Tire woes stop Vettel from challenging for win

Leave a comment
This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!

Sebastian Vettel has lamented his tires for preventing him from challenging Kimi Raikkonen for victory at the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne.

“We had a good day today with a pole and a podium – but in the race we were a little too aggressive with the tires and lost the front and the rears, while others did a little better.”

Having taken pole position in qualifying, Vettel’s rear tires were evidently worn as he sat on the grid, but he managed a good start to stay in the lead ahead of Felipe Massa, Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton.

However, as the race wore on, Vettel was hindered by two-stopping Adrian Sutil which caused the defending champion to be too aggressive on his tires. After losing out to Alonso in the second round of stops, Vettel could not reclaim the position as his Pirellis became increasingly difficult to work with. He did not hide his disappointment about finishing third, but the German driver looked to take the positives from the weekend.

“I think you’re always a little disappointed when you start first and don’t finish first, but overall it was a good weekend for us. We didn’t see Kimi on the track, he was too quick and Fernando jumped us at a vulnerable time – but we can be happy with third.”

Teammate Mark Webber started alongside Vettel on the front row, but following a poor start he finished down in sixth place. Red Bull will be disappointed not to have continued their end-of-2012 form in Australia, but there are signs of pace in the RB9.

This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!

Alex Palou fastest as several go off course during IndyCar practice at IMS

IndyCar Harvest GP practice
Jamie Squire/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Alex Palou paced the opening practice Thursday for the IndyCar Harvest GP at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.

The Dale Coyne Racing rookie turned a 1-minute, 10.177-second lap around the 2.439-mile, 14-turn road course in his No. 55 Dallara-Honda.

Jack Harvey was second, followed by Colton Herta, points leader Scott Dixon and Max Chilton.

PRACTICE CHART: Click here to see the speed rundown from Thursday’s session

FRIDAY AT IMS: Details for watching Race 1 of the Harvest GP

Qualifying for Friday’s race will be at 6:20 p.m. ET Thursday on NBC Sports Gold.

Will Power, who won the pole position for the July 4 race at the track, spun off course with just more than a minute left in the session after the left rear of his No. 12 Dallara-Chevrolet made slight contact with the right front of Alexander Rossi’s No. 28 Dallara-Honda.

Power was among several drivers who went off track, but there were no damaged cars during the session. Marcus Ericsson missed the final 5 minutes of the practice after being penalized for causing a red flag with a Turn 8 spin.

Arrow McLaren SP drivers Pato O’Ward and Helio Castroneves, who is driving for Oliver Askew (who is recovering from concussion-like symptoms), also veered off course as did rookie Rinus VeeKay and Santino Ferrucci.

Seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson was in attendance at the session before racing Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway. Johnson will be driving a partial schedule of road and street courses in IndyCar next season for Chip Ganassi Racing.

“Literally, the smallest of details, I can pick up on,” Johnson told NBC Sports pit reporter Kevin Lee. “It’s been really nice today just to see how a session starts and obviously to jump on the radio and listen to how the systems work and then obviously you get into the car and the setup and such. I’m at ground zero right now, a 45-year-old rookie trying to learn my way into a new sport essentially.”

Johnson told Lee his sponsorship hunt to run a Ganassi car “has gone really well. The fact that I’m here today and ingrained so deeply in the team is a great sign of where things are going. Looking forward to getting behind the wheel of a car soon and hopefully having some announcements for the world to see soon, too.”

Fans were in attendance Thursday for the first time this season at IMS, which is allowed a limited crowd of 10,000 for its races this weekend.