Vettel pleased to secure second pole at COTA

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Sebastian Vettel is pleased to have secured his second pole position at the Circuit of the Americas today ahead of the United States Grand Prix (live on NBC tomorrow from 1pm ET).

The German driver appeared to be lacking the pace of teammate Mark Webber in the final part of qualifying, falling over two-tenths behind the Australian’s time through the first two sectors of his final lap. However, a scintillating final sector from Vettel meant that he finished 0.103 seconds ahead of Webber to secure his forty-fourth pole position.

“It’s obviously great for the team to have both cars on the front row for tomorrow,” Vettel said after qualifying. “It was very close with Mark, he seemed to get closer and closer as the weekend went on, so fortunately I was just able to stay ahead. I think he might have had a mistake on his final run.

“I’m very happy with pole position today, I like this place and the circuit and I’m looking forward to tomorrow. It’s important to start on the clean side, so we’ll see what we can do.”

Vettel said that his efforts were not aided by the tricky conditions, with a strong wind making life more difficult for many of the drivers throughout the session on Saturday afternoon.

“It was a tricky session as the wind had picked up quite a bit since this morning; it does influence the behaviour of the car and it’s not that easy, especially in the corners, I wasn’t that happy with my first run in Q3, but I think I had a solid run at the end which was enough.”

It was a brilliant display from Vettel at the last to deny his teammate. He will be hoping to continue this form in the race tomorrow to claim his first grand prix victory on American soil and his eighth in a row.

Santino Ferrucci will drive No. 14 for AJ Foyt Racing full time in 2023 IndyCar season

Santino Ferrucci AJ Foyt
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Santino Ferrucci will return to full-time racing in the NTT IndyCar Series next season, joining AJ Foyt Racing.

Ferrucci had made eight IndyCar starts with three teams since his last full-time season in 2020 while also racing part time in the NASCAR Xfinity Series this year.

He will drive the storied No. 14 Dallara-Chevrolet for four-time Indy 500 winner A.J. Foyt’s team, which will field the car from its Waller, Texas headquarters.

“It’s incredibly exciting to be back in the INDYCAR Series full time,” Ferrucci said in a team release. “Being a part-time driver over the last two years has been hard for me, personally. I’m a race car driver, and I want to compete. Working with different teams has been exciting, and I’m proud that no matter which car I’ve raced, I’ve always shown speed and consistency. I couldn’t be more excited to join AJ Foyt Racing in the 14 Chevy. I can’t wait to make the best of it.”

Ferrucci, 24, had finished a career-best fourth in IndyCar four times, including the 104th Indy 500 in 2020. He was the 2019 Indy 500 rookie of the year with a sixth.

In nine Xfinity starts since 2021, Ferrucci has a career-best finish of 13th at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

“I am thrilled to welcome Santino to the team,” Larry Foyt said in a release. “He’s shown a knack for getting toward the front of the field, and I think he is a racer who moves forward on race day. A.J. sees the fire in him and has enjoyed their meetings together. I think Santino’s experience will help his rookie teammate as well, so he is a great addition to our roster.”

Ferrucci will be teamed at AJ Foyt Racing with Benjamin Pedersen, who finished fifth in the 2022 Indy Lights standings. The team has yet to specify the number for Pedersen’s entry, which will be fielded out of its Indianapolis race shop.

Foyt’s two full-time drivers last season were Dalton Kellett and Kyle Kirkwood, who is moving to Andretti Autosport.