Perfect lap not enough for Sebastian Vettel

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Sebastian Vettel has admitted that not even a perfect lap would have been enough for him to claim pole position for the Bahrain Grand Prix.

The Red Bull driver qualified second behind pole-sitter Nico Rosberg, and he congratulated his fellow countryman after the session today.

“Congratulations to Nico, he did a very strong lap. It was all his today,” Vettel said in the post-race press conference.

“I’m definitely not disappointed. When I crossed the line I saw I didn’t go first, saw second place on the screen and did not know how much was missing because my lap was fine.

Vettel, who has claimed 38 pole positions during his Formula One career, believes that Rosberg’s time was unbeatable.

“It was clear that even with a perfect lap I couldn’t have done it.”

Instead, the Red Bull driver appeared to be focusing on strategy, with tire management being highly important this weekend.

“I am very happy we managed to save some tires throughout qualifying.

“It will be all about tires and tire deg tomorrow once again. We will see what happens but it’s good to start from front row.”

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With Rosberg uncertain of his own race pace, Vettel is in a strong position to capitalize on any issues for Mercedes. However, with Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa starting 3rd and 4th, the defending world champion will have to race well if he is to win in Bahrain for a second time.

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AJ Foyt Racing promotes Benjamin Pedersen from Indy Lights to IndyCar for 2023 season

Benjamin Pedersen AJ Foyt
AJ Foyt Racing
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Benjamin Pedersen is the first driver to land a promotion from Indy Lights into IndyCar for next season as AJ Foyt Racing confirmed Wednesday he’ll be part of its 2023 lineup.

Pedersen, a 23-year-old dual citizen of Denmark and the United States, spent last season running the full Indy Lights schedule for HMD Motorsports. Linus Lundqvist, his teammate, won the Lights title, and Pedersen finished fifth in the final standings. Pedersen earned his only win earlier this month when he led every lap from the pole at Portland.

Pedersen also ran four races for HMD in 2021 with back-to-back runner-up finishes in his debut. Pedersen landed on AJ Foyt Racing team president Larry Foyt’s radar through a “trusted colleague” and Pedersen spent most of last season shadowing the IndyCar team.

His promotion to IndyCar comes ahead of all four drivers who finished ahead of him in the Indy Lights standings, including champion Lundqvist.

“We are really looking forward to having Benjamin as part of the team,” Larry Foyt said. “His enthusiasm is infectious, and he is 100 percent committed to IndyCar, AJ Foyt Racing, and doing the best he can to win races.

“It’s been great to have him embedded with the team this past season, and everyone is excited to hit the ground running when testing begins. It is also great to have a multi-year program in place, which will help him and the team grow together.”

Foyt did not announce a car number for Pedersen. Kyle Kirkwood spent his rookie season driving AJ Foyt’s flagship No. 14 but Kirkwood is moving to Andretti Autosport. The team has not yet announced if Dalton Kellett will return for a fourth season, and a third car for Tatiana Calderon was pulled from competition after seven races because of sponsorship non-payment. Shutting down Calderon’s team removed the only semi-regular female driver from the IndyCar field.

Pedersen, however, was signed to an agreement Foyt said “spans multiple seasons as the team plans to develop the young rookie and is aligned to a longer-term plan for AJ Foyt Racing.”

Pedersen was born in Copenhagen but raised in Seattle and currently lives in Indianapolis. He said his time shadowing the IndyCar team has given him a jump on his rookie preparations.

“I’ve spent a lot of time this season with AJ Foyt Racing learning the ins and outs of making the jump to IndyCar and it’s been really nice to do that in conjunction with my Indy Lights season,” Pedersen said. “IndyCar has been my target goal since I started open wheel racing in 2016. The racing, atmosphere, fans, events, tracks, etc. are all awesome.”