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Vettel finds Ferrari pace ‘promising’ after Malaysia fightback

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Sebastian Vettel may have lost more ground on Formula 1 title rival Lewis Hamilton in Sunday’s Malaysian Grand Prix, but called Ferrari’s pace “promising” after fighting from last on the grid to finish fourth.

Vettel was unable to post a lap time in qualifying due to an engine issue on his Ferrari, leaving him P20 for the start of the race.

A good getaway saw Vettel rise to P13 on the first lap alone before rising further up the order throughout the first stint.

A late bid to pass Daniel Ricciardo for third place proved fruitless as Vettel’s tires dropped in performance, but the German was nevertheless pleased to finish fourth, with his race pace looking stronger than that of Hamilton’s at a track where Mercedes was expected to dominate.

“I am still optimistic, because we know that we have a quick car. Of course it was a shame for Kimi [Raikkonen] who couldn’t take the start, and for me having to begin my race from the back of the grid,” Vettel said.

“We tried to fight for the podium, pushed very hard, but in the end the tires were starting to give up and we couldn’t be really there. However, it is promising to see the car is good, even if both Kimi and I hit trouble this weekend.

“I don’t know yet if the issue is the same on both cars, we’ll need to have a look. For sure it’s not ideal having one car out yesterday and another one today. So, there’s something we need to understand.

“It’s been a difficult weekend, but nevertheless the speed is there. So far we’ve had a pretty good record for this year regarding reliability.

“I am not that worried to be honest, but we need to get on top of the problem.”

With Hamilton finishing second, Vettel saw the gap at the top of the drivers’ standings grow to 34 points with five races remaining, the next taking place at Suzuka in one week’s time.

Takuma Sato’s likeness revealed on Borg-Warner Trophy (PHOTOS)

Photos; Walt Kuhn
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INDIANAPOLIS – Rather than the traditional December unveil, this year’s reveal newest likeness added to the Borg-Warner Trophy came Tuesday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum.

Takuma Sato got to see the result of the sculpting done by William Behrends and then turned from wax, clay and ceramic into sterling silver on Tuesday evening, as the winner of the 101st Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil saw his face revealed on the trophy.

Sato took the No. 26 Ruoff Home Mortgage Honda for Andretti Autosport to the win in thrilling fashion this year over Helio Castroneves, denying the Brazilian his fourth Indianapolis 500 victory in the process. It atoned for his near-miss in 2012, driving for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, the team he’ll return to in 2018.

It’s been a whirlwind last week-plus for Sato, doing the podium interviews at the Japanese Grand Prix, reflecting on his Indianapolis 500 triumph, then sharing the victory spoils with another Japanese pilot in Yoshihide Muroya, who won the Red Bull Air Race World Championship at Indianapolis this weekend.

Photos of Sato’s face on the most unique trophy in sports are below. This post will be updated following tonight’s full unveil. (All photos: Walt Kuhn)