Raikkonen makes biggest gain so far as McLaren slump

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Kimi Raikkonen has made the biggest gain in his points tally over the first four races compared to the same period last year.

The Lotus driver, who won the season-opening race in Melbourne, is second in the drivers’ championship with 33 points more than he had this time last year.

Felipe Massa and Sebastian Vettel are the only other drivers to have posted double-digit gains in their points tallies so far.

Fernando Alonso’s retirement in Malaysia and DRS problems in Bahrain mean he has added just four points over his 2012 total at this point, despite the disadvantage had in these races last year with a less competitive car.

In the constructors’ championship, McLaren’s difficulties with their MP4-28 has wiped 69 points off their points tally compared with this time last year, at which time they were second in the standings.

Sauber are also enduring a difficult start to the season off the back of a strong 2012.

See how all the drivers and teams compared against their 2012 performance after four races in these tables:

Drivers’ championship points

Pos. Driver Points vs. 2012
1 Sebastian Vettel 77 +24
2 Kimi Raikkonen 67 +33
3 Lewis Hamilton 50 +1
4 Fernando Alonso 47 +4
5 Mark Webber 32 -16
6 Felipe Massa 30 +28
7 Romain Grosjean 26 +3
8 Paul di Resta 20 +5
9 Nico Rosberg 14 -21
10 Jenson Button 13 -30
11 Sergio Perez 10 -12
12 Adrian Sutil 6 n/a
13 Daniel Ricciardo 6 +4
14 Nico Hulkenberg 5 +3
15 Jean-Eric Vergne 1 -3
16 Valtteri Bottas 0 n/a
17 Pastor Maldonado 0 -4
18 Esteban Gutierrez 0 n/a
19 Jules Bianchi 0 n/a
20 Charles Pic 0 n/a
21 Giedo van der Garde 0 n/a
22 Max Chilton 0 n/a

Constructors’ championship points

Pos. Team Points vs. 2012
1 Red Bull 109 +8
2 Lotus 93 +36
3 Ferrari 77 +32
4 Mercedes 64 +27
5 Force India 26 +9
6 McLaren 23 -69
7 Toro Rosso 7 +1
8 Sauber 5 -26
9 Williams 0 -18
10 Marussia 0 0
11 Caterham 0 0

Helio Castroneves ‘hustling’ for IndyCar, IMSA rides; talking with four to five teams

Helio Castroneves IMSA IndyCar
IMSA
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As his season gathers steam, Helio Castroneves said his prospects for finding new rides for 2021 in IMSA and IndyCar also are gaining momentum.

The three-time Indianapolis 500 winner said Monday he is optimistic about landing in either or perhaps a combination of both series when Team Penske and Acura end their DPi partnership after this season.

“A lot of people I spoke with, four to five teams, are interested,” Castroneves said. “Whether it’s doing Indy 500 only, whether it’s pushing to do full time or do the sports cars as well. It’s been a very nice conversation.

LOOKING AHEADTeam Penske drivers seeking new rides for 2021

“I have a lot of respect for all the teams that have been talking, and I feel the same feedback. We just have to wait for their (sponsor) connections, and I’m also looking for some connections on my side as well, so hopefully we’ll be able to put this together and get something very soon.”

Given two decades of success with Penske in IndyCar and IMSA, Castroneves’ resume hardly needs burnishing. But the Brazilian has combined with co-driver Ricky Taylor in the No. 7 Acura DPi to win the past two overall victories at Road America and Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.

But Castroneves, who doesn’t have a manager, said he has been working the phones hard rather than wait for the strong results to bring in the calls.

“At this point, I feel like I’m the one who needs to be talking to them because people need to know I want to continue racing and understand my desire,” Castroneves, 45, said. “There is opportunity, no question, in both (IndyCar and IMSA), which I’m really happy about it. However, because of the COVID-19, a lot of things sometimes have to be a little delayed. But I’m excited. Whatever the opportunity and whatever destiny guides me, whether IndyCar or sports cars, trust me I’ll be as happy as it could be and doing my 100 percent like I always did.

“It’s like politics, you need to be out there, good news or bad news. People have to make notice of your presence. I’m hustling. I want to continue to keep it going. Hopefully, we’ll have good news very soon.”

The news has been all good lately on track for Castroneves and Taylor, who hope to continue their run Sunday at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

The No. 6 duo has surged to sixth in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship standings, 10 points out of the lead with four races remaining. After thinking there was “no hope” to be competitive after opening the season with three consecutive poor finishes, Taylor now sees an opportunity for a happy ending.

“With the program going away, Helio has won all the big races and given so much back to the team and left such a mark, he’s really part of Penske history,” Taylor said. “For me, it’s been an opportunity of a lifetime to be a part of it. I’d like to leave my little mark as well. Helio has won everything except for a championship.

“Obviously, we’ve won races already together, but we can win a championship now. I think if both of us can do that together and both win our first championship for ‘The Captain,’ that would be an absolute dream come true, and we can tie a bow on it and be happy.”