MotorSportsTalk continues its run through the driver-by-driver field in the Verizon IndyCar Series. In 15th and the rookie-of-the-year for 2015, was Gabby Chaves.

Gabby Chaves, No. 98 Bryan Herta Autosport Honda

  • 2014: Indy Lights champion
  • 2015: 15th Place, Best Finish 9th, Best Start 12th, 0 Top-5, 2 Top-10, 31 Laps Led, 19.3 Avg. Start, 14.4 Avg. Finish

Some drivers finish better than their performances show. Some drivers have performances better than their results show. The latter statement applied to Gabby Chaves in his rookie year, in what was an impressive first season after making the step up from Indy Lights, which deservedly earned him rookie-of-the-year honors.

The best comparison I’d make for Gabby is of Josef Newgarden in 2012 with Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing, a first-year driver on a single-car, newish team to the series.

Chaves rarely dazzled in qualifying but that wasn’t his fault; he and engineer John Dick worked well together and Chaves recounted multiple times this year that a tweak here or tweak there, the wrong way, on the aero kit would send them down the wrong setup path.

Results in races didn’t measure up either but again that was through almost no fault of his own. The only time Chaves looked truly like a rookie was at St. Pete, when he had several collisions. Otherwise he was ahead of eventual winner James Hinchcliffe at NOLA before getting punted off, reliable through the month of May in Indianapolis, finally able to break through for a ninth place in Detroit race two, overachieving in Texas, 11th at Milwaukee after some great wheel-to-wheel racing with series winners and champions, and then phenomenal at Pocono as he was on course for a first career win or podium before late-race engine issues – his first DNF of the season.

For both Chaves and Herta, you’d love to see them together for another season, and the results and confidence for both parties will grow as a result. Those who’ve seen Newgarden’s rise over four years with Fisher and now CFH will note the long-term stability, and that’s what Chaves could do if he gets the time.

He planted the seed of being a great IndyCar driver, and he became pretty versatile during the year too with additional appearances in the DeltaWing prototype, a short-track midget and one of Herta’s Red Bull Global Rallycross cars. To boot, he’s a smart, great kid who is mature beyond his years, and someone you should be buying stock in now. Anyone who saw Chaves in the Mazda Road to Indy should not have been surprised by his rookie season in the big cars.

Off The Grid: Monza preview (premieres Saturday 10/10 on NBCSN)

F1 Grand Prix of Italy
© Getty Images
Leave a comment

Having already taken you behind the scenes in Barcelona, Budapest, Singapore, Melbourne and Silverstone, Will Buxton and Jason Swales now head to one of Formula 1’s most iconic venues for the latest episode of Off The Grid.

Monza has appeared in all but one F1 season since the formation of the world championship in 1950, and is a firm favorite among drivers, teams and fans alike.

However, there is far more to the Italian Grand Prix than meets the eye, as we find out in Saturday’s premiere of Off The Grid: Monza at 9:30am ET (follows Russian GP qualifying).

Having honed his talents in go-karts as a kid, Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo is now trying to pass on his knowledge to the next generation of racers. But can he teach Will or Jason a thing or two?

We also catch up with Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg and get a feel for life on the road as he takes us for a tour of his lavish bus in which he travels in for the European F1 races.

Have you ever wondered just how the suits F1 drivers wear are made? We go behind the scenes at Alpine Stars’ factory in Italy and find out.

Off The Grid: Monza premieres on Saturday at 9:30am ET on NBCSN following Russian GP qualifying.