Fernando Alonso delighted by Ferrari’s ‘fantastic race’

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Fernando Alonso is delighted with his win at today’s Chinese Grand Prix after a trouble-free race, crossing the checkered flag first with a 10 second gap to second placed Kimi Raikkonen.

“It was a fantastic race for us from the start to the end without any big problems from the car,” he said after the race. “The tire degradation was better than expected so we managed the pace.”

Whilst Raikkonen became embroiled in a strategic battle with Lewis Hamilton, Alonso was able to focus on his own race, and cut 13 points out of Sebastian Vettel’s championship lead. The result sees Ferrari return to form and close on Red Bull in the constructors’ championship, having endured a troublesome race last time out in Malaysia.

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“It feels great after the retirement in Malaysia,” Alonso said. “We had some pressure to finish the race.”

Alonso posted two fastest laps during his final stint, and although his time was bettered by Vettel late on, the Ferrari driver showed strong pace. His team told him over the radio “you do not have to push”, to which Alonso replied “I am not pushing!” despite his purple lap times.

The two-time world champion was keen on building upon the result, and he has high hopes for the rest of the season.

“In the two races we’ve finished we have got second place and victory so our start of the 2013 season is very good. We are very optimistic for the rest of the season.”

Ferrari trail Red Bull by just five points in the constructors’ championshp, with Felipe Massa finishing today’s race in P6.

Zach Veach splits with Andretti Autosport for rest of IndyCar season

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Zach Veach will be leaving his Andretti Autosport ride with three races remaining in the season, choosing to explore options after the decision was made he wouldn’t return for 2021.

In a Wednesday release, Andretti Autosport said a replacement driver for the No. 26 Dallara-Honda would be named in the coming days. The NTT IndyCar Series will race Oct. 2-3 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and then conclude the season Oct. 25 on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida.

Veach was ranked 11th in the points standings through 11 races of his third season with Andretti. Since a fourth in the June 6 season opener at Texas Motor Speedway, he hadn’t finished higher than 14th.

“The decision was made that I will not be returning in 2021 with Andretti Autosport in the No. 26 Gainbridge car,” Veach said in the Andretti release. “This, along with knowing that limited testing exists for teams due to COVID, have led me to the decision to step out of the car for the remainder of the 2020 IndyCar season. I am doing this to allow the team to have time with other drivers as they prepare for 2021, and so that I can also explore my own 2021 options.

“This is the hardest decision I have ever made, but to me, racing is about family, and it is my belief that you take care of your family. Andretti Autosport is my family and I feel this is what is best to help us all reach the next step. I will forever be grateful to Michael and the team for all of their support over the years. I would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for a relationship that started many years ago with Road to Indy. I will also be forever grateful to Dan Towriss for his friendship and for the opportunity he and Gainbridge have given me.

“My love for this sport and the people involved is unmeasurable, and I look forward to continuing to be amongst the racing world and fans in 2021.”

Said team owner Michael Andretti: “We first welcomed Zach to the Andretti team back in his USF2000 days and have enjoyed watching him grow and evolve as a racer, and a person. His decision to allow us to use the last few races to explore our 2021 options shows the measure of his character.

“Zach has always placed team and family first, and we’re very happy to have had him as part of ours for so many years. We wish him the best in whatever 2021 may bring and will always consider him a friend.”

Andretti fields five full-time cars for Veach, Alexander Rossi, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Marco Andretti and Colton Herta.

It also has fielded James Hinchcliffe in three races this season.