Hamilton and Rosberg both struggling in Hungary

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They may have dominated both practice sessions at the Hungaroring, but both Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg have complained about problems that made them feel uncomfortable with the Mercedes W05 car on Friday.

Hamilton finished as the fastest driver in both FP1 and FP2, enjoying an advantage of roughly two-tenths of a second over Rosberg at the top of the timesheets. The Briton is looking to surpass Michael Schumacher’s tally of four victories in Hungary this weekend to become the most successful driver to have raced at the circuit, but he isn’t feeling 100% ready in his bid for a fifth victory.

“We struggled with poor grip on track today,” Hamilton explained. “I don’t know if that’s down to the tires or the track itself but it was quite bad throughout both sessions. It’s going to be important to get a good grid position tomorrow as it will be difficult to follow cars on this track and it’s always tough to overtake here.

“We have some work to do overnight to ensure we get the best setup for the weekend as we’re not fully comfortable with the car just yet, but our race pace looked okay. We’ll have to look through the data to really know where we stand.”

Rosberg finished second in both sessions to Hamilton, and he too was complaining of problems with the car during the second session. However, the fact that Mercedes remained ahead of the field gives him confidence heading into qualifying tomorrow.

“I was a bit surprised that we had the quickest car here today as I expected the Red Bulls to have gotten a bit closer again, so that’s a really encouraging start to the weekend,” Rosberg explained. “The car feels great and is super quick in the corners, so overall I’m quite happy.

“I definitely still need to find some time and there is some setup work for me and my engineers to do tonight if we want to achieve that. But I’m confident that we can make it happen. Qualifying will be crucial here, as overtaking is not easy at this great track. We’ll work hard as always during the evening and see what happens tomorrow.”

Red Bull and Ferrari do appear to be in better shape at the Hungaroring compared to other circuits, but they still lack the pace to mount a serious challenge at the front. They may not be where they want to be just yet, but Rosberg and Hamilton will be fighting it out at the front of the field once again on Sunday.

Indianapolis Motor Speedway can have 10,000 fans for IndyCar races

Indianapolis Motor Speedway fans
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Indianapolis Motor Speedway will have crowds for its NTT IndyCar Series race weekend next month, the first time fans are allowed at the track this year.

The track announced Friday that up to 10,000 fans will be allowed in the grandstands daily from Oct. 1-4. The IndyCar Harvest GP race doubleheader will be held on the track’s road course Oct. 2-3.

IMS has played host to several events this year without fans, including the 104th Indianapolis 500 on Aug. 23 and a NASCAR-IndyCar weekend July 4-5 that included the Brickyard 400. Plans originally were made to have fans at the Indy 500 before reversing course a few weeks ahead of the race. In a letter last month, Roger Penske vowed that fans would return for the 2021 Indy 500.

“We can’t wait to see fans come through our gates for the first time in 2020,” IMS president Doug Boles said in a release. “They’ll be greeted by a vastly improved facility, featuring significant upgrades to the spectator experience. We’re also extremely grateful to have a presenting sponsor with the expertise and resources of GMR as we look to implement our detailed and comprehensive health and safety plan.”

Fans will undergo temperature screenings upon entry and also be required to wear face coverings at all times on property. The track said each attendee will receive a mask and bottle of hand sanitizer.

The Friday, Oct. 2 race will be shown at 3:30 p.m. ET on USA, and NBC will broadcast the Saturday, Oct. 3 race at 2:30 p.m. ET.

Here’s the release from Indianapolis Motor Speedway:

INDIANAPOLIS, Friday, Sept. 18, 2020 – For the first time in 2020, Indianapolis Motor Speedway will welcome fans to the Racing Capital of the World for the INDYCAR Harvest GP presented by GMR weekend. Up to 10,000 spectators can be in the grandstands each day of racing action Oct. 1-4, per approval from the Marion County Public Health Department.

Tickets are available now via IMS.com and will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis.

The massive facility, which holds more than 300,000 people, will provide two spectator zones with up to 5,000 fans in each. The zones will be located in Turns 1 and 4 of the oval, offering strong sightlines of the road course. Strict health and safety rules will be in place, including the following:

  • Face coverings must be worn throughout the property at all times;
  • All fans will receive temperature screenings before gate entry;
  • Grandstand seats will be marked for distancing;
  • Attendees must use pre-assigned gates and remain in their designated zones.

Global Medical Response, the world leader in compassionate, quality emergency medical and patient relocation services, will be the presenting sponsor of the penultimate weekend of INDYCAR racing this season.

“We can’t wait to see fans come through our gates for the first time in 2020,” IMS President J. Douglas Boles said. “They’ll be greeted by a vastly improved facility, featuring significant upgrades to the spectator experience. We’re also extremely grateful to have a presenting sponsor with the expertise and resources of GMR as we look to implement our detailed and comprehensive health and safety plan.”

The plan, which includes each attendee receiving a mask and a bottle of hand sanitizer upon entering the track, was developed in consultation with state and local health officials.

This event weekend is highlighted by an NTT INDYCAR SERIES doubleheader, with races Friday, Oct. 2 and Saturday, Oct. 3. It will be the penultimate event of the series’ season as the field pursues the champion’s prestigious Astor Challenge Cup to be awarded Sunday, Oct. 25 at the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

The INDYCAR Harvest GP will pay tribute to a storied IMS event, the Harvest Classic in September 1916. The Harvest Classic was the only racing event held outside of May at IMS from 1911 through 1993. The event featured three races, all won by legendary driver Johnny Aitken.

Fans also will see a host of facility improvements during the event weekend, including more than 30 new LED video boards, refreshed concession stands and restrooms, and 5G wireless connectivity throughout the facility.

The first race will air at 3:30 p.m. (ET) Friday, Oct. 2 on the USA Network. NBC will broadcast the second race at 2:30 p.m. (ET) Saturday, Oct. 3, with WTHR-13 airing the action live in Central Indiana.

Also racing that weekend will be the first pairing of two major sports car series — the Intercontinental GT Challenge Powered by Pirelli and its North American counterpart, GT World Challenge America Powered by AWS. Former Indianapolis 500 pole winner Ryan Briscoe is among the drivers in the Indianapolis 8 Hour event held Sunday, Oct. 4.

The event also will showcase drivers in SRO America’s Pirelli GT4 America, GT Sports Club America and the TC America series.

The full on-track schedule is available at IMS.com.