Force India ends qualifying rut at Silverstone

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Force India has ended its poor run of form in qualifying to get both of its drivers in the top ten grid slots for tomorrow’s British Grand Prix.

Nico Hulkenberg will start the race from fourth place, three places ahead of Mexican teammate Sergio Perez. For the first time this season, both Force Indias will start inside the top ten, and it is the first time since the Chinese Grand Prix in April that either of its drivers are higher than P10.

Hulkenberg managed to take advantage of the changeable weather during qualifying to secure fourth place on the grid, and he made no secret of his delight after the session.

“That worked out really well for us and I’m very happy to come away with fourth place on the grid,” Hulkenberg said. “On days like this you just need to be in the right place, with good timing and a little bit of luck.

“The track conditions were changing so much and at the end of Q3 I’ve never seen a track dry so quickly. There were a few spots of rain in the middle of the session, but on my final lap it was completely dry.

“Fourth place sets us up nicely for tomorrow, but it’s hard to know exactly where we stand in terms of race pace.”

Perez’s qualifying form has been particularly patchy of late, having made Q3 just twice this season. However, he felt that he could have done better than seventh place today.

“Today leaves us with mixed feelings,” he explained. “It was very good to get both cars in Q3 and ahead of some of our most direct competitors. Had they offered us this result before the session, we would have been satisfied.

“However, it is also disappointing as we know we could have had an even better result. We were in P3 up to the last lap, but when the track improved and I went out for a last run I ran a bit wide in turn 12 and lost all the temperature from my tires.”

With Force India’s closest rivals – Williams and Ferrari – failing to make it past Q1 at Silverstone, tomorrow’s British Grand Prix presents a golden opportunity for Vijay Mallya’s team to jump up to third place in the constructors’ championship.

You can watch the British Grand Prix live on CNBC and Live Extra from 7:30am ET tomorrow.

Al Unser Jr. back in IndyCar after a decade away: ‘Life is very good’

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There’s been somewhat of a hole in Al Unser Jr.’s heart ever since he retired from racing in 2007.

It was a void, something was missing.

But now, after a decade away from racing, Unser has found the right medicine to fill that hole in his heart: he’s back in the racing game again.

No, he’s not driving again (although he does participate occasionally in vintage races), but the two-time Indianapolis 500 (1992 and 1994) winner is definitely back in the IndyCar world.

And he couldn’t be happier.

“For me, it’s a dream come true,” Unser told IndyCar.com. “Since I stepped out of the race car and retired from racing, there’s been something missing from my life, and it’s racing.”

Unser has hooked up with Harding Racing. The team competed in three races last season as a ramp-up for a full 17-race effort this season. While Unser’s official title with the team is “consultant,” he’s involved in so much more.

His main role is as a driving coach to 2015 IndyCar Rookie of the Year Gabby Chaves. But he’s also involved in so many other areas, including helping the team obtain sponsorships and much more.

He then added, “I’m involved in every sense of the word except actually driving the car. And I’m happy about that because I’m too old to drive the car.”

Unser, who won CART championships in 1990 and 1994, is now 55. He’s so involved with his new job that he even moved from his native New Mexico and has relocated to suburban Indianapolis.

Not only is it a new start for Unser, it also is for Chaves. After running all 16 races in 2015 for Bryan Herta Autosport with Curb-Agajanian, he competed in just seven races for Dale Coyne Racing in 2016 and only three races for Harding Racing last season.

But he definitely impressed the team, with a fifth- (Texas) and ninth-place (Indianapolis 500) finish in the first two races and 15th (Pocono) in the team’s final run of the season.

That’s why when Harding Racing decided to go fulltime in 2018, Chaves was their pick for behind the wheel. And Unser was their pick to help guide him to potential stardom in the series.

“(Team owner) Mike Harding is definitely a person that when he decides to do something, he does it right,” Unser told IndyCar.com. “The potential for this organization is through the sky. We’re all working really hard here and we see the potential.”

And as for Unser?

“Life is good, life is very good,” he told IndyCar.com. “We’re back full force, eager and better than ever.”

Click here for the full story about Unser from IndyCar.com.