Grosjean’s season ends in retirement after engine failure

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Romain Grosjean’s second full season in Formula One has come to a disappointing end during today’s Brazilian Grand Prix after the French driver suffered from an engine failure on the third lap of the race.

Grosjean, who did earn himself a ‘crash kid’ reputation in 2012 after a series of incidents, has developed into a highly capable and impressive driver in the past few months with a string of top five finishes that dates back to the Korean Grand Prix in October. He also came close to winning the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka, but he was eventually forced to settle for third place as Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber found a way past the Lotus in the final stint of the race.

However, Grosjean’s fine run of form came to an unfortunate end in Brazil today. After starting the race in sixth place, Grosjean made a poor start to lose a couple of positions before his engine eventually cried enough, spewing plumes of smoke across the final corner of the race track. His Lotus car eventually ground to a halt on the inside of the final corner just before the pit entry, meaning that Grosjean did not have too far to go.

Despite this not being the way Grosjean would have wanted his season to finish, he will undoubtedly be pleased with his performances in the second half of 2013 that have secured him a place with Lotus in 2014.

Sage Karam, Tony Kanaan fastest in Monday’s practice for Indy 500

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In the second-to-last practice session of the week, Sage Karam paced the 33 drivers qualified for Sunday’s Indianapolis 500 on Monday.

Karam had a field-best speed of 226.461 mph, followed by Tony Kanan (225.123 mph), Ryan Hunter-Reay (224.820), Charlie Kimball (224.582) and Alexander Rossi (224.507).

Sixth through 10th fastest were Will Power (224.445), Helio Castroneves (224.368), Marco Andretti (224.148) and rookie Zachary Claman Demelo (224.91) and Scott Dixon (223.966).

Power and Castroneves ran the most laps of all drivers at 120 and 118, respectively.

Two other Team Penske drivers struggled to get speed out of their cars. Defending Verizon IndyCar Series champion Josef Newgarden was 28th-fastest (221.982 mph) and Simon Pagenaud, who was the slowest (220.902 mph) of the 33 cars on-track.

Pole sitter Ed Carpenter was 14th-fastest with a best speed of 223.573 mph in a 100-lap effort.

Most drivers were in race trim or were testing things for Sunday’s Greatest Spectacle In Racing such as fuel mileage, chassis setup and more.

Rookie Matheus Leist missed most of the session with an apparent electrical problem that kept him to just 19 laps.

There was one incident of note during the 3 ½ hour session: IndyCar rookie Robert Wickens crashed coming out of Turn 2 during the first hour of practice.

Wickens appeared to skim the outside SAFER Barrier, went left and then violently turned hard back into the outside retaining wall.

MORE: Wickens wrecks during Indy 500 practice

The Honda-powered machine for the Canadian driver suffered heavy damage to the right side, particularly the right front tire and the right side of the front end.

There will be no further on-track activity for the Indy cars until Friday’s final practice to fine tune things for Sunday’s 102nd Running of the Indianapolis 500.

We’ll have the full practice speed chart, as well as What Drivers Said, shortly. Please check back soon.

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