Rossi disappointed, but diplomatic, after Marussia no-go

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Alexander Rossi’s situation with Marussia this weekend, where he was scheduled to make his debut before a change back to Max Chilton, is an unfortunate one for the young American.

He still participated in practice one, but that was hardly the session or sessions he hoped to run. Chilton came back in the second session Friday afternoon.

Still Rossi took the high road, in a statement released this afternoon.

Here’s the full text of that statement:

Thank you for your support everyone! Overall I feel it has been a very positive couple of days. Obviously I am disappointed not to be racing this weekend. I’ve spent my whole life and career working towards competing and I’m ready to race in F1. However, today was a very positive step in my role with Marussia F1 Team. I’m now even more ready to step into a race seat when called upon.

My role as the Marussia F1 Team Official Reserve Driver means that I will be asked to step up and also step down at times. I’m confident in myself, my abilities and the responsibility to be fully prepared to do what the team needs from me.

Driving the MR03 in this morning’s Free Practice session was extremely positive, despite the small technical challenges which affected the overall pace. It was great to get a session in the car and I’m looking forward to getting back behind the wheel again very soon!

Here’s who were picking to win the Indy 500 — who are YOU picking?

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Several members of the NBC Sports motorsports staff have made their predictions on who will win Sunday’s 102nd Running of the Indianapolis 500.

Of the six voters, two are going with 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series champ Josef Newgarden, while two others are going with Helio Castroneves to win a fourth 500, which would tie him with A.J. Foyt, Al Unser and Rick Mears.

Here’s our picks. Who are YOU picking?

Leigh Diffey: Helio Castroneves — He drives the place better than anyone else. For me (for what its worth) he deserves a fourth 500 ring for the frustration he went through never getting the IndyCar title!

Townsend Bell: Josef Newgarden

Nate Ryan: Simon Pagenaud — All of his 2018 misfortune on the track has disappeared in May, and it culminates in the biggest victory of his career.

Jerry Bonkowski: Helio Castroneves – There’s no pressure as he pursues his fourth Indy 500 win. All Helio has to do, as late NFL owner Al Davis would say, is “Just win, baby!” (But if Helio falls short, watch for Marco Andretti)

Kyle Lavigne: Josef Newgarden — I think he has everything he needs to get it done this year.

Dan Beaver: Robert Wickens – Has driven like anything except a rookie and his second-place finish at Phoenix proves he’s just as good on an oval as the road courses.

Follow: Jerry Bonkowski