IndyCar: Kimball survives late-race battle, gets Top-5

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Teammates Simon Pagenaud and Mikhail Aleshin pulled away late in today’s Race 2 of the Shell/Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston, but that didn’t mean the conclusion was quiet.

For those jostling for position around the fourth, fifth, and sixth range, it was close-quarters combat around the narrow NRG Park street circuit. And Charlie Kimball was right in the middle of it.

Kimball, Jack Hawksworth, and Juan Pablo Montoya fought each other tooth-and-nail and with it came several close calls.

Eventually, Hawksworth was able to grab third place after Will Power suffered an apparent suspension failure that relegated him to a finish outside the Top 10.

As for Kimball, he held on for fourth place, which is his best result since finishing on the podium (third) in Race 2 of the first 2014 doubleheader in Detroit.

It was also a good recovery from yesterday’s Race 1, which had Kimball collected by Chip Ganassi Racing teammate Scott Dixon in an incident at Turn 9.

“The Novo Nordisk team worked really hard last night to get the car fixed from yesterday’s sort of incidental contact that took us out yesterday,” Kimball told NBCSN.

“…It was pretty tough racing with Juan and the 98 car [Hawksworth] – I really enjoyed racing the 2 car [Montoya] – but at the end, to come home with a Top 5 and finish fourth, I’ll take that for sure. It was wheel-to-wheel and then some.”

As for dealing with the hot, humid conditions throughout the weekend in Houston, Kimball believed he held up well. He also hailed Houston race organizers for addressing the track issues that plagued their event last October.

“It was pretty hot – it’s the humidity that really gets you,” he said. “But overall, I feel really good…I’d be ready to go do it again tomorrow.

“We had a lot of fun. The track’s rubbering in – a lot of credit to the Shell/Pennzoil [Grand Prix of Houston], they did a lot of work since last year and made the track really raceable and a lot of fun for us.”

Formula One: Recapping the past week’s news

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While the FIA Formula 1 World Championship is still two months away from beginning its 2018 season, this past week did bring about news items that filled out the 2018 grid and shed some light on individual team and car launches as the season-opening Australian Grand Prix draws closer.

Below is a recap of F1 news from this past week:

Williams Signs Sirotkin for 2018 Drive, Names Kubica as Reserve Driver

The saga of the second seat at Williams Martini Racing was finally resolved early on in the week, with former Renault Sport F1 Team test driver Sergey Sirotkin officially confirmed as a teammate to the incumbent Lance Stroll in 2018.

The announcement concluded months of speculation that saw multiple drivers test for the team in an auditioning capacity. Most notably, Robert Kubica looked to be a main contender for the seat before Sirotkin emerged as the favorite.

However, Kubica, who has not raced in Formula 1 since a devastating rally accident in 2011 left him with brutal injuries to his right arm, was named as a reserve and development driver for the team.

This announcement also completes the 2018 Formula 1 driver lineup, with all 11 teams having their seats now filled. Among those who were left without F1 drives are Paul Di Resta, who drove for Williams at the Hungarian Grand Prix in relief of Felipe Massa and even tested with them during the Winter months, and Antonio Giovinazzi, who filled in for Pascal Wehrlein at the Australian and Chinese Grands Prix.

Former Red Bull Racing and Scuderia Toro Rosso driver Daniil Kvyat is also without a race seat for 2018, but did sign on with Scuderia Ferrari as a development driver.

Mercedes, McLaren Reveal Dates for Their 2018 Car Launches

While most teams have not yet released dates for when their 2018 cars will be publicly launched, three notables have.

Mercedes AMG Petronas will introduce its 2018 challenger on February 22nd, the same day Ferrari is doing so, while McLaren will unveil its car one day later on the 23rd.

Testing will commence on February 26th at Circuit de Catalunya.

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