Vettel beats Alonso to 5th after classic fight at Silverstone

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Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso treated fans watching today’s British Grand Prix to an epic battle on track even though they were only fighting for fifth position.

The two drivers have six world championships between them, and this showed as they tussled for position throughout the race at Silverstone.

After the race was red flagged following Kimi Raikkonen’s crash on lap one, Red Bull opted to switch Vettel to the hard tire for the restart. On the slower compound, he struggled, allowing Alonso to make a brave pass on the entry to Copse and move ahead on the mediums.

However, the thinking behind Red Bull’s decision became clear as the race developed. With 15 laps to go, Vettel closed on Alonso and began to hound him for fifth position. The Spaniard bravely defended around the final complex of corners, infuriating Vettel who claimed that they were close to crashing.

Vettel continued to apply pressure, but Alonso would just not yield. Both drivers reported each other to FIA race director Charlie Whiting, with Alonso accused of being too aggressive and Vettel apparently exceeding track limits. Thankfully, no action was taken and the two drivers were able to juke it out on track.

Following many whining radio calls, Vettel eventually found a way past heading into Copse and crossed the line in fifth place.

“It felt very close with Fernando,” Vettel said after the race. “Maybe a bit too close! It got a bit silly when we both started to complain about the other going off track; I don’t think the people care too much if the car is a little bit to the left or the right.

“I got the message that I should respect the limits and that he was complaining, so I was doing the same thing. I’m not sure who won the list keeping. I think twice it was maybe a bit too harsh into turn six, but it was good to get the move at the end.

“I expected to get third today, the pace was there but the strategy wasn’t right. I’m looking forward to my home race in Germany; it’s always special to race there.”

Zach Veach splits with Andretti Autosport for rest of IndyCar season

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Zach Veach will be leaving his Andretti Autosport ride with three races remaining in the season, choosing to explore options after the decision was made he wouldn’t return for 2021.

In a Wednesday release, Andretti Autosport said a replacement driver for the No. 26 Dallara-Honda would be named in the coming days. The NTT IndyCar Series will race Oct. 2-3 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and then conclude the season Oct. 25 on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida.

Veach was ranked 11th in the points standings through 11 races of his third season with Andretti. Since a fourth in the June 6 season opener at Texas Motor Speedway, he hadn’t finished higher than 14th.

“The decision was made that I will not be returning in 2021 with Andretti Autosport in the No. 26 Gainbridge car,” Veach said in the Andretti release. “This, along with knowing that limited testing exists for teams due to COVID, have led me to the decision to step out of the car for the remainder of the 2020 IndyCar season. I am doing this to allow the team to have time with other drivers as they prepare for 2021, and so that I can also explore my own 2021 options.

“This is the hardest decision I have ever made, but to me, racing is about family, and it is my belief that you take care of your family. Andretti Autosport is my family and I feel this is what is best to help us all reach the next step. I will forever be grateful to Michael and the team for all of their support over the years. I would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for a relationship that started many years ago with Road to Indy. I will also be forever grateful to Dan Towriss for his friendship and for the opportunity he and Gainbridge have given me.

“My love for this sport and the people involved is unmeasurable, and I look forward to continuing to be amongst the racing world and fans in 2021.”

Said team owner Michael Andretti: “We first welcomed Zach to the Andretti team back in his USF2000 days and have enjoyed watching him grow and evolve as a racer, and a person. His decision to allow us to use the last few races to explore our 2021 options shows the measure of his character.

“Zach has always placed team and family first, and we’re very happy to have had him as part of ours for so many years. We wish him the best in whatever 2021 may bring and will always consider him a friend.”

Andretti fields five full-time cars for Veach, Alexander Rossi, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Marco Andretti and Colton Herta.

It also has fielded James Hinchcliffe in three races this season.