Vettel thinks pole was possible in Singapore

1 Comment

Defending Formula 1 world champion Sebastian Vettel believes that he could have been in the running to secure pole position in qualifying for the Singapore Grand Prix today, and feels disappointed to have finished fourth in the final session.

Vettel, a three-time winner of the race in Singapore, finished just over two-tenths of a second shy of polesitter Lewis Hamilton’s final time in Q3, and made no secret of his disappointment when speaking to the media following Saturday’s session.

“I’m not happy with that final lap, I was pushing a bit too hard and didn’t get it all together, so I’m not entirely happy, but it is what it is now,” the German driver said.

“I think pole could have been in our grasp. We’ll hope to have a good race tomorrow, with good pit stops and a good strategy and we’ll see what we can do from there.

“I think we have good speed, but everyone seems to have good speed here. It’s a long race, so we’ll see how the tires work and what we can do.”

Vettel’s title defence has been a tame one, yielding just two podium finishes and no race wins. He currently ranks sixth in the drivers’ championship, some sixty points adrift of Red Bull teammate Daniel Ricciardo who qualified third in Singapore today.

Despite Vettel’s distaste, team principal Christian Horner was delighted with the result and the close gap to Mercedes at the front of the field.

“Second row of the grid for both of the drivers in a really tight qualifying was a really strong team performance,” he said. “It was very close at the end and it was certainly the closest we’ve been to Mercedes in qualifying all year, so hopefully that bodes well for tomorrow’s race and we can put them under pressure.”

You can watch the Singapore Grand Prix live on NBCSN and Live Extra from 7.30am ET tomorrow morning.

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

Helio Castroneves IMSA IndyCar
IMSA
Leave a comment

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.”