Mercedes produces F1’s equivalent of the perfect game

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It’s not often that we can refer to baseball here on MotorSportsTalk. We tend to leave that to the guys over at HardballTalk. However, yesterday’s Bahrain Grand Prix allowed us to draw quite a nice analogy from the sport as Mercedes achieved F1’s equivalent of a “perfect game.”

By this we mean that not only did the team finish fastest in every session, but its drivers actually finished first and second in them, too. The team could not possibly have done any better than it did this weekend, albeit bar not topping Q1 and Q2 (which don’t actually contribute to the grid) and failing to enjoy a greater winning margin thanks to the pesky safety car.

FP1: 1. Lewis Hamilton 2. Nico Rosberg (report)
FP2: 1. Lewis Hamilton 2. Nico Rosberg (report)
FP3: 1. Lewis Hamilton 2. Nico Rosberg (report)
Qualifying: 1. Nico Rosberg 2. Lewis Hamilton (report)
Race: 1. Lewis Hamilton 2. Nico Rosberg (report)

Rosberg also claimed the fastest lap of the race on Sunday. Even over the past five years or so of Red Bull dominance, we have not seen a weekend quite as perfect as this.

What made Mercedes’ victory all the more refreshing was the absence of team orders during the race on Sunday. Many of the great inter-team battles over the past few years have been neutered or prevented by calls from the pit wall to “calm down” or “hold position.” However, just as they had promised to, the Mercedes management allowed its drivers to race and race hard – and boy did they live up to that during the race on Sunday.

The only call given came from Paddy Lowe under the safety car, telling both drivers to make sure they bring their cars home – i.e. race against each other, but don’t crash into each other.

Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton shared a battle that we have not seen in many a year; two drivers, equal cars, different tires, just pure racing talent. It was a masterclass in defence from Hamilton, and an example in clean racing that the rest of the field should take note of.

Once again, the team was a class apart from the rest of the field, securing its second straight one-two finish and third consecutive win. With a commanding constructors’ championship lead and a pace advantage that makes Newey’s recent cars seem pretty average, it’s difficult to see just when this streak is going to end.

IndyCar entry lists for Harvest GP at Indianapolis Motor Speedway

IndyCar entry lists Indianapolis
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There are 25 drivers on the NTT IndyCar Series entry lists at Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course with a few new yet familiar faces for the Oct. 2-3 race weekend.

Four-time champion Sebastien Bourdais will make his season debut in the No. 14 Dallara-Chevrolet (shifting Dalton Kellett to the No. 41) with AJ Foyt Racing, which he is joining full time next season. James Hinchcliffe, who had run three races with Andretti Autosport, will return in place of Zach Veach in the No. 26 Dallara-Honda. Helio Castroneves will drive Arrow McLaren SP’s No. 7 Dallara-Chevy for Oliver Askew, who is out with concussion-like symptoms.

Sage Karam, who has two IndyCar starts this year at IMS (the road course on July 4 and the Indy 500 on Aug. 23), also will return to the series in Dreyer & Reinbold’s No. 24 Dallara-Chevrolet.

HARVEST GP ENTRY LISTS: Friday l Saturday

Friday and Saturday of the Harvest GP presented by GMR will mark the second and third races this season on Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s 14-turn, 2.439-mile road course. While the July 4 race on the circuit was 80 laps, Friday’s distance is 85 laps, and Saturday will be a 75-lap event.

Championship leader Scott Dixon led 26 of 80 laps to win the July 4 race at the IMS road course. With three races remaining in the series, the five-time series champion enters with a 72-point lead on Josef Newgarden.

Click here to see who’s on the IndyCar entry lists in Race 1 and in Race 2 for the Harvest GP presented by GMR at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.


START TIMES AND TV INFO FOR INDYCAR AT INDIANAPOLIS MOTOR SPEEDWAY ROAD COURSE (all times ET):

Thursday

IndyCar NTT Series practice: 2:25-3:40 p.m., NBC Sports Gold

IndyCar qualifying, Race 1: 6:20 p.m. (two groups/12 minutes apiece), NBC Sports Gold

Friday

—IndyCar Harvest Grand Prix, Race 1: 3:30 p.m. (green flag, 5 p.m.), USA Network, NBC Sports Gold

Saturday

—IndyCar qualifying: 10:20 a.m. (two groups/12 minutes apiece), NBC Sports Gold

—IndyCar Harvest Grand Prix, Race 2: 2:30 p.m (green flag, 2:31 p.m.)., NBC, NBC Sports Gold