Webber: Gamble paid off in qualifying

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Mark Webber has explained how his gamble in Q3 paid off as he managed to qualify in third place for tomorrow’s Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps.

With rain falling intermittently throughout all three qualifying sessions in Belgium, conditions were difficult for the drivers to handle. During Q1, Max Chilton, Jules Bianchi and Giedo van der Garde all made it through to Q2 by gambling on slick tires. Later in Q3, Webber, Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton all timed their final runs perfectly in order to overhaul Nico Rosberg at the top of the timesheets and lock out the top three slots on the grid.

“It was a difficult session to make all the right calls, but in the end I think we got most things right,” Webber said in the post-race press conference. “I think it’s very easy to look stupid in those conditions, but in the end we did most things pretty good I’d say.”

Webber explained the decision to put in a slower middle lap in order to allow conditions to improve and not over-use the tires, expressing his happiness that it went to plan and elevated him into the top three.

“It was a ballsy thing to go slower on the second to last lap to save the tires, when you’re still not sure if the track will improve for the last lap, but in the end it worked out and I’m happy to be up there for tomorrow’s race.“

This race will be Webber’s final appearance at Spa-Francorchamps as a Formula One driver ahead of his retirement at the end of the season, but he has already expressed his anticipation for returning to the track as part of Porsche’s LMP1 programme next year.

Carb Day: Tony Kanaan is fastest in final practice for Sunday’s Indy 500

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Tony Kanaan wants to put legendary driver and team owner A.J. Foyt back into Victory Lane at the Indianapolis 500.

Kanaan took a big step toward achieving that goal in Friday’s final practice for Sunday’s 102nd running of the Greatest Spectacle In Racing.

Kanaan was fastest of the 33-driver field, with a best lap around the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval at 227.791 mph, more than 2 mph faster than the second-fastest driver, Kanaan’s former teammate, Scott Dixon (225.684 mph).

Foyt won a record-tying four Indy 500’s as a driver. It’s been nearly 20 years since he also won as a team owner in 1999 with Kenny Brack behind the wheel.

Marco Andretti was third-fastest (225.200 mph), followed by Sebastien Bourdais (224.815), Charlie Kimball (224.712), 2017 Indy 500 winner Takuma Sato (224.083), Will Power (223.942), Danica Patrick (223.653), Spencer Pigot (223.584) and Ed Jones (223.556).

Other notable driver speeds included:

* Pole sitter Ed Carpenter was 14th fastest (223.219 mph).

* Reigning Verizon IndyCar Series champ Josef Newgarden was 15th (223.186 mph).

* Helio Castroneves, hoping to earn a record-tying fourth 500 win, was 17th (222.913 mph).

* Graham Rahal was 21st (222.526).

* Former 500 winner Ryan Hunter-Reay was 26th (221.916 mph), followed by rookie Robert Wickens (221.821 mph), carrying the mantle for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports with James Hinchcliffe having failed to qualify for the race.

* The biggest surprise was 2016 Indy 500 winner Alexander Rossi, who was 32nd fastest (221.374 mph).

We’ll have the full speed grid, as well as full driver quotes, shortly. Please check back soon.

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