Pic: I am very confident in Pirelli

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Charles Pic is pleased with the changes that have been made to the Pirelli tires following the British Grand Prix, admitting that he has complete confidence in the Italian tire supplier.

Speaking exclusively to NBC Sports following the second free practice session on Friday, Pic was pleased with the pace he had managed during the two ninety minute sessions.

“Yeah, it’s been a good day for us,” he said. “I think we finished our test programmes and now we have to see tomorrow and the race. Our objective is to keep the same pace as Silverstone and maybe if we can be even a bit closer to the team in front in the race.”

Pic finished 18th in FP1 and 19th in FP2, and he was the leading driver from Caterham and Marussia in both sessions. Although many had been wary of the tire changes in case they changed the pecking order, Pic is pleased that Pirelli acted so quickly, echoing Sebastian Vettel’s sentiments.

“Yeah, I’m very confident in Pirelli’s capacity to react to this. They made the step we wanted and I am sure the tire will be okay.”

However, the French driver admitted that minor changes were necessary to his driving style and setup.

“If the tires are different, we change a bit, yeah.”

Pic’s long run pace was particularly impressive, consistently lapping between 0.5 seconds and 1 second quicker than Marussia’s Max Chilton during FP2. In an interview with NBC Sports yesterday, Pic explained how he felt Caterham’s race pace was a real strength as the team pursues its first points since joining the sport in 2010.

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.