Hamilton edges Vettel for sixth straight F1 pole in China

Leave a comment

Lewis Hamilton edged Ferrari rival Sebastian Vettel to take his sixth straight pole position in Formula 1 after pacing the final stage of qualifying for the Chinese Grand Prix on Saturday.

After losing out to Vettel in Australia two weeks ago, Hamilton plotted his fightback perfectly in qualifying with a scintillating lap late on, posting a time of 1:31.678 to capture pole in Shanghai.

Vettel was left to finish 0.186 seconds behind in second place, splitting the Mercedes drivers once again after beating Valtteri Bottas by just one-thousandth of a second. Bottas was left to settle for third ahead of fellow Finn Kimi Raikkonen, who ended the session fourth in the sister Ferrari.

Daniel Ricciardo finished fifth for Red Bull, 1.3 seconds off Hamilton’s fastest time, while Felipe Massa put in another impressive display for Williams to take sixth on the grid. Rookie teammate Lance Stroll also impressed, reaching Q3 for the first time en route to 10th.

Nico Hulkenberg was seventh for Renault, marking the Enstone operation’s first Q3 appearance since the 2015 Russian Grand Prix, while former Force India teammate Sergio Perez was eighth.

Daniil Kvyat led Toro Rosso’s charge in qualifying, reaching Q3 for the second race in a row en route to ninth on the grid. Teammate Carlos Sainz Jr. narrowly missed out on a place in the top 10, finishing 0.069 seconds shy in P11, with Haas driver Kevin Magnussen following close behind.

Fernando Alonso took his McLaren-Honda MCL32 kicking and screaming up the grid yet again in qualifying, securing P13 on the grid despite a significant speed advantage on the back straight. The Spaniard was followed by the Sauber duo of Marcus Ericsson and Antonio Giovinazzi, the latter failing to take part in Q2 after a sizeable crash at the end of the first session.

The back of Sunday’s grid will be packed with talent after a number of surprises in Q1, the biggest being Max Verstappen’s elimination. An engine software issue meant the Red Bull driver was left struggling for pace, ultimately qualifying 19th.

Stoffel Vandoorne was another driver left scrambling for pace as Honda’s engine woes continued, leaving the McLaren driver 16th on the grid. Giovinazzi’s smash ruined a number of late laps, including those of Romain Grosjean and Jolyon Palmer, who qualified 17th and 18th respectively. Both are also set to face a grilling from the stewards for failing to slow for yellow flags shown for Giovinazzi.

Force India’s Esteban Ocon propped up the timesheets in P20 after being forced to abandon his final lap, with his first two sectors on a par with those of teammate Perez, who had easily made it through to Q2.

The Chinese Grand Prix is live on NBCSN and the NBC Sports app from 1am ET on Sunday.

Recap: Green Bay Packers QB Brett Hundley takes in Kohler Grand Prix

Photo: IndyCar
Leave a comment

When professional athletes decide to experience sports outside of the one where they make their living, it never ceases to entertain. Case and point: Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Hundley.

The 24-year-old Hundley spent the weekend at Road America, taking in the Kohler Grand Prix. His time at the facility began on Thursday, where he first paid a visit to Team Penske driver Will Power, who gave him a quick tutorial.

Will Power shows Brett Hundley a steering for a Verizon IndyCar Series machine. Photo: IndyCar

The next part of Hundley’s day saw him take a two-seater ride with none other than Mario Andretti. And, unsurprisingly, it left a big impression.

Mari Andretti takes Brett Hundley around Road America in the Verizon IndyCar Series two-seater. Photo: IndyCar

“The first lap, I’m screaming, and it’s the warm-up lap! And then the second lap: I’m just bright-eyed, going through corners. I give so much respect, that’s an awesome sport, man!” Hundley said in a media debrief afterward.

However, the day was not finished. Later on, Hundley showed off his arm strength and throwing accuracy by attempting to throw a football through the passenger side window of a moving Chevrolet Corvette. And while it took a few attempts, he eventually hit his mark.

Hundley stayed through Sunday and dawned a photographer’s bib in order to take in more of the action.

In fact, he even inadvertently photobombed second-place finisher Josef Newgarden during his post-race interview.

A video chronicling Hundley’s visit can be viewed here and additional photos from his weekend can be found on his Instagram page.

 

Follow Kyle Lavigne.

Merhi confirmed for WEC return with Manor at the Nürburgring

Getty Images
Leave a comment

CEFC Manor TRS Racing has confirmed that Roberto Merhi will return to the FIA World Endurance Championship for next month’s 6 Hours of Nürburgring, replacing Jean-Eric Vergne.

Merhi previously raced for Manor in both Formula 1 and the WEC, making his most recent appearance with the British marque at last November’s 6 Hours of Bahrain.

Merhi’s last racing outing came in the Formula 2 double-header in Spain and has flirted with a move into Formula E, but was confirmed on Wednesday to be making his racing return at the Nürburgring on July 16.

Merhi will deputize for Vergne in the No. 24 Oreca 07 Gibson while the Frenchman is in New York for the city’s inaugural Formula E event.

FIA to re-examine Vettel/Hamilton Baku F1 clash

1 Comment

The FIA has confirmed that it will re-examine the clash between Formula 1 title rivals Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton in Sunday’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix to see if further action is warranted.

Vettel and Hamilton made contact twice behind the safety car in Baku, with the second incident deemed to be an act of dangerous driving on Vettel’s part.

The FIA stewards in Baku handed Vettel a 10-second stop/go penalty for the clash – the harshest available penalty besides disqualification – but faced calls to issue a stricter punishment post race.

Hamilton said that the incident set a dangerous precedent for F1 and wider motorsport, but Vettel believed his rival deserved a penalty for allegedly brake testing him.

On Wednesday, the FIA confirmed that it would be re-examining the incident in a meeting on July 3, with a verdict set to be delivered ahead of the Austrian Grand Prix.

“Following the recent incident at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix in which Car 5 (Sebastian Vettel) was involved in a collision with Car 44 (Lewis Hamilton), on Monday 3rd July, the FIA will further examine the causes on the incident in order to evaluate whether further action is necessary,” a short statement from the FIA read.

“A statement regarding the outcome of this process will be made available before the upcoming Austrian Grand Prix (7-9 July).”

Wickens not interested in full-time IndyCar switch despite practice run

INDYCAR
Leave a comment

Robert Wickens is not interested in making a full-time switch to the Verizon IndyCar Series in the near future despite his practice run-out at Road America last weekend for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports.

Mercedes DTM driver Wickens was called up for Friday practice at the KOHLER Grand Prix in the No. 7 Lucas Oil Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda after Mikhail Aleshin was unable to make it in time due to immigration issues.

Aleshin was able to return to the United States in time for Saturday’s final practice and qualifying at Road America, with Wickens stepping back down.

The Canadian got his first taste of an Indy car in a car swap with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports’ James Hinchcliffe in March, paving the way for his practice appearance at Road America.

However, Wickens is not looking to make a full-time move over to IndyCar anytime soon despite enjoying his run-out, with his focus lying with DTM.

“Not really, to be honest,” Wickens said when asked if IndyCar was something he would like to move into in Mercedes’ ‘Tales from the Paddock’ press newsletter.

“I just want to race cars. That’s the main thing. I have no urge to leave the DTM at the moment.

“Everything is going well, and I’m really happy with Mercedes.”

Wickens also went into detail about how rapidly things moved with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, having only been told the day before practice that he was required for the running.

“I planned on having a relaxing weekend at home, but on Thursday afternoon I got a call from Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, which is the team that we did the ride swap with involving James Hinchcliffe back in April,” Wickens said.

“They asked if I could go to Road America and fill in for Mikhail Aleshin who had immigration issues. Fortunately, Toto [Wolff] was happy for me to do it and I was able to jump on a plane and get to Wisconsin.

“We didn’t get to the hotel until about 10pm on Thursday, and Free Practice 1 was on Friday morning very early. It took some getting used to.

“The practice itself was fun. The track was really good. It would be amazing to have a DTM race there one day.

“I definitely wanted to do the full weekend, but the full-time driver got his immigration stuff sorted and he made it to the race track by Friday night. My duties were finished, but it was still a really fun Friday.”