Wet qualifying benefits Red Bull, hinders Williams, on Saturday in Malaysia

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A deluge of rain ahead of the final part of qualifying for the Malaysian Grand Prix resulted in contrasting results for Red Bull and Williams at the Sepang International Circuit on Saturday.

Having endured a miserable start to the 2015 season in Australia, Red Bull put all talks of a possible withdrawal from Formula 1 to one side to rally to a strong result in qualifying in Malaysia.

Thanks to the wet conditions, the power deficit of the Renault power unit was less damaging to the team, allowing Daniel Ricciardo to qualify an excellent fourth for the team.

“In the dry I don’t think we would’ve been fourth today, so obviously we’re a little bit more competitive in these conditions,” the Australian said.

“But in saying that I think we’re close enough to the front so that even if it’s dry, if we get a good start – and I use my mirrors for 56 laps – we could be doing pretty well.

“I won’t be disappointed if it rains. It’s a little bit more tricky in the wet, but I can’t really complain.”

Ricciardo was joined in the top five by teammate Daniil Kvyat, who equalled his best F1 qualifying result on Saturday at Sepang.

“It was a decent qualifying for us, P4 and P5 is good for the team but I think on our lap we maybe went out a little early,” Kvyat said.

“It might have been better later on but it’s hard always to know with the conditions. Overall, there are a lot of positives to take from this weekend and we are seeing some improvements, it’s a good start.”

Just as the rain worked in Red Bull’s favor, it played against Williams, whose pace would have seen both of its drivers qualify towards the front of the grid.

Felipe Massa could only finish seventh on Saturday, with Valtteri Bottas in ninth place for the British team. The Finn has made up a position on the grid by virtue of Romain Grosjean’s grid penalty, though.

“Changeable conditions made it a tough session,” head of performance engineering Rob Smedley explained. “We were on the right tire at the right time and attempted to be the last car across the line knowing the track was improving every lap.

“We need to consider why our performance wasn’t there in the wet conditions but we have a very good car in race trim as we saw on Friday.

“We have a lot to do tomorrow but the temperature is looking like it will be very hot during the race so we must make the right strategic decisions.”

The Malaysian Grand Prix is live on NBCSN and Live Extra from 2:30a ET tomorrow.

Andretti United team names drivers for inaugural Extreme E season

Extreme E drivers Andretti
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The Extreme E team formed by Andretti Autosport and United Autosports named Catie Munnings and Timmy Hansen as its drivers Monday for the series’ inaugural 2021 season.

Munnings is a successful veteran of rally series. Hansen is a past winner and champion in the World Rallycross Championship.

They both will race in the environmentally conscious electric SUV series that will hold events in five areas around the world that are threatened by climate change. Chip Ganassi Racing and six-time Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton also are fielding cars in Extreme E, which will feature male and female co-drivers on every team.

Catie Munnings

“I’m so excited to join Andretti United Extreme E,” Munnings said in a release. ““I was really intrigued when I first heard about Extreme E, I just knew I had to be involved. The male / female racing partnership is a fantastic and exciting new concept. The season has incredible locations and the racing will be very exciting. It will be a new challenge for the teams and drivers, and I’m so thrilled to be working with such a strong team.

“The championship is a really innovative concept, it’s combining motorsport and science and will produce an important legacy in each race location. Bringing the platform that motorsport has in line with the awareness that the planet needs right now is awesome and a really important message.”

Timmy Hansen

Said Hansen: “Going into the Extreme E will be a new chapter in my career, one that I am extremely excited about. It is something brand new, not only for me, but the whole of motorsport. The format is something

we’ve never seen before. I’m also delighted to be able to carry the message of something bigger – talking about the environment and doing something good for the world – that’s something that really drives me. It’s going to be a big adventure in life to see these locations and I’m going to do my best in carrying this responsibility and hopefully making people aware of the challenges we have in the world, together with our passion for racing.”