Lotus gambled to try to beat Red Bull


Lotus trackside operations director Alan Permane said Romain Grosjean lost out to Mark Webber at the end of the race because the team took a gamble on trying to beat both the Red Bulls.

Grosjean led almost half of the race but was passed by both Red Bulls during his final stint.

“What we could have done, and we discussed it at the time, was to forget about [Sebastian] Vettel and assume he was going to beat us anyway so go longer on that second stint,” Permane told Autosport.

“We may then have beaten Mark. But at the time we said, let’s just try and win. Let’s give it a go.”

“To gamble with second and third wasn’t a huge thing for us,” Permane added, because the team were already comfortably out-scoring Mercedes and Ferrari.

It was the second race in a row Lotus have taken points off their closest championship rivals, meaning the contest for second place in the teams’ points is very much a three-way fight. Ferrari, Mercedes and Lotus are covered by 33 points with 172 up for grabs before the end of the season.

A key factor in Lotus’s recent gains has been the improving form of Grosjean. He scored podium finish in the last two races and was on course for another in Singapore before suffering an engine problem.

Veach tops opening IndyCar practice at Pocono

Photo: IndyCar
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LONG POND, Pa – After a delay of 30 minutes due to track drying – overnight rains hit Pocono Raceway and the surrounding area – opening practice for Sunday’s ABC Supply 500 (1:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN) got underway at 11:00 a.m. ET.

Andretti Autosport’s Zach Veach topped the speed charts in that opening practice, with a fastest speed of 217.393 mph. Veach also posted the best no-tow speed at 214.233 mph.

Behind Veach, Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden was second with quick lap of 217.016 mph – Veach and Newgarden were also the only drivers above the 217 mark in the first practice.

Veach’s teammate Alexander Rossi was third. Sebastien Bourdais was fourth for Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser-Sullivan, while A.J. Foyt Racing’s Tony Kanaan rounded out the top five.

The lone interruption in the session came with just over 10 minutes remaining, with a yellow for a track inspection to check for debris. However, the session itself saw no on-track incidents.

Of note: Conor Daly and Harding Racing experienced a mechanical problem that limited their running during the session. Daly was able to complete 15 timed laps, but only with a best lap of 206.012 mph.

Results are below. Qualifying is scheduled for Saturday at 1:30 p.m. ET.