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Stewart: Verstappen can ‘shake things up’ in F1 like Mario Andretti

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Formula 1 legend Jackie Stewart has compared Max Verstappen’s breakthrough to that of Mario Andretti, saying the Dutchman livened up an otherwise-uneventful 2016 season.

Verstappen became the youngest race winner in F1 history at the Spanish Grand Prix in May following his shock promotion to Red Bull just four races into the season.

Verstappen ended the year fifth in the drivers’ standings, but was regarded as the stand-out driver of the season by many following a string of outstanding on-track displays.

Speaking to Swiss newspaper Blick, three-time F1 champion Stewart spoke about the personalities currently present in the sport, with Verstappen reminding him of Andretti, Jochen Rindt and Tyrrell teammate Francois Cevert.

“Lewis Hamilton is a kind of modern hero, [Sebastian] Vettel is a quiet hero,” Stewart said.

“[Kimi] Raikkonen is perhaps even more popular than those two, although he barely says anything or perhaps he’s popular precisely because of it!

“Verstappen reminds me of the first races of Mario Andretti, Jochen Rindt and Francois Cevert. They all managed to shake things up.

“Other than Verstappen’s breakthrough, it was not a very interesting season.”

Stewart believes that F1 needs more unpredictable incidents on-track to be more exciting, with reliability levels in the sport’s modern era running at a high rate.

“It’s missing excitement, incidents, failures and accidents,” Stewart said.

“Don’t get me wrong, nobody wants to see a driver crash, but you want some excitement.

“In my day that was the case, but unfortunately many of my rivals paid the ultimate price for that.”

Takuma Sato’s likeness revealed on Borg-Warner Trophy (PHOTOS)

Photos; Walt Kuhn
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INDIANAPOLIS – Rather than the traditional December unveil, this year’s reveal newest likeness added to the Borg-Warner Trophy came Tuesday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum.

Takuma Sato got to see the result of the sculpting done by William Behrends and then turned from wax, clay and ceramic into sterling silver on Tuesday evening, as the winner of the 101st Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil saw his face revealed on the trophy.

Sato took the No. 26 Ruoff Home Mortgage Honda for Andretti Autosport to the win in thrilling fashion this year over Helio Castroneves, denying the Brazilian his fourth Indianapolis 500 victory in the process. It atoned for his near-miss in 2012, driving for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, the team he’ll return to in 2018.

It’s been a whirlwind last week-plus for Sato, doing the podium interviews at the Japanese Grand Prix, reflecting on his Indianapolis 500 triumph, then sharing the victory spoils with another Japanese pilot in Yoshihide Muroya, who won the Red Bull Air Race World Championship at Indianapolis this weekend.

Photos of Sato’s face on the most unique trophy in sports are below. This post will be updated following tonight’s full unveil. (All photos: Walt Kuhn)