Red Bull drivers expecting a tight race on Sunday

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Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber are both pleased with their efforts in today’s practice for the Spanish Grand Prix, despite having lost most of the first session due to wet weather.

This lack of running made testing the new upgrades particularly difficult, but defending champion Vettel believes that this was not too great an issue due to the regulations.

“We have some new parts here but the days of big, big upgrades don’t really happen now with the regulations how they are,” Vettel explained in a team statement. “This afternoon was fairly conclusive, but this morning wasn’t really much good with the weather.”

Despite many drivers suffering from high wear on their Pirellis and Paul di Resta experiencing a tire failure, Vettel does not believe that the strategy taken will be too different to that of recent races.

“It’s hard to say much about the harder tire, I think the number of pit stops will be the same here in this race as at the last few.”

2010 race winner Mark Webber believes that the grand prix will be a tight one, and practice suggested that Ferrari would be challenging Red Bull in Spain this weekend.

“It looks reasonably tight,” Webber said. “We couldn’t have got more out of it today really, the weather made things a bit tricky, but it was a pretty good day overall.”

Red Bull will be pleased to have topped FP2 so resoundingly ahead of Ferrari, but Fernando Alonso’s home crowd could spur him on to challenge both Vettel and Webber during the race on Sunday. With one win apiece in Spain, the Red Bull duo will be keen on doubling their tallies as they look to seize the upper hand in both championships.

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.”