Mark Webber opts to start from pit lane

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Mark Webber has elected to start the Chinese Grand Prix from the pit lane following his exclusion from qualifying yesterday.

The Red Bull driver stopped out on track during the second part of qualifying due to a fuel shortage, meaning that he could not provide the FIA with a sample. As Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton found out last season, this leads to disqualification from the session, and Webber was set to start P22 on the grid.

However, by starting from the pit lane, the team has been able to make changes to his car overnight (breaking parc ferme restrictions). This was particularly profitable for Vettel in Abu Dhabi last season when he charged from P24 to P3 in the race thanks to the change in setup. Webber will be hoping to replicate this in China, and he may still be able to score some points relying he perfects his strategy.

The move also means that Webber will not get caught up in any incidents off the line.

Red Bull have made changes to the rear wing and suspension, as well as fitting a new gearbox which would usually warrant a five place penalty.

Here’s who were picking to win the Indy 500 — who are YOU picking?

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Several members of the NBC Sports motorsports staff have made their predictions on who will win Sunday’s 102nd Running of the Indianapolis 500.

Of the six voters, two are going with 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series champ Josef Newgarden, while two others are going with Helio Castroneves to win a fourth 500, which would tie him with A.J. Foyt, Al Unser and Rick Mears.

Here’s our picks. Who are YOU picking?

Leigh Diffey: Helio Castroneves — He drives the place better than anyone else. For me (for what its worth) he deserves a fourth 500 ring for the frustration he went through never getting the IndyCar title!

Townsend Bell: Josef Newgarden

Nate Ryan: Simon Pagenaud — All of his 2018 misfortune on the track has disappeared in May, and it culminates in the biggest victory of his career.

Jerry Bonkowski: Helio Castroneves – There’s no pressure as he pursues his fourth Indy 500 win. All Helio has to do, as late NFL owner Al Davis would say, is “Just win, baby!” (But if Helio falls short, watch for Marco Andretti)

Kyle Lavigne: Josef Newgarden — I think he has everything he needs to get it done this year.

Dan Beaver: Robert Wickens – Has driven like anything except a rookie and his second-place finish at Phoenix proves he’s just as good on an oval as the road courses.

Follow: Jerry Bonkowski