Bottas disappointed to miss out on maiden pole in Russia

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Valtteri Bottas was just one sector away from securing his first ever Formula 1 pole position in Russia today, falling just short in the final part of Q3 to qualifying third for tomorrow’s race in Sochi.

Bottas has enjoyed a superb season with Williams, scoring four podium finishes to rank sixth in the drivers’ championship. In a year that Mercedes has ruled with an iron fist, he has been one of the breakout stars.

In Russia, Mercedes looked to have pole position sewn up once again today, only for Bottas to go quicker than both Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg in the first two sectors of his final hot lap.

However, his tires faded at the last corner, sending him wide and forcing him to settle for third place on the grid.

“I didn’t know at that time I was close to pole, I only knew how it was compared to my best lap which was the previous lap,” Bottas explained after the session. “I had one more lap to go, maybe looking back I took a bit too much out of the tires at the beginning of the lap, and the last sector became a bit more tricky.

“As I was gaining time compared to my best towards the end, it became more difficult in the last few corners. I risked a bit too much in the last two corners and went a little bit wide. Here, when you go off line, it’s really slippery like everyone saw, and that was it.”

Bottas admitted that he felt disappointed to have missed the chance for his first F1 pole position, but he thinks that pole sitter Lewis Hamilton would still have been ahead of him had he not run wide.

“Of course, yeah,” Bottas said when asked if he was disappointed. “It’s not nice to make a mistake, but in the end, today maybe cost one place maximum.

“The mistake was taking a bit too much out of the tires at the beginning of the lap. That’s what made me struggle in the end of the lap. The lap before, I’m quite happy about that.”

You can watch tomorrow’s Russian Grand Prix live on NBCSN and Live Extra from 6:30am ET tomorrow.

Santino Ferrucci will drive No. 14 for AJ Foyt Racing full time in 2023 IndyCar season

Santino Ferrucci AJ Foyt
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Santino Ferrucci will return to full-time racing in the NTT IndyCar Series next season, joining AJ Foyt Racing.

Ferrucci had made eight IndyCar starts with three teams since his last full-time season in 2020 while also racing part time in the NASCAR Xfinity Series this year.

He will drive the storied No. 14 Dallara-Chevrolet for four-time Indy 500 winner A.J. Foyt’s team, which will field the car from its Waller, Texas headquarters.

“It’s incredibly exciting to be back in the INDYCAR Series full time,” Ferrucci said in a team release. “Being a part-time driver over the last two years has been hard for me, personally. I’m a race car driver, and I want to compete. Working with different teams has been exciting, and I’m proud that no matter which car I’ve raced, I’ve always shown speed and consistency. I couldn’t be more excited to join AJ Foyt Racing in the 14 Chevy. I can’t wait to make the best of it.”

Ferrucci, 24, had finished a career-best fourth in IndyCar four times, including the 104th Indy 500 in 2020. He was the 2019 Indy 500 rookie of the year with a sixth.

In nine Xfinity starts since 2021, Ferrucci has a career-best finish of 13th at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

“I am thrilled to welcome Santino to the team,” Larry Foyt said in a release. “He’s shown a knack for getting toward the front of the field, and I think he is a racer who moves forward on race day. A.J. sees the fire in him and has enjoyed their meetings together. I think Santino’s experience will help his rookie teammate as well, so he is a great addition to our roster.”

Ferrucci will be teamed at AJ Foyt Racing with Benjamin Pedersen, who finished fifth in the 2022 Indy Lights standings. The team has yet to specify the number for Pedersen’s entry, which will be fielded out of its Indianapolis race shop.

Foyt’s two full-time drivers last season were Dalton Kellett and Kyle Kirkwood, who is moving to Andretti Autosport.