Button expecting difficult race from P4 in Russia

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Jenson Button has said that he is expecting a difficult race in Russia tomorrow despite qualifying in an excellent fourth place.

McLaren has endured a difficult season, currently ranking sixth in the constructors’ championship behind Force India. However, it looks set to move ahead of its rivals this weekend after Button and teammate Kevin Magnussen both qualified inside the top six in Sochi.

Magnussen will drop down to 11th by virtue of a grid penalty, but Button is hopeful of a good result from fourth after resolving the issues with the MP4-29 car that cropped up in FP3.

“We were strong on both options and primes yesterday, in both FP1 and FP2, but this morning in FP3 we went backwards, even though we weren’t running a lot of fuel,” Button explained. “With the setup we’d adopted, the car just wasn’t working for us, but, importantly, we kept our heads after that, worked through the issues, and came to qualifying with a much improved car.

“Tomorrow, I really don’t know what to expect. Our long runs have been pretty good, but it isn’t obvious how many pit stops most drivers will be making. If you lock up here, however, you’ll completely flat spot a tire, and, if you do that, a one-stopper will become untenable, so as I say it won’t be straightforward at all.”

The British driver is fighting for his seat at McLaren as Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso looks poised to rejoin the British team. Although he has more experience and success than Magnussen, at 34, he is approaching the final few years of his F1 career.

In Japan, Button produced a stellar drive to finish fifth, and a repeat result in Russia tomorrow could give McLaren plenty to consider over the next few weeks.

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

IndyCar entry lists for Harvest GP at Indianapolis Motor Speedway

IndyCar entry lists Indianapolis
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There are 25 drivers on the NTT IndyCar Series entry lists at Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course with a few new yet familiar faces for the Oct. 2-3 race weekend.

Four-time champion Sebastien Bourdais will make his season debut in the No. 14 Dallara-Chevrolet (shifting Dalton Kellett to the No. 41) with AJ Foyt Racing, which he is joining full time next season. James Hinchcliffe, who had run three races with Andretti Autosport, will return in place of Zach Veach in the No. 26 Dallara-Honda. Helio Castroneves will drive Arrow McLaren SP’s No. 7 Dallara-Chevy for Oliver Askew, who is out with concussion-like symptoms.

Sage Karam, who has two IndyCar starts this year at IMS (the road course on July 4 and the Indy 500 on Aug. 23), also will return to the series in Dreyer & Reinbold’s No. 24 Dallara-Chevrolet.

HARVEST GP ENTRY LISTS: Friday l Saturday

Friday and Saturday of the Harvest GP presented by GMR will mark the second and third races this season on Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s 14-turn, 2.439-mile road course. While the July 4 race on the circuit was 80 laps, Friday’s distance is 85 laps, and Saturday will be a 75-lap event.

Championship leader Scott Dixon led 26 of 80 laps to win the July 4 race at the IMS road course. With three races remaining in the series, the five-time series champion enters with a 72-point lead on Josef Newgarden.

Click here to see who’s on the IndyCar entry lists in Race 1 and in Race 2 for the Harvest GP presented by GMR at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.


START TIMES AND TV INFO FOR INDYCAR AT INDIANAPOLIS MOTOR SPEEDWAY ROAD COURSE (all times ET):

Thursday

IndyCar NTT Series practice: 2:25-3:40 p.m., NBC Sports Gold

IndyCar qualifying, Race 1: 6:20 p.m. (two groups/12 minutes apiece), NBC Sports Gold

Friday

—IndyCar Harvest Grand Prix, Race 1: 3:30 p.m. (green flag, 5 p.m.), USA Network, NBC Sports Gold

Saturday

—IndyCar qualifying: 10:20 a.m. (two groups/12 minutes apiece), NBC Sports Gold

—IndyCar Harvest Grand Prix, Race 2: 2:30 p.m (green flag, 2:31 p.m.)., NBC, NBC Sports Gold