Rosberg gracious in title defeat, says Hamilton deserved championship

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ABU DHABI – Nico Rosberg has graciously accepted defeat in the 2014 Formula 1 drivers’ championship to Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton after an engine failure meant he could only finish 14th in Abu Dhabi today.

Rosberg lost the lead to Hamilton off the line, but was comfortably running second until the ERS system on his car failed during his second stint.

Nursing the car, the German driver aimed to finish high up enough so that he would win the title if Hamilton retired, but ultimately dropped outside of the points.

Despite being asked to retire the car with two laps to go, Rosberg said that he wanted to finish the race regardless, eventually being classified in 14th place.

Speaking to NBCSN’s Will Buxton after the race, Rosberg made no secret of his disappointment, but was quick to send his congratulations to Hamilton.

“Very disappointed with the ending of course, but congratulations to Lewis,” Rosberg said. “He deserves to be champion this year. For me it was not a nice ending. The problem didn’t have an impact, I could have tried to keep the pressure up.

“All in all it’s been a great season for the team, I’m proud to be a part of that. Lewis was tiny bit better in the races only, so he deserves the win.

“There have been some great things about this year. I have been quicker in qualifying, and have a very good base to work on. I have to improve my racing, hopefully I can find that little bit for next year.

“Now I need to try to gather some positives. I’m not sure how I’ll party tonight, but it would be nice to go crazy a bit.”

Having failed to score at the double points round in Abu Dhabi, Rosberg eventually finished 67 points behind Hamilton in the final standings. However, this still marks the best year of his career, and he will be gunning to win his first world title in 2015 with Mercedes.

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.