IndyCar: Jack Hawksworth cleared to compete at Iowa

2 Comments

After missing last weekend’s race at Pocono due to a myocardial contusion sustained in a practice crash, Verizon IndyCar Series rookie Jack Hawksworth has been given the green light and will race in Saturday night’s Iowa Corn Indy 300 at Iowa Speedway (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN and NBC Sports Live Extra).

Hawksworth, driver of the No. 98 Bryan Herta Autosport Honda, was cleared to resume racing activities by INDYCAR medical director Dr. Michael Olinger according to a series release put out this afternoon.

Last Saturday, Hawksworth spun and crashed in Turn 1 during the second practice session. He was initially checked, cleared and released from the track’s infield care center, but was later transported to a local hospital and held there for overnight observation.

Hawksworth was released from the hospital on Sunday, but was not cleared to drive in that day’s Pocono IndyCar 500 and his No. 98 car was withdrawn from the grid.

In a team release, BHA said that putting in a substitute driver for Hawksworth at Pocono was not feasible and that they would focus on preparing their second car for Iowa.

“The guys are working on getting the [backup] car ready,” team owner Bryan Herta later told NBCSN during Sunday’s race. “…It’s a bump in the road. It’s unfortunate, but we should back on track next week.”

Yesterday, Hawksworth gave notice on Twitter that he and BHA are ready to get back in the fight.

Max Verstappen shows speed in Austria; Lewis Hamilton lacking pace

Leonhard Foeger/Pool via Getty Images
Leave a comment

SPIELBERG, Austria — Red Bull driver Max Verstappen posted the fastest time Friday, and six-time Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton lacked pace in the second practice session for the Styrian Grand Prix.

Verstappen was 0.043 seconds quicker than Valtteri Bottas – Hamilton’s teammate at Mercedes – and 0.217 ahead of Racing Point driver Sergio Perez.

“The car already feels better than last week, the balance is a lot nicer and we have made a good step,” said Verstappen, who did not finish last Sunday’s season-opening Austrian GP after starting from second.

“It is too early to say how we are looking against Mercedes, but we are quite happy. We have tried a few different directions to understand the car a bit more and we are heading the right way.”

Hamilton was only sixth fastest, about 0.7 seconds slower than Verstappen. Hamilton spent a chunk of time in the garage while his team worked on his car.

“It was quite far off, so there’s a lot of work to do in the background to figure it out,” he said. “Others out there are quick and Valtteri’s obviously got good pace.”

Despite adding a new front wing to its car, struggling Ferrari had a dismal afternoon.

Charles Leclerc was only ninth quickest and 1 second slower than Verstappen, while teammate Sebastian Vettel lagged about 2 seconds behind Verstappen in 16th.

Daniel Ricciardo lost control of his Renault car early into the second session, swerving left off the track and thudding backward into a protective tire wall. He climbed out unharmed, other than a slight limp, but the left rear tire was mangled and the car was lifted off the track by a crane.

Alexander Albon spun twice, the Red Bull driver’s second spin taking him right off the track and into gravel.

Earlier, Perez was fastest in the first practice ahead of Verstappen and Bottas, with Hamilton fourth quickest and Vettel only 10th in sunny conditions.

That session was briefly interrupted when Nicholas Latifi’s Williams car pulled over to the side with a gearbox issue.

The incident brought out yellow flags, forcing drivers to slow down. But McLaren driver Lando Norris overtook Pierre Gasly’s AlphaTauri and got a three-place grid penalty for Sunday’s race.

Norris, 20, finished third at the Austrian GP last weekend, becoming the youngest British driver in F1 history to get on the podium and third youngest in F1.

The upcoming race is changing names from last week but is at the same track. It is surrounded by the Styrian mountains.

A third and final practice will be held on Saturday morning before qualifying in the afternoon, with heavy rain and storms in the forecast.

If third practice and qualifying are washed out, drivers take their grid positions from where they placed in second practice.

“It would definitely suck if we didn’t get to qualify,” said Hamilton, who started fifth and finished fourth last weekend. “It would make it challenging.”

However, qualifying also could be moved to Sunday morning.

“I don’t expect to be on pole position with this (practice) lap,” Verstappen said.