Hamilton edges Vettel for sixth straight F1 pole in China

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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.

Pippa Mann returns to Dale Coyne Racing for seventh Indianapolis 500 bid

Photo courtesy Dale Coyne Racing
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Pippa Mann announced Tuesday that she plans to drive in her seventh Indianapolis 500 on May 27.

The native of Ipswich, England will once again return to race for Dale Coyne Racing, with new sponsorship by Donate Life Indiana.

She had previously been sponsored the last four years in the 500 by the Susan G. Komen organization. She’ll continue to carry logos of that organization on the front wing of her car in the 500, Mann said.

Mann, 34, has raced six times in the 500, with a best finish being 17th in last year’s race.

Mann will fill out the four-car Dale Coyne Racing field for the Greatest Spectacle In Racing. She’ll be teammates with Sebastien Bourdais (No. 18 Team SealMaster Honda in a partnership with Vasser-Sullivan), Pietro Fittipaldi (No. 19 The Paysafe Car Honda) and Conor Daly (No. 17 U.S. Air Force Honda in a partnership with Thom Burns Racing).

Mann will make her first practice laps for this year’s 500 on Tuesday, May 15. Qualifying is May 19-20.

Mann’s No. 63 Honda will have a significantly different look than in the last few years. Instead of pink, her car will feature a silvery blue and light green paint scheme wrapped around a Donate Life Indiana logo.

“I am honored to have been asked to drive the Donate Life car this May and to partner with Donate Life Indiana as an ambassador to raise awareness on our mission to help reach even more Hoosiers through our education efforts,” Mann said in a media release. “This is obviously a campaign with a pretty deep personal meaning for me, and I am humbled to have the opportunity to join the racers carrying this cause forward.

“I also want to thank Dale and Gail Coyne for once again giving me this opportunity to pilot one of their entries this May. This will be my sixth year with Dale Coyne Racing and I’m truly grateful that they allow me to do this every year.”

Mann will also serve as a spokesperson for the organization and to raise awareness for youth education initiatives in Indiana, most notably organ, tissue and eye donor registration.

In addition to her driving duties in the 102nd running of the 500, Mann will also visit schools across the Hoosier State to speak about the importance of organ donation and transplantation.

“Our education team is committed to partnering with Pippa and students and teachers across the state to bring the message of organ donation and transplantation to as many students as possible,” said Steve Johnson, board chairman for Donate Life Indiana.

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