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Bottas’ F1 title hopes fade further with anonymous Malaysia showing

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Valtteri Bottas saw his fading Formula 1 title hopes take another hit after an anonymous run to fifth place for Mercedes in Sunday’s Malaysian Grand Prix.

Bottas had been closing on leading pair Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel before the summer break, only to slip back since F1 returned to action at the end of August.

Sitting 51 points behind Mercedes teammate Hamilton heading into the weekend, Bottas said he was still not yet ready to give up his hopes of the championship and throw his support behind the Briton.

However, Bottas may be left to reconsider after struggling for pace throughout the weekend in Malaysia, qualifying and finishing fifth despite putting pressure on eventual winner Max Verstappen early on.

“Today was difficult. I was trying everything I can, I was giving it all I had, but I was lacking pace and I was sliding around,” Bottas said.

“The start was definitely the best part of the day. It was really good, I could actually attack a little bit and fight for positions. But not long after that I just started to drop down and couldn’t keep up with the others.

“In the first stint I had quite a lot of understeer, so I was struggling with the balance. The story of the race was managing the tire temperatures. If I tried harder, then I started to overheat the tire and slide even more, so I had to manage everything and that’s why I was so slow.

“We need to analyze the race because the upgrade package should have been quite a step forward in terms of downforce, but I couldn’t really see it. There are still a lot of things we need to try to understand, we need to learn from today.

“For Japan, we need to make sure we choose all the right bits for the car, and hopefully we will see some cooler temperatures.”

Bottas will head to next weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix 59 points back from Hamilton with five races remaining this season.

Red Bull Air Race: Yoshi Muroya joins Sato as Japanese champs at Indy

Photo: Joerg Mitter/Red Bull Content Pool
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Takuma Sato isn’t the only major Japanese athlete to take home top honors at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway this year. Countryman Yoshihide Muroya joined him in that on Sunday after winning Red Bull Air Race at IMS, and the Red Bull Air Race World Championship in the process.

Fittingly, the 101st Indianapolis 500 champion was there on site to join him in the celebration.

Muroya flew with a track-record run in the final and erased the four-point deficit to points leader Martin Sonka. The record run came after a disappointing qualifying effort of 11th in the 14-pilot field in the Master Class.

A day after the win, Muroya joined Sato in heading to Sato’s new Verizon IndyCar Series team, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s, Indianapolis-based shop.

A few social posts from Muroya’s victory and the subsequent celebration are below.

CHECKING OUT EACH OTHER’S RIDES

ASTLES BREAKS THOUGH AS WELL

Muroya wasn’t alone among big winners at the Speedway. In the Challenger Class, Melanie Astles of France became the first woman to win a major race at IMS, and is the first female winner in the Red Bull Air Race World Championship.

Nine women have competed in the Indianapolis 500 (Janet Guthrie, Lyn St. James, Sarah Fisher, Danica Patrick, Milka Duno, Simona de Silvestro, Pippa Mann, Ana Beatriz, Katherine Legge) and Mann is the first woman to have been on the pole position at IMS, having done so for the Freedom 100 in 2010 in Indy Lights.

Photo: Joerg Mitter/Red Bull Content Pool