Bottas rallies to fourth at Monza, but rues missed opportunity

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Williams driver Valtteri Bottas was one of the stand-out performers in yesterday’s Italian Grand Prix, fighting back from outside of the top ten to finish the race in fourth place.

However, the Finn was left rueing a poor start that saw him fall down the order after qualifying in third place on Saturday, and he feels that he has missed his best chance to win a race in 2014.

After dropping down to 11th off the line, Bottas managed to pass the likes of Kimi Raikkonen, Sergio Perez, Jenson Button, Kevin Magnussen and Sebastian Vettel with relative ease en route to fourth place at Monza. However, with Williams appearing to run Mercedes close during practice, the Finn feels that he could have done more.

“It’s a pity because today I came in before the race with the mentality that this is probably the best chance of the season to fight for the win, so fourth position is not really that satisfying,” the Finn said.

However, he was quick to look on the bright side, given that the result has elevated Williams up into third place in the constructors’ championship ahead of Ferrari.

”But we need to look at the positives because in the end we got good points for the team,” Bottas said. “Now we are ahead of Ferrari which I think if you compare to last year is a really good achievement.

Bottas and Massa will both be staying on at Williams for the 2015 F1 season following an announcement by the team on Sunday morning. If they continue to develop and impress as they have in 2014, Sir Frank Williams’ lofty aspirations of a first championship in 17 years may not be so improbable.

Helio Castroneves ‘hustling’ for IndyCar, IMSA rides; talking with four to five teams

Helio Castroneves IMSA IndyCar
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As his season gathers steam, Helio Castroneves said his prospects for finding new rides for 2021 in IMSA and IndyCar also are gaining momentum.

The three-time Indianapolis 500 winner said Monday he is optimistic about landing in either or perhaps a combination of both series when Team Penske and Acura end their DPi partnership after this season.

“A lot of people I spoke with, four to five teams, are interested,” Castroneves said. “Whether it’s doing Indy 500 only, whether it’s pushing to do full time or do the sports cars as well. It’s been a very nice conversation.

LOOKING AHEADTeam Penske drivers seeking new rides for 2021

“I have a lot of respect for all the teams that have been talking, and I feel the same feedback. We just have to wait for their (sponsor) connections, and I’m also looking for some connections on my side as well, so hopefully we’ll be able to put this together and get something very soon.”

Given two decades of success with Penske in IndyCar and IMSA, Castroneves’ resume hardly needs burnishing. But the Brazilian has combined with co-driver Ricky Taylor in the No. 7 Acura DPi to win the past two overall victories at Road America and Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.

But Castroneves, who doesn’t have a manager, said he has been working the phones hard rather than wait for the strong results to bring in the calls.

“At this point, I feel like I’m the one who needs to be talking to them because people need to know I want to continue racing and understand my desire,” Castroneves, 45, said. “There is opportunity, no question, in both (IndyCar and IMSA), which I’m really happy about it. However, because of the COVID-19, a lot of things sometimes have to be a little delayed. But I’m excited. Whatever the opportunity and whatever destiny guides me, whether IndyCar or sports cars, trust me I’ll be as happy as it could be and doing my 100 percent like I always did.

“It’s like politics, you need to be out there, good news or bad news. People have to make notice of your presence. I’m hustling. I want to continue to keep it going. Hopefully, we’ll have good news very soon.”

The news has been all good lately on track for Castroneves and Taylor, who hope to continue their run Sunday at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

The No. 6 duo has surged to sixth in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship standings, 10 points out of the lead with four races remaining. After thinking there was “no hope” to be competitive after opening the season with three consecutive poor finishes, Taylor now sees an opportunity for a happy ending.

“With the program going away, Helio has won all the big races and given so much back to the team and left such a mark, he’s really part of Penske history,” Taylor said. “For me, it’s been an opportunity of a lifetime to be a part of it. I’d like to leave my little mark as well. Helio has won everything except for a championship.

“Obviously, we’ve won races already together, but we can win a championship now. I think if both of us can do that together and both win our first championship for ‘The Captain,’ that would be an absolute dream come true, and we can tie a bow on it and be happy.”