van der Garde: Caterham deserve to finish ahead of Marussia

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Giedo van der Garde has said that he hopes to record a top thirteen finish in the final two races of the season to promote Caterham up to tenth in the constructors’ championship, believing that it would be a fair result.

Both Caterham and Marussia have been embroiled in this season-long battle for P10, with the extra position resulting in greater amounts of prize money which can be crucial in developing next year’s car. Marussia currently occupy tenth place thanks to Jules Bianchi’s thirteenth place finish at the Malaysian Grand Prix back in March. However, since the Bahrain Grand Prix in April, Caterham have enjoyed a pace advantage over their Anglo-Russian rivals but have lacked the luck required to see them finish so highly. Nevertheless, van der Garde is still hopeful.

“What would I like to achieve in the final couple of races? The simple answer is tenth place in the constructors’ championship for the team,” van der Garde explained in his latest ‘Rookie Diary’ on the official Formula One website. “If we do that it’ll mean Charles [Pic] or I will have finished thirteenth or higher – obviously I’d like it to be me – but for the team, and for me personally, I think that would be a fair result. We started behind Marussia in terms of pure pace and because everyone at the factory and on track worked so hard, we overtook them by Spain and have been faster ever since.”

van der Garde made his Formula One debut at the beginning of the year, and the Dutchman struggled at first before finding his feet. He has made Q2 on two occasions and recently began to establish himself as the quickest of the ‘bottom four’ runners, and he will be keen on securing a place with Caterham in 2014 despite Heikki Kovalainen being poised to return.

Lewis Hamilton aims to match Michael Schumacher’s F1 win record

Lewis Hamilton Schumacher record
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SOCHI, Russia — Lewis Hamilton has set many Formula One marks over the years, but few are as significant as the Michael Schumacher record he can match Sunday at the Russian Grand Prix.

Victory for Hamilton at the Sochi Olympic Park would see him draw level with Schumacher at 91 career victories, more than any other driver in the 70-year history of F1.

It also would increase Hamilton’s commanding 55-point lead over teammate Valtteri Bottas in the championship standings, putting him closer to a seventh world championship, matching another Schumacher record.

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History is on the side of Hamilton, who won Sept. 13 at Mugello. He’s won four of the six Russian races so far, and all six were won by Mercedes drivers. His closest challenger is likely to be Bottas, who beat Hamilton in the 2017 edition of the Russian Grand Prix.

Elsewhere in the championship hunt, Red Bull driver Max Verstappen’s season has gone up in smoke since his Aug. 9 victory at Silverstone. An overheating engine forced the Dutch driver out of the Sept. 6 race at Monza and then a similar problem struck just before the start at Mugello. Verstappen was far slower off the line than the cars around him and was struck by Kimi Raikkonen’s Alfa Romeo.

That leaves Verstappen 80 points off Hamilton in the standings and a 25-point deficit to Bottas.

If Hamilton does win to tie Schumachher at Sochi, more fans will see it in person than any other race in a 2020 season mostly run before empty grandstands because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Organizers say the race weekend is sold out but haven’t given final ticket sales figures.

Race promoter Alexei Titov previously told Russian state TV that the stands would be at 50 percent of their capacity, which equates to around 30,000 spectators.

That’s far more than the previous season high of 3,000 fans for the most recent race, the Tuscan Grand Prix at the Mugello circuit.

Unlike at the last two races in Italy, there will be a full entertainment program on offer for fans with concerts featuring some of Russia’s most popular musicians.

Russian organizers say they’re taking precautions to keep fans safe and will have medical staff posted at checkpoints around the venue, and that spectators will have their temperature measured on entry.