IndyCar Driver Review: Scott Dixon

1 Comment

As MotorSportsTalk continues its driver-by-driver review of the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series season, we look back at three-time champion Scott Dixon, whose title defense wasn’t able to happen. Still, a good year when third is a disappointment…

2014 SEASON PREVIEW

Scott Dixon

  • Team: Target Chip Ganassi Racing
  • 2013: Champion, 4 Wins, 2 Poles, 6 Podiums, 10 Top-5, 12 Top-10, 239 Laps Led, 9.6 Avg. Start, 8.1 Avg. Finish
  • 2014: 3rd Place, 2 Wins, 1 Pole, 4 Podiums, 11 Top-5, 12 Top-10, 97 Laps Led, 8.9 Avg. Start, 8.3 Avg. Finish

Third with two wins represents a great year for most drivers… for Scott Dixon it marked one of his “worst” years. The Kiwi kept alive his streak of finishing in the top-three in points every year dating to 2006, even though it felt like his title repeat hopes were dashed by June.

Dixon and the No. 9 Target team maintained the core pieces that brought them their third championship in 2013, but for whatever reason things didn’t quite click through Houston. Dixon had only one podium and four top-fives in the first 10 races, and was already more than 100 points off the championship lead.

A second half surge along with the rest of the Chip Ganassi Racing squad followed, including two trademark Dixon wins on the flowing road courses of Mid-Ohio and Sonoma. The fact he ended third in the points this year owed to a never-give-up attitude and only served to put the rest of the IndyCar field on notice for 2015.

Sergio Perez wins rain-delayed race in Singapore over Leclerc; Verstappen seventh

Sergio Perez Singapore
Clive Rose/Getty Images,
0 Comments

SINGAPORE — Max Verstappen’s Formula One title celebrations were put on hold after the Red Bull driver placed seventh at a chaotic Singapore Grand Prix, won by his teammate Sergio Perez on Sunday.

Perez’s second win of the season saw him finish 7.6 seconds ahead of Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, with Leclerc’s teammate Carlos Sainz Jr. in third place.

Perez was investigated for a potential safety car infringement but still kept the win after a 5-second time penalty for dropping too far back after being warned.

Verstappen had won the past five races but needed to win here and finish 22 points ahead of Leclerc to be crowned champion for a second straight season. That could happen next weekend at the Japanese GP.

Verstappen made a mistake after the second safety car restart, following AlphaTauri driver Yuki Tsunoda’s crash on Lap 36. When Verstappen tried to overtake Lando Norris’ McLaren, he locked his tires and needed to pit again.

Leclerc started from pole position with Verstappen going from eighth after a team blunder in qualifying.

The race start was delayed by more than an hour to clear water off the Marina Bay Circuit track following heavy rainfall. Drivers had to finish the 61-lap race within a two-hour window; 59 laps were completed.

Tricky conditions saw the virtual safety car deployed three times and DRS was allowed with about 30 minutes remaining.

Perez made a good start and jumped past Leclerc while Verstappen dropped several places. The first safety car was on Lap 8 when Zhou Guanyu’s Alfa Romeo was cut off by Nicholas Latifi’s Williams.

Perez got away cleanly at the restart, while Verstappen climbed into seventh behind Fernando Alonso – whose 350th F1 race ended disappointingly when his engine failed on Lap 21, bringing out the first VSC.

With the track still damp, drivers decided against changing to quicker tires – apart from Mercedes’ George Russell, who struggled for grip.

Hamilton made a rare mistake on Lap 33 and thudded into the crash barrier. Soon after, the leading drivers changed tires in a flurry of stops. They did so just before the safety car was deployed again following Tsunoda’s error.

Verstappen overtook Sebastian Vettel’s Aston Martin right at the end for seventh place.