Rosberg: Hamilton deserved to win at Suzuka

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Nico Rosberg has been quick to congratulate teammate and championship rival Lewis Hamilton for his victory in the Japanese Grand Prix today, saying that he deserved to win at Suzuka.

On a day overshadowed by Jules Bianchi’s accident and subsequent severe head injuries, Hamilton managed to beat Rosberg in the wet to extend his lead at the top of the drivers’ championship to ten points.

Rosberg had started the race from pole position, but was passed by Hamilton after the first round of pit stops when he began to struggle with oversteer and tire wear.

“Today was a really tough race with the wet conditions,” Rosberg explained on Sunday evening in Suzuka. “I struggled a lot with the balance of my car on the intermediate tires, so I had to push hard to keep Lewis behind me. I had a lot of oversteering which is why the rear end of my car was very nervous.

“That was really strange and I didn’t have the necessary confidence in the corners. We need to look into that in the next few days.

“It meant that Lewis was quicker today and deserved the win. It was damage limitation with losing only seven points to him. For the team it was a good result with another 1-2.”

Rosberg was quick to send his thoughts to Bianchi, who was transferred to hospital unconscious following his accident at the end of today’s race.

“My thoughts are with our colleague Jules and his family and teammates,” Rosberg said. “We are hoping for some positive news.”

With yet another one-two finish, Mercedes looks set to clinch its first ever constructors’ championship at next weekend’s Russian Grand Prix.

Zach Veach splits with Andretti Autosport for rest of IndyCar season

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Zach Veach will be leaving his Andretti Autosport ride with three races remaining in the season, choosing to explore options after the decision was made he wouldn’t return for 2021.

In a Wednesday release, Andretti Autosport said a replacement driver for the No. 26 Dallara-Honda would be named in the coming days. The NTT IndyCar Series will race Oct. 2-3 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and then conclude the season Oct. 25 on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida.

Veach was ranked 11th in the points standings through 11 races of his third season with Andretti. Since a fourth in the June 6 season opener at Texas Motor Speedway, he hadn’t finished higher than 14th.

“The decision was made that I will not be returning in 2021 with Andretti Autosport in the No. 26 Gainbridge car,” Veach said in the Andretti release. “This, along with knowing that limited testing exists for teams due to COVID, have led me to the decision to step out of the car for the remainder of the 2020 IndyCar season. I am doing this to allow the team to have time with other drivers as they prepare for 2021, and so that I can also explore my own 2021 options.

“This is the hardest decision I have ever made, but to me, racing is about family, and it is my belief that you take care of your family. Andretti Autosport is my family and I feel this is what is best to help us all reach the next step. I will forever be grateful to Michael and the team for all of their support over the years. I would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for a relationship that started many years ago with Road to Indy. I will also be forever grateful to Dan Towriss for his friendship and for the opportunity he and Gainbridge have given me.

“My love for this sport and the people involved is unmeasurable, and I look forward to continuing to be amongst the racing world and fans in 2021.”

Said team owner Michael Andretti: “We first welcomed Zach to the Andretti team back in his USF2000 days and have enjoyed watching him grow and evolve as a racer, and a person. His decision to allow us to use the last few races to explore our 2021 options shows the measure of his character.

“Zach has always placed team and family first, and we’re very happy to have had him as part of ours for so many years. We wish him the best in whatever 2021 may bring and will always consider him a friend.”

Andretti fields five full-time cars for Veach, Alexander Rossi, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Marco Andretti and Colton Herta.

It also has fielded James Hinchcliffe in three races this season.