After securing his fifth pole position in six races during qualifying yesterday, Nico Rosberg has a golden opportunity to extend his lead at the top of the drivers’ championship following Lewis Hamilton’s engine fire.
The Briton’s Mercedes W05 car suffered a fuel leak during the first part of qualifying, forcing him to pull over at the side of the track. Hamilton will start the race from the pit lane after the team changed the gearbox, engine and chassis in the wake of the blaze.
However, Rosberg did not have it all his own way. He still had to pull out at perfect final lap in Q3 to see off the challenge of Sebastian Vettel and Valtteri Bottas, who will start second and third respectively.
Daniel Ricciardo will start fourth ahead of Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso, but the Spaniard’s teammate, Kimi Raikkonen, was less fortunate. A strategy error by the team meant that he was knocked out in Q1 by Marussia’s Jules Bianchi. However, with rain forecast, both he and Hamilton may still be able to salvage some points from the weekend.
You can watch the Hungarian Grand Prix live on CNBC and Live Extra from 7:30am ET.
FROM THE STEWARDS’ OFFICE
Lewis Hamilton will start the race from the pit lane after Mercedes changed the gearbox, engine and chassis on his car. The Briton is permitted to start despite missing the 107% rule.
Pastor Maldonado has also been permitted to start after he too pulled off to the side of the track without setting a time in Q1. He also took a gearbox penalty, but as he cannot move any further back, he remains in 20th position.
Kevin Magnussen will start from the pit lane after a crash in Q3 left him requiring a rebuild. He will start ahead of Hamilton, though.
2014 HUNGARIAN GRAND PRIX STARTING GRID
1. Nico Rosberg Mercedes
2. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull
3. Valtteri Bottas Williams
4. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull
5. Fernando Alonso Ferrari
6. Felipe Massa Williams
7. Jenson Button McLaren
8. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso
9. Nico Hulkenberg Force India
10. Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso
11. Adrian Sutil Sauber
12. Sergio Perez Force India
13. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber
14. Romain Grosjean Lotus
15. Jules Bianchi Marussia
16. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari
17. Kamui Kobayashi Caterham
18. Max Chilton Marussia
19. Marcus Ericsson Caterham
20. Pastor Maldonado Lotus
PL. Kevin Magnussen McLaren
PL. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes
The two-day Chris Griffis Memorial Mazda Road to Indy Test concluded on Sunday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.
Combined times after the two days of running are below, with Nico Jamin (Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires) and Oliver Askew (Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires) remaining on top from Saturday to Sunday, and Darren Keane (Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda) supplanting Andres Gutierrez at the head of that field.
Previous notebooks are linked here (Friday, Saturday), with additional Sunday notes to follow.
Several drivers pulled double duty between series, namely Parker Thompson (Exclusive Autosport in Pro Mazda and USF2000), Carlos Cunha (Juncos Racing in Indy Lights and Pro Mazda) and Aaron Telitz (Team Pelfrey in Pro Mazda, RJB Motorsports in USF2000). Telitz (above) added a run in Pro Mazda in Team Pelfrey’s No. 82 car; the Wisconsinite has done a lot of the series’ testing for the new Pro Mazda Tatuus PM-18, and had hoped to run all three series. We’ll have more meanwhile on Thompson and Exclusive’s double in the days to come; the Michael Duncalfe-led team out of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan was one of three new Pro Mazda teams adding those cars to USF2000 efforts (Pabst Racing, BN Racing) this week.
There were a handful of drivers that changed cars or teams for Sunday’s second day of the test, primarily in USF2000. While Keane ran both days at Newman Wachs, the Brian Halahan-managed team ran David Osborne and Oscar DeLuzuriaga in the Nos. 37 and 38 cars, taking over from Jake Craig and Max Peichel. Osborne switched from Team Pelfrey, where he ran Saturday, and where Jacob Loomis ran Sunday. Justin Gordon ran a second Exclusive Autosport chassis, switching to the No. 90 on Sunday after running the No. 92 Saturday.
The PM-18 best lap set by Askew is more than three seconds faster than the series’ official track record (Pato O’Ward in 2016, at 1:22.8800, 105.941 mph). Askew’s best time of 1:19.8142 averages 110.010 mph around the 2.439-mile circuit. Neither the Indy Lights nor USF2000 cars eclipsed the existing lap records in those categories.
Drivers largely extolled the PM-18’s outright pace and potential with the horsepower upgrade, in what is a significant step forward for the series. “Following prototype testing of the new PM-18, I believed that we had a special race car and this weekend’s testing confirms that,” said Dan Andersen, Owner and CEO of Andersen Promotions. “Based on team and driver comments, this is a fantastic race car and I am very pleased with what Tatuus, Elite Engines and my team have assembled. It fits perfectly in between the USF-17 and the IL-15 in terms of lap times and, more importantly, it takes what a driver learns in the first step and introduces higher HP, higher grip and higher aero. This will be a great training car for years to come, and seeing our program now with three excellent and well-designed cars is very satisfying to me.”
Keane, one of the few veterans (relatively speaking) within USF2000 was plugged in this weekend as the only driver outside Pabst Racing to threaten the top of the timesheets. “It’s a good boost in confidence for me heading into next year. I am really happy with how everything is going with the team. They are a great group of guys and it’s just really good to see us improving and being where we want to be,” he said.
Rinus Veekay hailed the Indy Lights Dallara IL-15 Mazda this weekend in his first test there, although the talented Dutch teenager may well focus on Pro Mazda next season and shoot to win that championship, and continue his battle with Askew established in USF2000. “The car is very nice, quick,” noted VeeKay. “You can really feel the downforce and it was a pleasure to drive.”
The MRTI is done with official running for the year, but the $200,000 MRTI Scholarship Shootout remains in December at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park, the former Firebird Raceway, outside Phoenix. The winner of that will get a ticket into USF2000 for the 2018 season.
Full MRTI spring training will take place at Homestead-Miami Speedway in February 2018, with undoubtedly a bevy of driver and team announcements to come over the following months.