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Dixon, Bourdais lead Honda’s charge in INDYCAR GP qualifying

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Four Chevrolets from Team Penske made the Firestone Fast Six. But, not to be overlooked, two cars from the Honda camp joined them, and even kept a fifth Penske entrant from getting in the mix (Simon Pagenaud failed to advance to the Fast Six and will start seventh).

Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon kept Penske from taking the top four spots on the grid by qualifying in fourth, just ahead of Juan Pablo Montoya, while Dale Coyne Racing’s Sebastien Bourdais made it into the Firestone Fast Six for the first time in 2017 and will grid sixth, his best starting spot of the season.

“It’s the first time we were a legit Fast Six car and we’re in the mix, we’re in the fight, this fight being in the middle of a Penske fest,” Bourdais quipped in the post-qualifying press conference.

Sebastien Bourdais made the Firestone Fast Six for the first time in 2017. Photo: IndyCar

For Bourdais, the result comes on the heels of a hard crash on the first lap of the Desert Diamond West Valley Phoenix Grand Prix that destroyed the chassis. As Bourdais noted, the Dale Coyne Racing team worked night and day to rebuild the car, and he was keen to emphasize their efforts.

“There were countless hours to build that car back up from what it was after Phoenix, which really wasn’t much at all left,” he explained. “So you know, they worked every day except Sunday. It’s a big testament to that small organization that’s really got inspiration to grow and develop, and it’s just a cool feeling.”

Dixon, the only driver to make the Fast Six in every road and street race this year, acknowledged that Honda has put in a workmanlike effort to catch Chevrolet and explained that, despite still lacking a little bit of raw pace, the package is more than capable to contending.

“I think with the road course kit that we have, I think the Hondas have been doing a pretty stout job,” he asserted. “(Chip Ganassi Racing) has been on both sides of the fence, so we know exactly how both of them work. So next week should be good, so don’t worry about that. But yes, excited for next week to see where it goes.”

Saturday’s INDYCAR Grand Prix rolls off at 3:30 p.m. ET.

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Hamilton hails ‘greatest day’ after USGP victory, Mercedes title win

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Lewis Hamilton made no secret of his jubilation after taking a giant step towards his fourth Formula 1 championship win with victory in Sunday’s United States Grand Prix that also saw Mercedes clinch the constructors’ title.

Hamilton recovered from an early pass by F1 title rival Sebastian Vettel to take his sixth victory on American soil, five of which have come at the Circuit of The Americas in Austin, to extend his lead to 66 points.

With just 75 left on offer this season, Hamilton needs just one top-five finish in the final three races to clinch his fourth world title, with the enormity of the victory not being lost on the Mercedes driver.

“Today has been amazing. It’s been the greatest day,” Hamilton told NBCSN after the race.

“I woke up a bit tired, felt the rain, then was like, ‘What the hell?’ But I didn’t mind. I won here in the rain in the past. Then it dried up, clear blue skies, amazing opening at the beginning of the GP.

“I lost first place into Turn 1. It was OK. That first section, we got through there, and it felt very reminiscent of 2012: ‘Game on. You have to save the tires’, and he wasn’t doing that. I kind of kept my cool.”

“I saw I got a good exit of Turn 1, this was the lap and it was. His tires were dropping off anyway.”

Hamilton’s victory saw Mercedes wrap up its fourth consecutive F1 constructors’ title with three races to spare, with the Briton having played a key part in each of its successes.

“I’m so proud of this team. Big congratulations to the guys, people don’t know the amount of work they do,” Hamilton said.

“It’s over 1,500 people in two factories, so much brainpower and a lot of people to manage to extract the best from each of those.

“To come into a new era of car and perform as we have. There’s been a newfound love within the team. Ferrari, we want to beat them, thrash them.

“So they put more hours of working in to do that. That’s for all their hard work.”