Vettel struggles in Russian GP qualifying, dropping out in Q2

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Sebastian Vettel’s Russian Grand Prix weekend has gone from bad to worse on Saturday after he qualified down in 11th place for tomorrow’s race in Sochi, dropping out in Q2.

The German driver could not hook up a quick lap in the second part of qualifying, resulting in elimination at the end of the session as he missed out on a place in the top ten shootout.

Red Bull teammate Daniel Ricciardo fared better, qualifying seventh, but Vettel felt that the changes made to the car following practice were to his detriment.

“I wasn’t comfortable in the car today,” Vettel explained. “It was very difficult, I think we took a step back from this morning and we expected the rear to be a lot stronger and the track to pick up more than it did.

“The car felt nervous, so I couldn’t take the speed into the corners, I lost the rear many times around the lap and therefore wasn’t quick enough.”

Both Vettel and Ricciardo will make up one position on the grid by virtue of Kevin Magnussen’s penalty, and team principal Christian Horner believes that the team’s race pace will put it in better stead tomorrow.

“A difficult session for both our divers, finishing what will become sixth and tenth,” he said. “We seem to have struggled to have one lap pace so far this weekend, hopefully our long runs have looked stronger and we can make some progress from those grid positions tomorrow.”

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

IndyCar teams with NASCAR on IMS road course doubleheader in 2021

IndyCar NASCAR doubleheader 2021
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The NTT IndyCar Series will be sharing Indianapolis Motor Speedway with the NASCAR Cup Series in a race weekend doubleheader for the second consecutive season, but both series will be on the road course in August 2021.

IMS announced Wednesday that IndyCar will hold an Aug. 14, 2021 race on its 14-turn, 2.439-mile road course. It’ll be a day before NASCAR’s premier series runs the same layout for the first time after the Brickyard 400 was contested on the 2.5-mile oval for the first time in 27 years.

This season’s rescheduling of the IndyCar GMR Grand Prix to July 4, 2019 (a day before the Brickyard 400) led to the first NASCAR-IndyCar doubleheader weekend. The Xfinity Series also raced on the IMS road course for the first time July 4 after the IndyCar race ended.

INDYCAR AT IMS THIS WEEKEND: Harvest GP schedule, entry lists

IndyCar will be holding its second race weekend this year at the IMS road course Friday and Saturday with the Harvest GP.

“Our first NASCAR-INDYCAR weekend was a big success last July, with positive feedback from
our loyal fans who watched the races on NBC and from the drivers, teams and participants
involved,” IMS president Douglas Boles said in a statement. “The Xfinity Series’ debut on the IMS road course provided exactly the kind of thrilling action from the green to checkered flags that we anticipated, so we know the teams and drivers of the Cup Series will put on a great show as they turn left and right for the first time at IMS.

“We can’t wait to welcome back fans to see NASCAR and INDYCAR together during this
exciting weekend as we add another memorable chapter in the long, storied history of the
Indianapolis Motor Speedway.”

It also will mark the first NASCAR Cup-IndyCar doubleheader with a crowd as fans weren’t permitted at IMS in July because of the novel coronvavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Over the course of Wednesday, NASCAR is releasing its 36-race slate for next season. IndyCar has yet to release its full 2021 schedule.