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Lewis Hamilton to start Brazilian GP from pit lane

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Mercedes has confirmed Lewis Hamilton will start Sunday’s Brazilian Grand Prix from pit lane after the team opted to break parc ferme conditions to make changes on his Formula 1 car ahead of the race.

Hamilton was resigned to his first Q1 knockout in over a year when he crashed out of qualifying at Interlagos on Saturday, slamming into the barrier on his first flying lap.

Hamilton had been due to line up 20th on the grid on Sunday, requiring approval from the stewards to race after technically failing to qualify for the race.

Mercedes opted to capitalize on Hamilton’s struggles and make changes to his car ahead of the race, as confirmed on Saturday night.

“Lewis will start from pit lane as we will have to break parc ferme, fitting parts of a different specification to those used in qualifying,” a Mercedes spokesperson said.

“Prime among those will be a new power unit, as there is no penalty for doing so in this circumstance. We will confirm in the morning what exactly is being changed.”

Mercedes specified Hamilton will take a new internal combustion engine, MGU-H and turbocharger for the race

Despite Hamilton’s early exit, Valtteri Bottas was able to lead Mercedes to pole position at Interlagos after edging out Ferrari rival Sebastian Vettel in the final stage of qualifying.

The Brazilian Grand Prix is live on NBCSN and the NBC Sports app from 10am ET on Sunday.

Marco Andretti confident that fewer tests won’t hurt Andretti Autosport

Photo: IndyCar
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A small point of debate around the 2018 aero kit has been the manufacturer test days that took place through the Fall of 2017 and into the beginning of 2018. Chiefly, the debate has centered around teams who hadn’t participated in those manufacturer test days and if they’re starting the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series season at a disadvantage as a result.

Team Penske, Ed Carpenter Racing, and A.J. Foyt Racing completed test days for Chevrolet, with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports and Chip Ganassi Racing doing so for Honda.

That left teams like Andretti Autosport out of the mix, with some voicing concerns as a result.

However, in a press conference during testing at ISM Raceway last weekend, Marco Andretti explained that he thinks Andretti Autosport should be able to catch up on development, citing the team’s resources – they’re the only IndyCar team with four full-time cars in their stable – and the fact that everyone is still adapting to the new kit.

“I feel like it’s early enough days that, yes, we can catch up,” Andretti said at ISM Raceway. “When there is anything new, a new car, new aero kit, at-track days are huge. We can sim all these things we want. To really get out there and confirm what we’re learning back at the shop is another thing.”

Ryan Hunter-Reay during testing at ISM Raceway. Photo: IndyCar

Andretti continued, “Yeah, I don’t think we should look at it like we’re behind the eight ball. With a four-car team, that’s where we can use it to our benefit. So far so good.”

Teammate Ryan Hunter-Reay, echoed Andretti’s sentiments, adding that while the situation is not perfect, they will need to adapt to it in order to remain competitive.

“Any time you have a new car, to put it into perspective, we’re on track three days on a road course before we get to (the season open in St. Petersburg). That’s a very short amount of time. It’s obviously not ideal, but we’re just going to lace up our boots and get on with it. That’s all you can do.”

Andretti Autosport will have one more team test, at Sebring International Raceway later on in February, before the season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

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