Maldonado unconcerned by changes to Parabolica at Monza

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Pastor Maldonado believes that the controversial changes made to the famous Parabolica corner at Monza won’t make too much of a difference when Formula 1 returns to the track for next weekend’s Italian Grand Prix.

The gravel run-off at Parabolica was replaced by tarmac last month in a move to improve safety at the high-speed circuit, but was met with a backlash from the F1 community. For many, the challenge of the corner had been removed as drivers would now be able to run wide without being punished.

In Maldonado’s eyes though, the change won’t make a great amount of difference for how drivers approach or take Parabolica.

“I don’t think it will make too much difference really,” the Lotus driver said. “The approach will be the same which is to take it as quickly and efficiently as possible.

“Of course there is the obvious safety element which means that you have less risk if you go off.

“I think this is good from a safety point of view because it is a quick corner with not that much room on the outside.”

On the other side of the Lotus garage, Romain Grosjean believes that the changes will tempt drivers into taking more risks at Parabolica now that they have plenty of room to run wide.

“I think that now what you will see is the drivers finding the limits sooner,” Grosjean said. “We know there will not be the big gravel and crash penalty like previously.”

Both Lotus drivers will be hoping to add to the team’s total of eight points in Italy, even if Monza will play against the strengths of the E22 car.

Josef Newgarden wins pole for Grand Prix of Alabama

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With time running off the clock, Josef Newgarden lapped Barber Motorsports Park with a speed of 122.773 mph to win his third career pole and first on this track in the Grand Prix of Alabama.

Newgarden was .0128 seconds faster than teammate Scott Dixon in second.

Newgarden has two previous wins at Barber. He won last year’s edition of this race after starting seventh and in 2015 from fifth.

“I didn’t know if that was going to be enough,” Newgarden said after winning the pole.

“Team Chevy has done a good job,” Newgarden said. “They’ve really given us good power this weekend – good driveability. We’re going to need some fuel mileage tomorrow, which I think we’ll have. But it’s going to get mixed up with the rain.”

Dixon’s lap of 122.750 mph was not quite enough.

“I’m sure you could pick out a number of different things on a lap when it’s that close,” Power said about what made the slight difference between him and Newgarden. “A little mistake out of 9; a little lift here or there.”

Sebastien Bourdais (122.605 mph) qualified third, with Ryan Hunter-Reay (122.159) and James Hinchliffe (121.859) rounding out the top five.

Scott Dixon was the last driver in the top six.

Fast 12

Newgarden topped this chart with a speed of 123.475 mph.

He brought Power, James Hinchcliffe, Scott Dixon, Ryan Hunter-Reay, and Sebastien Bourdais along with him to the Fast 6.

Marco Andretti (122.480), Alexander Rossi (122.216), Simon Pagenaud (122.050), Robert Wickens (122.042), Zach Veach (121.784) and Ed Jones (120.984) failed to advance.

Round 1, Group 1

Newgarden posted the fastest single lap in round one, group one of qualification for the Grand Prix of Alabama with a speed of 122.550 mph.

Hunter-Reay, Hinchcliffe, Wickens, and Andretti also advance to the fast 12.

Taking the final slot was Jones with a speed of 119.835 mph after an off-course excursion in final practice.

This was Andretti’s first advancement to the fast 12 for the first time since 2014.

Round 1, Group 2

Power had the fastest lap of 121.570 mph.

Bourdais, Veach (who is battling food poisoning-like symptoms), Rossi, and Pagenaud grabbed positions 2-4.

Scott Dixon had an uncharacteristically slow lap of 121.006, but managed to advance to the fast 12 when the session was red-flagged for an incident involving Tony Kanaan.

With three minutes remaining, Kanaan spun into the tire barriers while leaving pit road. Since he brought out the red flag, he lost his qualification time of 119.996 mph.

Takuma Sato had slipped off-course midway through the session and posted only the Ninth-fastest speed of 120.789 mph.