Jules Bianchi has impressed behind the wheel of the Marussia MR03 once again in qualifying for the Belgian Grand Prix today after getting into Q2 for the second year in a row at Spa.
The French youngster qualified 16th on the grid for tomorrow’s race, pushing bigger names such as Nico Hulkenberg and Pastor Maldonado out of the shootout at the first hurdle.
Bianchi also managed to get into Q2 at last year’s race in wet conditions, and it holds a special meaning for him at this circuit given that it was the sight of many victories for his great-uncle, Lucien.
“I’m really happy to make it through to Q2 again, especially as it repeats a good performance here last year,” Bianchi said after the session. “I love this track and it’s also very special to me personally, so it is always a really nice feeling to do well here.
“I was a little surprised that we had such a strong qualifying, simply because the tricky conditions were the same for everyone, yet we have fared better than some of the teams further up the grid, finishing ahead of a Lotus, a Force India and a Sauber.
“I’m really pleased for the team as this is a nice reward for them and I hope we can carry it through to the race now.”
It has been a rather chaotic weekend for Marussia at Spa. On Thursday, the team announced that American driver Alexander Rossi would be replacing Max Chilton for the weekend until the Briton’s contractual issues had been resolved. However, it then performed a u-turn and said that Chilton had been reinstated as of FP2 on Friday. Chilton’s comments have also raised some concerns about the future of the team.
On Saturday at Spa though, Bianchi certainly brought the team some much-needed good news.
You can watch the Belgian Grand Prix live on NBCSN and Live Extra from 7.30am ET tomorrow.
MotoGP star Valentino Rossi has been discharged from hospital after suffering injuries in a motorcross accident earlier this week.
Nine-time motorcycling world champion Rossi was diagnosed with “mild thoracic and abdominal trauma” after the accident on Thursday morning, resulting in his admission to the Ospedale Infermi in Rimini, Italy.
The hospital noted in a statement that there were “no fractures detected in any part of the body and no serious traumatic pathologies”, with Rossi recovering overnight with pain relief.
On Friday, a further statement was issued confirming that Rossi had been discharged from hospital.
“Valentino Rossi has returned home from the Ospedale Infermi in Rimini, having successfully completed routine diagnostic tests that were scheduled earlier on Friday,” the statement reads.
“With the attending doctors confirming the findings shared in this morning‘s medical bulletin, the nine-time World Champion left the hospital at 5.30pm, accompanied by his staff.
“He will now continue the recovery process at home.”
The Yamaha rider’s next racing engagement comes next weekend with the Italian Grand Prix at Mugello.
Lewis Hamilton and Sebastien Vettel are the two most decorated drivers currently on the Formula 1 grid, with seven World Championships between them (four for Vettel, and three for Hamilton).
However, their paths have rarely crossed on the track, and only in 2010 did both drivers battle each for a World Championship in the same year. They also battled Fernando Alonso and Mark Webber that year, with Vettel emerging on top to claim his first World Championship.
However, the 2017 season sees Hamilton and Vettel in the two best cars on the grid, and they have gone head-to-head multiple times already this year, with each claiming two victories through the first five races. Currently, Vettel leads Hamilton 104-98 in the world championship, and the two men are developing a strong on-track rivalry.
Monaco Grand Prix coverage continues with FP3 and qualifying on Saturday. Full times are linked here.
In Friday’s NASCAR AMERICA Motorsports Special on NBCSN, we take you behind the scenes during F1 superstar Fernando Alonso’s qualifying runs for the Indy 500, including when he was on the pole for a brief period. He’ll eventually start fifth.
On Friday’s NASCAR AMERICA Motorsports Special on NBCSN, Parker Kligerman and his backseat driver, Kyle Petty, took to the iRacing simulator to make a mock run around Indianapolis Motor Speedway in preparation for Sunday’s Indianapolis 500.
They look at the challenges of IMS, as well as the challenges two-time Formula One champion Fernando Alonso will face in the first oval track race in his illustrious career. Alonso is among the favorites in the race and will take the green flag from the middle of Row 2 (fifth position).
Check out the above video.