Power: “You’ve just gotta get it right, right out of the box”

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Verizon IndyCar Series points leader Will Power made a pit stop in Milwaukee yesterday as part of the pre-race promotion for the Milwaukee IndyFest weekend. He served up paninis and soup from the Simmer MKE food truck, then ran some demo laps at a go-kart facility here.

While here, he took the time to reflect on the Houston weekend and the level of competition he’s facing this year, as the driver of the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet looks for his first career championship.

“I’m already over it,” Power told MotorSportsTalk, referring to Houston. “At the end of the day, with two laps to go, we were sitting third. So it wasn’t for a lack of speed or anything. It’s just Houston has not been kind to Team Penske the last couple years.”

Power was an animal in his first stint. After starting 18th, Power was already up to 13th by Lap 4, 10th by Lap 17, fifth by Lap 25 and then fourth when he pitted on Lap 29. Once the pit stop cycle completed its run, Power was in third and in podium contention until the parts failure that struck.

We continue to discuss the level of competitiveness the series currently has on display, and Power reiterated what a challenge it is to nail the setup perfectly once a team unloads on a race weekend.

“You’re to the point in the season now where you’ve just gotta get it right on the weekend, right out of the box,” Power said. “You don’t have time to do quite as much setup and preparation.”

He does like this current flow of races, where there’s six events in four weekends. But the recovery day after Houston was definitely needed before he came up to Milwaukee for the day.

From here it’s onto Pocono (Sunday, noon ET, NBCSN), and Power confirmed the key is to avoid losing too many points on this double points weekend.

“Double points can be a big hit with the guys you’re fighting with,” he said. “It’d be awesome to win. Anytime you win an oval you’d be bloody happy.”

Valtteri Bottas wins chaotic season-opening F1 Austrian Grand Prix

Mark Thompson/Getty Images
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SPIELBERG, Austria — Valtteri Bottas won a chaotic season-opening F1 Austrian Grand Prix while six-time series champion Lewis Hamilton finished fourth after getting a late time penalty Sunday.

The Formula One race was interrupted three times by a safety car, and nine of 20 drivers abandoned, including both Red Bulls of Max Verstappen and Alexander Albon – who tried to overtake Hamilton on the outside with 10 laps left, touched wheels and flew off track.

Hamilton was given a 5-second time penalty for causing the collision, having earlier been hit with a three-place grid penalty after an incident in Saturday’s qualifying was reviewed by stewards.

SHOW OF SUPPORT: Drivers take knee before race

Bottas led all 71 laps in the eighth victory of his career. It was the second consecutive victory in the season opener for the Finn, though he won four months earlier in 2019 after this season’s start was delayed by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Lando Norris of McLaren F1 celebrates after his first podium finish (Mark Thompson/Getty Images).

Bottas started from pole position and Hamilton from fifth, but it looked like a straight fight between the two Mercedes drivers as has been the case so often in recent years.

But late drama in Spielberg ensured otherwise and Hamilton’s time penalty meant Charles Leclerc took second place for Ferrari, and Lando Norris sent McLaren’s garage into raptures – and threw all social distancing rules out of the window amid the euphoria – with third place.

It was the 20-year-old British driver’s first career podium, and his superb final lap was the fastest of a dramatic season opener.

Norris became the youngest British driver to secure a podium finish and the third-youngest ever in Formula One.

Valtteri Bottas leads Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton during the Formula One Grand Prix of Austria (Mark Thompson/Getty Images).