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Vandoorne repeats best F1 result in Malaysia, passes Alonso in points

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Stoffel Vandoorne’s rise in the Formula 1 drivers’ championship continued on Sunday in Malaysia as he matched his best grand prix finish of P7 for McLaren.

After a tough start to his first full season in F1, Vandoorne charged to seventh place in Singapore two weeks ago before leading McLaren’s charge once again in Malaysia, repeating the result.

A perfectly-executed race saw Vandoorne finish second out of the midfield runners in Malaysia, trailing only Force India’s Sergio Perez, and pass teammate Fernando Alonso in the points standings.

“I can say that this was my best ever race in Formula 1,” Vandoorne said after the race.

“All weekend, I’ve been really strong and felt really confident with the car. After qualifying seventh, we weren’t really confident about where we’d finish in the race, so to pull off seventh today is an amazing result.”

Vandoorne ran as high as fifth early on, but was not surprised to slip back, losing places to Perez and the recovering Sebastian Vettel.

“I made a great start. We knew it was probably going to be difficult to hold off the Force Indias and the Williams behind, but only Perez came through,” Vandoorne said.

“From then on, I had amazing pace, pushed hard every lap to try and manage the tires and maintain the gap over Stroll, and I managed that until the end. I’m very happy.”

By contrast, Alonso had a tough race spent mostly running outside of the points as he struggled to put McLaren’s aerodynamic updates to good use.

“It was a tough race today. From the very beginning, at the second corner, the two Williams touched in front of me, and made me lose a few positions,” Alonso said.

“As a result, we ended up in the secondary group, running a little slower than our true pace, and could not overtake.

“So I lost a lot of time, and that really compromised our race. A shame, definitely not one of our best races today.

“But we’ll have better days, and, hopefully in Japan, we’ll come back with stronger form, and I’ll be able to add my contribution to the constructors’ championship on Honda’s home ground.

“Having scored points at this track and at Singapore, two very different circuits, is really good for the team. I hope we can continue scoring more points in the remaining races.”

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