Vergne ecstatic with best-ever result in F1

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Jean-Eric Vergne is delighted to have recorded his best-ever finish in Formula One at the Canadian Grand Prix, taking the checkered flag in 6th place which was made all the better for the Frenchman as the race was run in dry conditions.

“Incredible! I’m very happy. The best result for me of course, but also the highest finishing position since Vettel’s results for the team in 2008,” Vergne explained in a team statement. “It is even more satisfying, because it was a normal race in the dry, with no one going out in front of me so we achieved this position fair and square.”

Vergne feared that he would not even finish in the top sixteen yesterday in qualifying, but his record as a wet-weather specialist meant that many expected him to drop back during the dry race. Instead, he ran strongly to pass Bottas early on and hold it together to pick up eight valuable points.

“It’s a great result for the team as we are making progress race by race and it’s very encouraging for the rest of the season. It wasn’t too complicated, because we had the pace to maintain that position, although we did not have the speed of those ahead.”

Despite scoring such a great result, Vergne is confident that Toro Rosso can do even better in 2013.

“We must continue to push hard on the development of the car, starting with the next race at Silverstone, so that we can aim even higher than this.”

As well as aiding Toro Rosso’s cause, Vergne may have put himself in pole position to join Sebastian Vettel at Red Bull next season thanks to this result.

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

Helio Castroneves IMSA IndyCar
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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.”