Lotus owner Lopez laments lost victory in Spain

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Lotus owner Gerard Lopez believes that the team was unfortunate not to win last weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix, lamenting traffic which stopped Kimi Raikkonen’s charge early on.

Raikkonen utilized a three-stop strategy at the Circuit de Catalunya in order to jump the likes of Sebastian Vettel and Felipe Massa during the race, but he still finished a full 9 seconds behind race winner Fernando Alonso on Sunday. However, Lopez has great faith in the team following a strong start to the season.

“We thought there was a way to win it. We lost the race right at the beginning when Fernando and Vettel were able to jump Hamilton and we got stuck a couple of times in traffic. That’s where we lost the race, and other than that, it was very good,” Lopez told Adam Cooper. “The car is super consistent, and it was fast on both tyres.”

When asked about the rest of the field, Lopez highlighted Ferrari as being the front-runners following their fine performance at last weekend’s race, and he also revealed his surprise at Red Bull’s form in Spain.

“I was a bit surprised by the Red Bulls. Spain was an important race, everybody’s going to throw what they have at the car.

“I think Mercedes we expected to be fast on one lap. The Ferrari is probably the strongest car right now. Red Bull maybe a little bit below where we expected them.”

Lotus has certainly made a good start to the season, currently sitting P3 in the constructors’ championship and Kimi Raikkonen leads their drivers’ title charge, just four points behind Vettel at the top. Lopez has every reason to be pleased with his team, and they will be keen on continuing this form into the rest of the season.

James Hinchcliffe on Andretti: ‘It’s certainly the place I want to be’

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Since before the start of the 2020 NTT IndyCar Series season, James Hinchcliffe tirelessly has worked to ensure the future would include a full-time return in 2021.

And with an opportunity to run the final three races this season with Andretti Autosport, there seems a surefire (albeit unlikely) path.

“If I go out and win all three,” Hinchcliffe joked with IndyCar on NBC announcer Leigh Diffey in an interview Friday (watch the video above), “it would be hard for them to say no, right?”

Regardless of whether he can go unbeaten at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course next weekend or the Oct. 25 season finale at St. Petersburg, Florida (where he earned his first career win in 2013), Hinchcliffe will have the chance to improve his stock with the team that he knows well and now has an opening among its five cars for 2021.

All three of Hinchcliffe’s starts this season — the June 6 season opener at Texas Motor Speedway, July 4 at the IMS road course and the Indianapolis 500 — were with Andretti, where he ran full time in IndyCar from 2012-14.

“Obviously, the plan from January 2020 was already working on ’21 and trying to be in a full-time program,” he said. “I’ve really enjoyed being reunited with Andretti Autosport, and everybody there has been so supportive. It’s been a very fun year for me on track. It’s been kind of a breath of fresh air in a lot of ways.

“It’s certainly the place I want to be moving forward. We’ve been working on that, working on those conversations. Genesys has been an incredible partner in my three races. We’ll be representing Gainbridge primarily, but Genesys will still have a position on our car in the last three.”

Gainbridge is the primary sponsor of the No. 26 Dallara-Honda that was vacated by Zach Veach, who left the team after it was determined he wouldn’t return in 2021. Hinchcliffe can empathize having lost his ride with Arrow McLaren SP after last season with a year left on his deal.

“You never want to earn a ride at the expense of somebody else in the sense that has happened here with Zach,” Hinchcliffe said. “I feel bad that he’s not able to see out the last three races of his season. I’ve got a lot of respect for him off track. He’s been a teammate this year, a colleague for years before that and honestly a friend for years before that. I’ve got a lot of time for him and his family. I understand a little bit of what it’s like in that position and what he’s going through.”

Hinchcliffe is ready to seize the moment, though, starting with the Oct. 2-3 doubleheader race weekend at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He had been hoping to add the Harvest Indy Grand Prix to his schedule and had been working out for the possibility.

“Then last week I had given up hope (and) was resigned that wasn’t happening,” he said. “I told my trainer, ‘I think we’re done for this year.’ Three days later, this call comes. I’m glad we didn’t make that decision too early. I feel great physically.

“I look at it as a great opportunity to continue to show I’ve still got what it takes and should be there hopefully full time next year on the grid.”

Watch Hinchliffe’s video with Leigh Diffey above or by clicking here.