Grosjean disappointed with P10 in Bahrain GP qualifying

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Romain Grosjean felt disappointed to have only qualified in tenth position for tomorrow’s Bahrain Grand Prix despite reaching Q3 for the fourth time in as many races.

Coming off the back of a disastrous 2014 campaign with Lotus, Grosjean has made an improved start to this season, scoring his first points of the year in China.

Although he was proud of the performance by the team during qualifying on Saturday in Bahrain, the Frenchman could not help but feel that he could have finished higher up than P10.

“I”m really proud of the team and what they achieved between FP3 and qualifying today,” Grosjean said. “From our runs so far this weekend, I was expecting to go out earlier, so to achieve Q3 for the fourth time in a row feels very good.

“I’m actually slightly disappointed, I think we could have placed higher but we were lacking a little bit of grip.

“Tomorrow is all about the rear tires – as opposed to China, where it was all about the fronts. We’ll be careful, prepare a car that’s well balanced and then we’ll see what it brings.”

In the sister Lotus, Pastor Maldonado was less fortunate as he dropped out in Q1 due to a problem with the front brakes on his car.

“We had a problem unfortunately and weren’t able to get the maximum pace from the car, meaning that it felt like we were lacking in power,” Maldonado said.

“It’s not the end of the world as we should be able to fix the problem so we can focus on recovering positions through the race.

“We have enough tires to do a different strategy and have showed good potential on both long and short runs throughout the weekend. The pace is there and points are definitely possible so let’s do our best as always.”

The Bahrain Grand Prix is live on NBCSN and Live Extra from 10:30am ET on Sunday.

Andretti Autosport picks James Hinchcliffe for last 3 races of season

Andretti Autosport James Hinchcliffe
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James Hinchcliffe will finish the NTT IndyCar Series season for Andretti Autosport, replacing Zach Veach in the No. 26 Dallara-Honda.

The team made the announcement Friday afternoon that Hinchcliffe will return after racing for Andretti at Texas Motor Speedway, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and the Indianapolis 500.

Hinchcliffe, who also has worked as an IndyCar on NBC analyst and pit reporter, will race in the Oct. 2-3 doubleheader race weekend at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and the Oct. 25 season finale at St. Petersburg, Florida.

“It’s always unfortunate to have to change drivers this far into a season, but we have to look at finishing the year the best we can for the 26 team and start evaluating and looking at options for 2021,” team owner Michael Andretti said in a release. “James has an existing relationship with our team that we’d love to build on and it makes the most sense for him to step in for these last three races. We are looking forward to seeing what he can do.”

Hinchcliffe has a season-best finish of seventh in the Indy 500. He had been working on trying to put together a deal for next season after scrambling to secure a partial schedule this year when he lost his ride at Arrow McLaren SP after 2020 with a year left on his deal.

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“I know, probably better than most, what Zach is feeling right now, and I have to say that he has handled everything about as class act as you can,” Hinchcliffe said. “I’ve known Zach as a teammate, before that as a colleague and even before that as a friend, and he is a guy that I respect in every way. I know he is a fighter and will fight back to where he wants to be.

“For me now, my focus is 100% on racing the Harvest GP and getting the best possible results for Gainbridge, for Honda, for Michael and for the team. I obviously haven’t been on a road course in a while, but at least the last time I was, it was here at IMS! Hopefully that puts us in a good position to go out there and have a strong weekend.”