Esteban Gutierrez will be celebrating tonight after scoring his first points in Formula One, having made his debut at the beginning of the season. The Mexican driver ran strongly throughout the race at Suzuka today to cross the line in seventh place behind his teammate and ahead of Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg.
Having qualified in fourteenth place, Gutierrez made a fantastic start to jump up to ninth and he remained in the fight for the final points-paying positions for a large part of the race. However, he did not simply fall backwards, battling for position with Felipe Massa and Kimi Raikkonen before eventually losing out to both drivers. A drive-through penalty for Massa saw the Brazilian fall back down the order, allowing Gutierrez to make up a position. He then moved up to P9 on lap thirty-seven with a great overtake on Jean-Eric Vergne before benefitting from late pit stops for Jenson Button and Nico Rosberg.
In the final few laps, Rosberg did close up on the back of the Sauber, but the German driver was asked to save fuel. As a result, Gutierrez kept the three-time grand prix winner at bay to score his first points of the season.
Not only are these Gutierrez’s first points of the season, but they are also the first for any of the five rookies on the grid in 2013. Valtteri Bottas, Giedo van der Garde, Max Chilton and Jules Bianchi are all yet to score.
Gutierrez’s result also allowed Sauber to breakaway from Toro Rosso in the battle for seventh in the constructors’ championship, with the team now fourteen points ahead and just seventeen behind sixth-placed Force India.
The NTT IndyCar Series will be sharing Indianapolis Motor Speedway with the NASCAR Cup Series in a race weekend doubleheader for the second consecutive season, but both series will be on the road course in August 2021.
IMS announced Wednesday that IndyCar will hold an Aug. 14, 2021 race on its 14-turn, 2.439-mile road course. It’ll be a day before NASCAR’s premier series runs the same layout for the first time after the Brickyard 400 was contested on the 2.5-mile oval for the first time in 27 years.
This season’s rescheduling of the IndyCar GMR Grand Prix to July 4, 2019 (a day before the Brickyard 400) led to the first NASCAR-IndyCar doubleheader weekend. The Xfinity Series also raced on the IMS road course for the first time July 4 after the IndyCar race ended.
INDYCAR AT IMS THIS WEEKEND: Harvest GP schedule, entry lists
IndyCar will be holding its second race weekend this year at the IMS road course Friday and Saturday with the Harvest GP.
“Our first NASCAR-INDYCAR weekend was a big success last July, with positive feedback from
our loyal fans who watched the races on NBC and from the drivers, teams and participants
involved,” IMS president Douglas Boles said in a statement. “The Xfinity Series’ debut on the IMS road course provided exactly the kind of thrilling action from the green to checkered flags that we anticipated, so we know the teams and drivers of the Cup Series will put on a great show as they turn left and right for the first time at IMS.
“We can’t wait to welcome back fans to see NASCAR and INDYCAR together during this
exciting weekend as we add another memorable chapter in the long, storied history of the
Indianapolis Motor Speedway.”
It also will mark the first NASCAR Cup-IndyCar doubleheader with a crowd as fans weren’t permitted at IMS in July because of the novel coronvavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Over the course of Wednesday, NASCAR is releasing its 36-race slate for next season. IndyCar has yet to release its full 2021 schedule.