IndyCar Driver Review: Tony Kanaan

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As MotorSportsTalk continues our driver-by-driver review of the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series, we head next to the guy who gets to enjoy the last race win of the year an entire offseason: Tony Kanaan in P7.

2014 SEASON PREVIEW

Tony Kanaan

  • Team: Target Chip Ganassi Racing
  • 2013: 11th Place, 1 Win, Best Start 4th, 4 Podiums, 6 Top-5, 7 Top-10, 79 Laps Led, 11.3 Avg. Start, 12.7 Avg. Finish
  • 2014: 7th Place, 1 Win, Best Start 2nd, 6 Podiums, 6 Top-5, 12 Top-10, 407 Laps Led, 9.2 Avg. Start, 9.3 Avg. Finish

The old dog has some life in him yet. A frustrating first half of the year through Texas Motor Speedway in early June raised eyebrows both about Tony Kanaan’s desire and his ability level taking over arguably one of IndyCar’s highest profile seats, the No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet. But a dynamic run of form from Houston onward ensured that TK still had it, and could rise to the task of delivering in the 10 car.

There was only one top-five (a third in Detroit race one) in the first eight races. But from his being punted from a podium in Houston one, his dominance at Pocono and Iowa, a Toronto double podium, a third at Milwaukee and a clutch win at Fontana, Kanaan was perhaps the driver of the second half of the year.

You could put that second half gain down to several factors. He’d finally begun to gel within the CGR environment, with new engineer Chris Simmons, and got a handle on the chassis-to-engine dynamic as the team itself was acclimating to the Chevrolet switch. Kanaan’s overall qualifying average was only 9.2, which didn’t belie his actual speed. The first nine races, he had four starts of 16th or worse, including two from the final row. The last nine, Kanaan qualified in the top-10 every race, a run of form that was unrivaled in the series. All told, a positive end to a comeback season where Kanaan had greater speed, greater consistency and greater results.

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

Sergio Perez Singapore
Clive Rose/Getty Images,
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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.