Kamui Kobayashi

Kobayashi takes gearbox penalty, Maldonado reprimanded

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Kamui Kobayashi will take a five place grid penalty for tomorrow’s Canadian Grand Prix after changing his gearbox ahead of qualifying today.

The Caterham driver was forced to pull over at the side of the track during the final free practice session in Montreal due to a problem on his car. Changing the gearbox did remedy this, but it means that he will start tomorrow’s race from the back of the grid after qualifying down in 20th position.

“In qualifying we did two runs on the super-softs, but the red flag at the end of the session meant I couldn’t improve my time,” Kobayashi explained. “We’d made a bit more progress since FP3 and the balance was better, so on my last quick lap I made up a tenth in the first two corners, but then had to abort that run so finished in 20th.

“With the grid penalty we have to take for the gearbox change over lunch I’ll start at the back of the grid and all I can do is fight.

“Everyone in the team keeps doing that, even in a tough weekend like we’re having here, and as we saw at the last race, anything can happen and we need to be there if and when it counts tomorrow.”

Kobayashi’s penalty only adds to a miserable weekend for Caterham, who saw Marcus Ericsson spin off during the final part of Q1 today and qualify down in 21st place.

Pastor Maldonado has also been handed a reprimand by the stewards for failing to correctly put his steering wheel back in his car. The Lotus driver parked up at the end of Q1, but did not put his steering wheel back in. The offence may seem to be relative minor, but the stewards do not look too kindly on it.

Interestingly, this is only Maldonado’s first reprimand of the 2014 season.

Bottas confident after strong qualifying in Sochi

SOCHI, RUSSIA - OCTOBER 10:  Valtteri Bottas of Finland and Williams drives during qualifying for the Formula One Grand Prix of Russia at Sochi Autodrom on October 10, 2015 in Sochi, Russia.  (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)
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Valtteri Bottas is confident of scoring a good result in tomorrow’s Russian Grand Prix after qualifying third at the Sochi Autodrom on Saturday.

Bottas finished as the ‘best of the rest’ in Q3 behind the leading Mercedes duo of Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton, beating the Ferrari drivers to secure P3 for the start of tomorrow’s race.

After a difficult run of form, Bottas believes that he can capitalize on this good qualifying result and make the most of the Williams car’s suitability to the track in Sochi.

“It was a strong job by the team today,” Bottas said. “We managed to set-up the car well and maximize our performance.

“I felt very good in the car all day and managed to get in a rhythm quickly and put in consistent lap times despite the limited number of laps we had completed in practice.

“Tomorrow is where it really matters but I have put myself in a very good position to capitalize.”

Bottas’ teammate, Felipe Massa, was less impressive in qualifying as a mistake and traffic caused him to drop out in Q2, finishing P15.

“I made a mistake at turn eight in my first timed lap in Q2, and then in my final two attempts I came up against a lot of traffic which lost me a lot of time,” Massa explained.

“On my final run my tires were gone at the rear and that was the end of my chances. It’s a shame and I’m very disappointed, but I have a quick car around here so we need to have a good strategy and use our pace to move up into the points tomorrow.”

The Russian Grand Prix is live on NBCSN and Live Extra from 6:30am ET on Sunday.

GP2: Rossi victorious again in shortened Sochi opener

2015 GP2 Series Round 9. Sochi Autodrom, Sochi, Russia. 
Saturday 10 October 2015. 
Alexander Rossi (USA, Racing Engineering) celebrates his win on the podium.
Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Series Media Service. 
ref: Digital Image _SBL3610
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Alexander Rossi claimed his third win in as many GP2 Series rounds in Saturday’s feature race at the Sochi Autodrom.

Since winning the last feature race at Monza in Italy, Rossi has made his Formula 1 debut with Manor and also raced for the team at the iconic Suzuka Circuit in Japan.

As part of his deal with Manor, Rossi has returned to GP2 for this weekend’s round in Russia as he bids to finish as runner-up to impending series champion Stoffel Vandoorne.

Vandoorne was expected to be crowned champion on Saturday, but Rossi managed to delay the Belgian’s celebrations by storming to victory as darkness forced officials to shorten the race.

Carnage on the first lap saw four drivers retire from the race, with damage caused to the barrier at turn 3 by Jordan King resulted in a 30 minute red flag delay.

Once the race restarted, a shortened distance of 15 laps was confirmed, but full points were still to be awarded.

Pole-sitter Alex Lynn managed to pull clear through the first stint, and after falling behind Rossi in the first round of pit stops, the DAMS driver regained the advantage soon after.

However, when Lynn crashed out, Rossi was able to pull clear of the chasing Pierre Gasly and Vandoorne just behind to record his third win in as many race weekends by three seconds.

Rossi will start tomorrow’s sprint race from eighth place on the grid which is reversed, handing pole to Frenchman Arthur Pic who finished P8 on Saturday.

You will be able to read all about Alexander’s success in his exclusive NBC Sports blog on Wednesday. To read his pre-Sochi thoughts, click here.