Vettel calls P3 a “great success”, but fails to challenge Mercedes in China


Sebastian Vettel has called his third place finish at the Chinese Grand Prix a “great success” despite failing to challenge Lewis Hamilton for the race win in Shanghai on Sunday.

Coming off the back of his victory in Malaysia two weeks ago, Vettel had been expected to trouble the Mercedes drivers once again and fight for the race win in China.

Despite keeping within two seconds of second-placed Nico Rosberg during his first two stints, Vettel struggled when he moved onto the prime tire, causing him to drop back and end the race in third place.

“I think it was a good race all in all,” Vettel said. “I think we were a bit closer on the softer compound tires. We were able to put some pressure on them.

“We tried to put more pressure on by stopping fairly early for the last set of tires, but I think on the harder tires they were just that bit too quick so they were able to pull away.

“From then onwards, we tried to control the race, and bring the podium back home which is a great success for us. I’m very happy. Thanks to the team, thanks back to the factory and to all the support here from the fans.”

In third, Vettel continued his 100% podium record since joining Ferrari at the beginning of the season, and once again said how embedded he already felt at Maranello.

“It’s been three out of three [podiums] so far, so it feels pretty good,” Vettel said. “A big change over winter, a lot has changed.

“I feel really happy in the team, the fans are great, so really enjoying the work and hopefully we can get a little bit closer to challenge these two guys.”

Helio Castroneves ‘hustling’ for IndyCar, IMSA rides; talking with four to five teams

Helio Castroneves IMSA IndyCar
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As his season gathers steam, Helio Castroneves said his prospects for finding new rides for 2021 in IMSA and IndyCar also are gaining momentum.

The three-time Indianapolis 500 winner said Monday he is optimistic about landing in either or perhaps a combination of both series when Team Penske and Acura end their DPi partnership after this season.

“A lot of people I spoke with, four to five teams, are interested,” Castroneves said. “Whether it’s doing Indy 500 only, whether it’s pushing to do full time or do the sports cars as well. It’s been a very nice conversation.

LOOKING AHEADTeam Penske drivers seeking new rides for 2021

“I have a lot of respect for all the teams that have been talking, and I feel the same feedback. We just have to wait for their (sponsor) connections, and I’m also looking for some connections on my side as well, so hopefully we’ll be able to put this together and get something very soon.”

Given two decades of success with Penske in IndyCar and IMSA, Castroneves’ resume hardly needs burnishing. But the Brazilian has combined with co-driver Ricky Taylor in the No. 7 Acura DPi to win the past two overall victories at Road America and Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.

But Castroneves, who doesn’t have a manager, said he has been working the phones hard rather than wait for the strong results to bring in the calls.

“At this point, I feel like I’m the one who needs to be talking to them because people need to know I want to continue racing and understand my desire,” Castroneves, 45, said. “There is opportunity, no question, in both (IndyCar and IMSA), which I’m really happy about it. However, because of the COVID-19, a lot of things sometimes have to be a little delayed. But I’m excited. Whatever the opportunity and whatever destiny guides me, whether IndyCar or sports cars, trust me I’ll be as happy as it could be and doing my 100 percent like I always did.

“It’s like politics, you need to be out there, good news or bad news. People have to make notice of your presence. I’m hustling. I want to continue to keep it going. Hopefully, we’ll have good news very soon.”

The news has been all good lately on track for Castroneves and Taylor, who hope to continue their run Sunday at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

The No. 6 duo has surged to sixth in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship standings, 10 points out of the lead with four races remaining. After thinking there was “no hope” to be competitive after opening the season with three consecutive poor finishes, Taylor now sees an opportunity for a happy ending.

“With the program going away, Helio has won all the big races and given so much back to the team and left such a mark, he’s really part of Penske history,” Taylor said. “For me, it’s been an opportunity of a lifetime to be a part of it. I’d like to leave my little mark as well. Helio has won everything except for a championship.

“Obviously, we’ve won races already together, but we can win a championship now. I think if both of us can do that together and both win our first championship for ‘The Captain,’ that would be an absolute dream come true, and we can tie a bow on it and be happy.”