Austria F1 GP Auto Racing

Austrian GP Paddock Notebook – Sunday

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SPIELBERG, AUSTRIA – And so ends the first Austrian Grand Prix weekend since 2003. After Williams threatened to spring a surprise and beat Mercedes fair and square, normal service was resumed in the race on Sunday as Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton secured a one-two for the Silver Arrows.

Although the win was by no means comfortable, it was certainly impressive. Both Rosberg and Hamilton proved that they can fight for victories in the W05 Hybrid, but Lewis will undoubtedly be left ruing his mistake in qualifying that left him ninth on the grid.

For the final time from Austria, here’s the full round-up in the Paddock Notebook.

RACE REPORT

  • The Red Bull Ring had one King today: Nico Rosberg. A mix of good strategy and searing pace saw him beat both of the Williams drivers and Lewis Hamilton to extend his lead at the top of the drivers’ standings.

NEWS FROM THE PADDOCK

THOUGHTS FROM THE TRACK

Maybe the result of the Austrian Grand Prix was not a surprise, but the fashion in which Mercedes claimed its sixth one-two finish of the season certainly was. Who would have thought that Williams would run them so closely this weekend?

Ultimately, the fairytale ending wasn’t to be. The Silver Arrows once again reigned supreme, with Nico Rosberg emerging as the victor in the latest episode of “The Nico and Lewis Show”. However, Hamilton was left lamenting two slow pit stops which he felt could have given him a shot at victory. Frankly, though, it was his mistake in qualifying yesterday that really lost him the grand prix.

Let’s be fair to Lewis, though. It was a titanic drive that he has constantly shown he is capable of. On the first lap, he shot up from ninth to fifth, and then picked off Fernando Alonso on lap two. There’s no denying that he is a true racer, perhaps even more so than his teammate.

It is Nico who comes away from the Red Bull Ring with the biggest smile, though. His championship lead has been extended to 29 points, meaning that even with a DNF and a win for Hamilton, he will still lead. With this win, he also surpasses the number of races that Keke Rosberg – his father – won during his F1 career. One journalist asked Nico if he’d grow a moustache like his Dad if he won the title. The response: “Maybe!”

In the final few laps of the race, the TV coverage showed a thank you message from Bernie Ecclestone to Dietrich Mateschitz on the track at turn one (superimposed, don’t worry!). As odd as it may have been, the sentiment is spot on. This weekend, Red Bull – the brand, not the team – has shown the F1 world how it should be done. Lower ticket prices, packed grandstands, wonderful hospitality, great racing – the other circuit promoters should take note. So, from someone far poorer and a bit taller than Bernie, thank you, Dietrich.

Last night, I spoke to a local in a bar at my hotel. In broken English, he explained to me how F1 had been away for so long, and how it was great to be back. “Mateschitz!” he cried, smiling and giving a big thumbs up. I think it’s a feeling shared by everyone who came to the Red Bull Ring this weekend.

So from Austria we head to England for the British Grand Prix at Silverstone. With the majority of teams based near the circuit, it is the homeliest of home races, and usually puts on a show.

The Silver Arrows might be ahead once again, but the challengers are beginning to make themselves known.

Verstappen disappointed with himself after Monaco crash

MONTE-CARLO, MONACO - MAY 29: Max Verstappen of the Netherlands driving the (33) Red Bull Racing Red Bull-TAG Heuer RB12 TAG Heuer on track during the Monaco Formula One Grand Prix at Circuit de Monaco on May 29, 2016 in Monte-Carlo, Monaco.  (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)
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Max Verstappen admitted that he felt disappointed with himself after crashing out of Sunday’s Monaco Grand Prix in his second race for Red Bull.

Two weeks on from his stunning victory in Spain, Verstappen endured a tough weekend in Monaco that saw him suffer three crashes.

A shunt in qualifying meant he had to start the race from the pit lane, but he made the most of the inclement conditions early on by switching tire to run inside the top 10.

However, a mistake at Massenet on lap 34 sent him careering into the barrier and out of the race, ending his hopes of a fightback to points.

“Disappointed in myself and disappointed for the team, because they worked very hard to get the car ready and I didn’t give them the result they deserved today,” Verstappen said.

“We were in a good way, we were in the points and to start from the pit lane and end in the points would have been very good, but I learned from this and hopefully we can come back stronger in Canada.

“It was pretty tricky especially in the beginning of the race it was a very slippery track. It got better and better, the track was drying, and I think from then on we had great pace and I was overtaking cars, charging through the field and everything felt well.

“Then we put the softs on and I locked up. Unfortunately I went a bit off-line and of course then you arrive in the wet area and I was a passenger from there on.

“That’s racing in the end, it can go up and down very quickly but you shouldn’t back off because of this you should keep positive, keep pushing.

“I learn a lot from those moments as well and I’m already focusing on Canada now and leaving Monaco behind.”

Bell, Hunter-Reay crash in pit lane battling for Indy 500 lead

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MAY 27:  Ryan Hunter-Reay, driver of the #28 Andretti Autosport Honda Dallara, practices during Carb Day ahead of the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motorspeedway on May 27, 2016 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
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Ryan Hunter-Reay and Townsend Bell’s hopes of winning the 100th Indianapolis 500 for Andretti Autosport were dashed after coming together in the pit lane when battling for the lead of the race.

Following a caution period called for crashes involving Mikhail Aleshin and Conor Daly, the majority of the field dived into the pits for the fifth round of pit stops.

Both Hunter-Reay and Bell had been running inside the top three before the caution, battling with Tony Kanaan, James Hinchcliffe and Helio Castroneves for the lead of the race.

On the race off pit road, Bell’s car was released into the path of the oncoming Castroneves, resulting in contact.

Bell’s car was sent into Hunter-Reay just as he was released, leaving both pointing the pit wall nose-first.

Only one crew member was in the line of fire, but he managed to jump out of the way quickly. A tire was also hit, but did not come off the ground, meaning no-one in the area was hurt.

Bell was assessed a penalty for the incident, unsafe release:

Andretti was forced to wheel both of its cars back to their pit boxes, costing both drivers time before they were sent back out again. At the time of writing, Hunter-Reay and Bell now run P25 and P26 respectively and are battling to remain on the lead lap.

Castroneves leads halfway; Karam crashes out on Lap 94 at Indy 500

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MAY 27:  Helio Castroneves #3 of Brazil watches alongside owner Roger Penske during Carb Day ahead of the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motorspeedway on May 27, 2016 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
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INDIANAPOLIS – Thus far the quartet of Ryan Hunter-Reay, James Hinchcliffe, Townsend Bell and Josef Newgarden have had the strongest cars in the 100th Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil.

But it’s Helio Castroneves who now leads at the 100-lap mark, as he did last year, following the fourth round of pit stops. He’s in search of his fourth Indy 500 win.

Prior to Lap 100, Bryan Clauson was out front. Clauson went a lap down early and has not made his fourth pit stop yet in the No. 88 Cancer Treatment Centers of America Honda for Dale Coyne Racing. But courtesy of a typically-cagey Coyne strategy play, he was nearly out front for this historic moment in the longest Indianapolis 500 outing of his three starts thus far.

There’s already been 31 lead changes – other leaders include Hunter-Reay who’s led a race high 44 laps, Hinchcliffe, who’s led 26, then Will Power (8 laps led), Bell (8), Castroneves (6), Clauson (3), Newgarden (2), Sage Karam (2) and Carlos Munoz (1).

Just prior to halfway, Sage Karam’s strong run from 23rd up to seventh came to a crashing halt in Turn 2. The driver of the No. 24 Gas Monkey Energy Chevrolet for DRR-Kingdom Racing appeared to get pinched in Turn 1 by Bell – who also made a similarly tight move on Newgarden – then hit the wall and careened through to Turn 2.

Karam’s accident means he’s the second car officially out of the race, along withe defending race winner Juan Pablo Montoya.

At Lap 100 the order is below:

500halfway

Defending Indy 500 winner Juan Pablo Montoya wrecks out on Lap 64

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MAY 27:  Juan Pablo Montoya of Columbia, driver of the #2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet,   drives  on Carb Day ahead of the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motorspeedway on May 27, 2016 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
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Juan Pablo Montoya will not be the first driver to go back-to-back as winner of the Indianapolis 500 since 2002.

The defending Indy 500 winner wrecked out of the 100th running of the race on Lap 64. Montoya’s silver No. 2 Chevrolet got loose in Turn 2, spun around and hit the outside wall with his left front.

“I just got loose and lost the car,” Montoya told ABC. “It’s just difficult, people were doing a lot dumb things on the restarts and I felt it was not necessary. So I took my time and started coming through the field and the car felt pretty good. It just stepped out of nowhere.”

Montoya, who started 17th, was running in 19th when the single-car accident occurred. The two-time winner of the “500” was cleared and released from the infield care center.

The crash caused the second caution of the race after an early debris caution.