Sutil feeling confident about Hungary and his F1 future

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Adrian Sutil feels confident that Sauber is making some good progress up the grid this season following a successful German Grand Prix at Hockenheim last weekend.

The German driver retired from the race after a spin, but was wholly pleased with the weekend and the pace that he had underneath him. Although the season hasn’t gone to plan so far, he is feeling optimistic for the future.

“It would be nice to have some more success and some better results, but the situation is like that,” Sutil explained to the media on Thursday. “Formula 1 goes up and down sometimes, you have to get up again, that’s what we’re trying. It’s quite encouraging to have the last race at Hockenheim, we were much closer and finally we could fight against better teams.

“If you look at it optimistically, there was a chance for a point. Of course, a few cars didn’t finish, but we were just able to race. We raced with Raikkonen in the Ferrari, with Toro Rosso, with Force India. It was much better, and the whole weekend in general, we were much closer to the top ten. I expect a better final half of the season.”

Sutil was rumored to be on his way out of Sauber for the race at Hockenheim, giving reserve driver Giedo van der Garde a chance to step up. However, he is not bothered about the speculation and made light of it in Hungary.

“I think for half of my career they said ‘Adrian is out’ – I’m still here, 120th grand prix, any more questions?” he joked. “I’ll be here for much longer, so sorry, but you’ll have to live with my face!

“We are good here, and the team is holding together in this time. This is no problem.

“We will try to get out of this difficult situation, I am sure, then you can also write some good stuff about us.”

F1 Mexican Grand Prix on NBC, NBCSN, App this week

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Lewis Hamilton is poised to wrap his fourth Formula 1 World Championship early at this weekend’s Mexican Grand Prix, as NBC Sports covers the 18th of 20 rounds this season from the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico City.

Expanded TV coverage comes this weekend on NBC, NBCSN and the NBC Sports App.

All sessions will air live. Both Friday practice sessions are live on NBCSN at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. ET. Saturday third practice airs live via the NBC Sports App at 11 a.m. ET with a practice replay show at 12:30 p.m. before live qualifying at 2 p.m. ET, those two on NBCSN.

On Sunday, race day, F1 Countdown starts at 2:30 p.m. ET on NBC leading to lights out and the race at 3 p.m. ET. Post-race coverage continues on NBC for one hour, from 5 to 6 p.m. ET.

Mercedes AMG Petronas has won both Mexican Grands Prix since the race was reinstated in 2015 after a 23-year hiatus. Nico Rosberg won in 2015 a race after Hamilton had clinched that year’s title, while Hamilton won last year in a 1-2 with Rosberg continuing to close on his first title.

Controversy reined about third place in Mexico last year with all of Sebastian Vettel, Max Verstappen and ultimately Daniel Ricciardo ending in third, Ricciardo getting the podium after post-race penalties were assessed to the other two. Valtteri Bottas is the other active podium finisher in Mexico, having come third in 2015 with Williams.

Vettel enters Mexico 66 points behind Hamilton and can only keep the title alive to Brazil if he gets the gap under 50 points; any top-five finish for Hamilton will ensure the Englishman equals Vettel on four titles. So if Vettel doesn’t finish first or second, he can’t score enough points (either 25 or 18) to get that gap under 50 markers.

Last year’s race featured a bit of a “Noah’s Ark” finishing order with just the top five teams in the championship scoring points at this race, almost in descending order of just two-by-two. It was two Mercedes, then two Red Bulls, then two Ferraris, then Nico Hulkenberg’s Force India before the two Williams, and finally hometown hero Sergio Perez in the second Force India.

Perez is the lone home favorite this race with Esteban Gutierrez not on the grid this season.

Here’s the F1 schedule, with stream links and TV network if applicable:

  • Practice 1: Friday, Oct. 27, 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. ET (NBCSN)
  • Practice 2: Friday, Oct. 27, 3 p.m.-4:30 p.m. ET (NBCSN)
  • Practice 3: Saturday, Oct. 28, 11 a.m.-12 p.m. ET (Streaming)
  • Practice 3 (Replay): Saturday, Oct. 28, 12:30 p.m.-2 p.m. ET (NBCSN)
  • Qualifying: Saturday, Oct. 28, 2 p.m.-3:45 p.m. ET (NBCSN)
  • Pre-Race: Sunday, Oct. 29, 2:30 p.m.-3 p.m. ET (NBC)
  • Race: Sunday, Oct. 29, 3 p.m.-5 p.m. ET (NBC)
  • Post-Race: Sunday, Oct. 29, 5 p.m.-6 p.m. ET (NBC)
  • Race (Replay): Sunday, Oct. 29, 8:30 p.m.-10:30 p.m. ET (NBCSN)

The next race is the Brazilian Grand Prix, on November 12.