Hamilton dominates in Mercedes 1-2 at Canadian Grand Prix

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A peerless drive from pole has witnessed Lewis Hamilton capture his third win of the season, 56th of his Formula 1 career, and sixth in the Canadian Grand Prix, leading Mercedes AMG Petronas’ first 1-2 finish of the season.

Valtteri Bottas followed him home a little ways behind, while it was the battle for third that dominated the story most of the race.

Daniel Ricciardo held on for the final podium spot in his Red Bull, ahead of Sebastian Vettel for Scuderia Ferrari, the pair of Sahara Force India Mercedes cars driven by Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon, and Kimi Raikkonen in the second Ferrari, all on differing tire strategies and with Vettel needing to make up the gap after wing damage sustained on the first lap.

Force India made strategic misstep at the worst possible time in not having Perez allow Ocon by, which may well have cost them a podium.

Meanwhile, Lance Stroll and Fernando Alonso were both set to score their first points of the season in the minor placings, Stroll doing so on home soil for Williams with Alonso finally looking set to drag the McLaren Honda to one point. But even that went away as he stopped on track with just two laps to go.

It was a chaotic start with Hamilton getting away well from the pole while Vettel was swamped by Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, who got up to second and clipped Vettel’s right front wing end plate in the process.

Behind them, there was more drama as Romain Grosjean’s Haas and Carlos Sainz Jr.’s Toro Rosso got tangled together exiting Turn 2. Sainz’s miserable weekend came to an end on the first lap as his car careened across the road and collected Felipe Massa’s Williams in the process.

That brought out the first Safety Car of the race, and allowed Grosjean (who switched from Pirelli’s ultrasoft compound to a set of supersofts) and Sauber’s Pascal Wehrlein (who did the opposite and went from supersoft to ultrasoft) to go off sequence.

Vettel pitted after the restart on Lap 5 for a front wing replacement and his own tire change to supersofts, and dropped to 18th and last on the road.

Verstappen’s blinder of a start went away quickly at Turn 2 on Lap 11, when after an upshift his TAG Heuer-badged Renault engine engaged a box full of neutrals. He ground to a halt from second place with an with an apparent battery issue, and that brought out a Virtual Safety Car.

Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg and Jolyon Palmer, and Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson were good to pit on this sequence.

With Verstappen out, Hamilton managed to increase his lead to more than six seconds shortly after the restart, ahead of Bottas, Ricciardo, Perez, and Raikkonen.

Pit stops followed from there with most drivers switching onto the supersoft compound, but Ricciardo went onto the softs instead.

Vettel had made it back to eighth after his first lap wing issue and subsequent pit stop in that period.

Hamilton and Ocon ran 1-2 at the time, but needed to pit. Both did so and went from ultrasofts onto supersofts.

At half distance, Hamilton led Bottas, but an intriguing battle was shaping up for the final podium spot. Ricciardo was third on the softs ahead of Perez, Raikkonen, and Ocon, with Vettel in fourth. Ocon, having pitted latest of that group, was on the freshest tires, but would need to pass all on track in order to move up the order.

Ferrari, meanwhile, reported in on Lap 37 that Vettel had a damaged floor, and would have to press on with that.

Raikkonen dispatched his supersofts for ultrasofts in the final 28 laps, which was an interesting strategic play. That meant it’d be a straight fight between the Force India teammates, Perez and Ocon, for fourth unless Raikkonen could claw back enough of a gap to overcome the deficit created by the pit stop.

A little further down the order, Lance Stroll made a series of moves to advance up to 13th, and gained another position when Alonso pitted after 43 laps on ultrasofts to go to supersofts.

He then pressed the pair of McLaren teammates, with Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne ahead of him, and would later get ahead of both of them by the end of Lap 47 to get into 11th. With Magnussen in the pits, that promoted him up to 10th and a point. He gained another spot when Daniil Kvyat pitted from ninth and suffered tires issues, with the Toro Rosso team not ready with a full set of tires. Kvyat was later told to stop the engine during the elongated stop.

Ricciardo’s pace started to fade on the softs, but he’d have to hold back the Force India twins for the final podium spot. Ocon’s fresher tires favored him in this process and Force India hinted the two should switch a position around without actually saying as much.

Vettel pitted for ultrasofts, like Raikkonen did, for a final 18-lap sprint. Both would be faster than the Force Indias as the race would draw to its conclusion.

The question then shifted to whether the Force Indias would shift positions in an attempt to overtake Ricciardo. With that not happening, the two Ferraris then immediately caught up the Force Indias.

With just five laps to go Vettel, who’d gotten by Raikkonen after an off at the final chicane, was right behind Ocon.

It almost came to tears at Turn 1 on Lap 67. Ocon was forced off wide as Vettel went to the inside at Turn 1, but with Perez having backed them both up, Ocon lost the fifth position to Vettel.

Vettel then got by Perez with Ocon still stuck behind him. Raikkonen was seventh and Hulkenberg, Stroll, and Grosjean completed the points finishers.

Alonso was set for 10th before radioing in, “engine,” and stopping again – another bitter blow in his F1 season of discontent.

The unofficial results are below.

Andretti Autosport endures tough Road America outing

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All four of the Andretti Autosport drivers encountered significant problems during the Kohler Grand Prix, and none of them were able to salvage finishes inside the top ten as a result.

Most notably, Takuma Sato endured the most difficult weekend of the four-car armada after suffering a pinched nerve in his neck on Saturday, which forced him to miss the morning warmup.

And things didn’t get any better during the race, as a lap 28 spin exiting the Kink saw him lose a lap and forced him to play catchup even more than he already was. Although Sato managed to finish the race, hardly insignificant given his neck injury, he did so in 19th after starting 20th in what proved to be his worst race since winning the 101st Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil.

“It was a tough weekend and tough race,” lamented Sato. “I injured my neck during practice Saturday morning. We started in the back row, tried to make a push up, but I caught an accident. The engine was stalled and I wasn’t sure if we could continue, but the safety crew came and fired up the engine, so I came back to the pit, buckled again and I was able to keep going. In the end we made the finish, but we need a better weekend.”

His teammates did not fair much better. Alexander Rossi, who qualified a disappointing 15th, ran a four-stop pit strategy, and while he cycled into the top five at one point, an issue with the front wing saw him fall to 13th at the finish.

Alexander Rossi was fast Road America, but an issue with the front wing dropped him back in the field at the end. Photo: IndyCar

“I think we started with a good strategy, going for a four-stop race after starting 15th, but it all caught up to us on that first yellow,” Rossi explained. “Luckily, we had already gained track position and speed running on open track. We had an issue with our front wing, which ironically or not, is the same issue we finished the race with here last year, so we definitely need to figure out exactly what happened and make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

Ryan Hunter-Reay, too, had strong pace, even leading the Sunday morning warmup and running inside the top ten late in the race. But, contact with Charlie Kimball while battling for sixth broke the front wing on the No. 28 DHL Honda, and Hunter-Reay languished in 14th at the checkered flag.

Ryan Hunter-Reay was was 14th at the checkered flag after battling inside the top ten late in the race. Photo: IndyCar

“Charlie (Kimball) made a late block and took off my front wing. I had a good race going until Charlie moved out late like that, it’s just really unfortunate,” Hunter-Reay said of the incident.

Meanwhile, Marco Andretti battled a litany of problems, ranging from throttle issues to a broken pit speed limiter, which resulted in a drive-penalty for speeding during a round of pit stops. Andretti was a lowly 18th at the finish.

Marco Andretti battled a host of problems during the Kohler Grand Prix. Photo: IndyCar

“We started eighth, but ran into throttle problems. We went off track on the first stint because the throttle stuck wide open. We came into the pits to try to fix it and got hit with a pit lane speed violation because my pit lane limiter wasn’t working. We still weren’t getting full throttle – I was barely hitting sixth gear,” he lamented afterward.

Sato remains in the top five in the championship, now sitting fourth, 56 points behind leader Scott Dixon. Rossi sits ninth, with Andretti and Hunter-Reay 13th and 15th respectively.

 

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Kimball, Chilton quiet but solid at Road America

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While Scott Dixon scored victory for Chip Ganassi Racing, two of the team’s other drivers enjoyed quietly solid days at the Kohler Grand Prix at Road America.

Charlie Kimball, in need of a strong finish after being stricken with bad luck so far in the 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series season, scored his best finish of the year with a fine run to sixth place. While he was never a part of the battle for victory, he was “best of the rest” for most of the day and enjoyed a solid, mistake-free run.

“Overall a really solid day for the Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing team,” Kimball said afterward. Though he admitted tire management in the race’s third stint hampered his efforts, he was more than pleased with the end result.

“That third stint, I don’t think I managed the Firestone alternates as well as some of the guys around me,” Kimball revealed. “You saw that with (Will Power) with a better in and out lap. That was disappointing, because I think we could have maybe had a shot at a top five. Overall though, to fight off some competitors for that last stint after the final yellow felt good and it felt good to bring it home in sixth for the guys. Kind of a semi-trouble free weekend and pretty happy with it.”

Teammate Max Chilton, too, scored a solid ten finish, the Briton finishing ninth. However, unlike Kimball, Chilton lamented not being able to finish higher on a circuit where he feels very comfortable.

Max Chilton during qualifying for the Kohler Grand Prix. Photo: IndyCar

“It’s not how we wanted it, especially after how quick we were (in the morning warmup),” said Chilton, who started seventh and was second fastest in the morning warmup. Like Kimball, he struggled with tire management, and an untimely caution when he was on the primary black tires put paid to his chances of a better finish.

“Something just wasn’t working for us. On a set of reds, we were struggling massively and then we went to the blacks, which would’ve been alright, but then the safety car came out and everyone else had longer life on the reds and I was struggling again.”

With the Kohler Grand Prix in the books, Chilton currently sits 11th in the championship, three points behind tenth-place Ed Jones, while Kimball remains 18th, 72 points outside the top ten.

Mahindra to give M4Electro Formula E car public debut at Goodwood

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Mahindra Racing will debut its new car for the fourth Formula E season, the M4Electro, at the famous Goodwood Festival of Speed later this week as part of a bid to beat the existing open-wheel electric record for the hillclimb.

As part of its preparations for season four of Formula E, set to start in Hong Kong at the beginning of December, Mahindra has already hit the track with the M4Electro in private testing.

Full-season drivers Felix Rosenqvist and Nick Heidfeld have both completed running in the car, while Indian actress Gul Panag has also taken part in a test.

Heidfeld will give the M4Electro its first public outing at Goodwood and look to become the first driver to hold two records at the hillclimb.

The German driver holds the overall hillclimb record of 41.6 seconds at Goodwood, set back in 1999 in a McLaren MP4/13 Formula 1 car.

“We’re excited to bring Nick and the M4Electro to Goodwood in a bid to set the fastest open-wheel electric record on the hillclimb,” Mahindra team boss Dilbagh Gill said.

“We are always looking to push the boundaries as a team and we couldn’t think of a better way to introduce the season four challenger to fans and automotive enthusiasts alike than at the Goodwood Festival of Speed.”

Qualcomm named title partner for New York Formula E race

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FIA Formula E has announced that technology company Qualcomm will be the title partner for the upcoming New York City ePrix as the all-electric series gears up to hit the United States in three weeks’ time.

New York City will play host to its first motorsport event in Red Hook on July 15-16, acting as the penultimate round of Formula E’s third season.

Qualcomm has been a key partner for Formula E since the series’ inception in 2014, and will now act as the New York race’s title partner after acquiring the naming rights, as announced on Monday. The event will be formally called the ‘Qualcomm New York City ePrix’.

“As one of our founding partners – and now for the first time a race title partner for one of the most anticipated races of the season – Qualcomm Technologies’ continued support and commitment to Formula E has been instrumental,” Formula E CEO Alejandro Agag said.

“We share many of the same values in the field of innovation and technology transfer, which we’ve already seen with unique wireless charging concepts.

“I’m looking forward to making history in New York by bringing Formula E to the Big Apple for the first time – it’s going to be an unmissable event.”

Derek Aberle, president of Qualcomm Incorporated, added: “Qualcomm inventions enable widespread innovation, just as motorsport fuels the evolution of the automotive industry.

“Formula E, including this Qualcomm ePrix race in New York City, is a great testbed for our automotive breakthroughs such as wireless electric vehicle charging.

“We look forward to continuing our collaboration with Formula E to promote the benefits of the latest vehicle technologies as cars become more connected, autonomous and electric.”