Hamilton: Pole is a “blessing” in Spa

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Lewis Hamilton has called pole position for the Belgian Grand Prix a “blessing” after a strong performance in difficult conditions today at Spa-Francorchamps.

The Briton was languishing in eighth place and struggling in the wet conditions before the circuit dried and allowed the 2008 world champion to take pole position with the final lap of Q3. However, Hamilton did not think that it was possible.

“I went wide in turn one and the dash display is usually telling you whether you’re up or down and it said I was three seconds down and then five seconds and six seconds, so I didn’t understand what was happening in the lap but I just kept pushing,” the Briton explained in the post-race press conference. “I could see I was catching Sebastian [Vettel] towards the end but what a blessing, I feel so fortunate to be up here.”

This may be his fourth consecutive pole position, but Hamilton revealed that he felt it was a particularly special one.

“I can’t remember the last time I crossed the line and had such a good feeling.

“It’s just crazy to think that this is my thirty-first pole and it still feels like it’s the first one. It’s just an incredible feeling and I’m very grateful to be here today.”

Hamilton edged out championship rival Vettel by just two-tenths of a second in the dying moments of the session as he took advantage of a change in conditions to jump up the order late on. If he is to reignite his championship charge and cut the sizeable gap to Vettel, Hamilton will need to produce a strong drive tomorrow and claim his second win at Spa – with or without the rain.

Zach Veach splits with Andretti Autosport for rest of IndyCar season

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Zach Veach will be leaving his Andretti Autosport ride with three races remaining in the season, choosing to explore options after the decision was made he wouldn’t return for 2021.

In a Wednesday release, Andretti Autosport said a replacement driver for the No. 26 Dallara-Honda would be named in the coming days. The NTT IndyCar Series will race Oct. 2-3 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and then conclude the season Oct. 25 on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida.

Veach was ranked 11th in the points standings through 11 races of his third season with Andretti. Since a fourth in the June 6 season opener at Texas Motor Speedway, he hadn’t finished higher than 14th.

“The decision was made that I will not be returning in 2021 with Andretti Autosport in the No. 26 Gainbridge car,” Veach said in the Andretti release. “This, along with knowing that limited testing exists for teams due to COVID, have led me to the decision to step out of the car for the remainder of the 2020 IndyCar season. I am doing this to allow the team to have time with other drivers as they prepare for 2021, and so that I can also explore my own 2021 options.

“This is the hardest decision I have ever made, but to me, racing is about family, and it is my belief that you take care of your family. Andretti Autosport is my family and I feel this is what is best to help us all reach the next step. I will forever be grateful to Michael and the team for all of their support over the years. I would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for a relationship that started many years ago with Road to Indy. I will also be forever grateful to Dan Towriss for his friendship and for the opportunity he and Gainbridge have given me.

“My love for this sport and the people involved is unmeasurable, and I look forward to continuing to be amongst the racing world and fans in 2021.”

Said team owner Michael Andretti: “We first welcomed Zach to the Andretti team back in his USF2000 days and have enjoyed watching him grow and evolve as a racer, and a person. His decision to allow us to use the last few races to explore our 2021 options shows the measure of his character.

“Zach has always placed team and family first, and we’re very happy to have had him as part of ours for so many years. We wish him the best in whatever 2021 may bring and will always consider him a friend.”

Andretti fields five full-time cars for Veach, Alexander Rossi, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Marco Andretti and Colton Herta.

It also has fielded James Hinchcliffe in three races this season.