Rosberg disappointed to qualify behind Vettel in Bahrain

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Nico Rosberg made no secret of his disappointment following qualifying for the Bahrain Grand Prix on Saturday after finishing in third place behind Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton and Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel.

Rosberg failed to top any of the three qualifying sessions, and eventually finished over half a second behind Hamilton in the fight for pole position.

The German driver explained after the session that he failed to get into a rhythm during the second stage of qualifying, opting to conserve his tires that he will start the race on tomorrow.

As a result, he entered the final part of qualifying without attacking the Bahrain International Circuit for a lap, leaving him third on the grid behind Hamilton and Vettel.

“It’s just strategy-wise today that I got it wrong,” Rosberg said. “I was thinking too much about the race, and I underestimated Sebastian’s speed and how much it would cost me.

“What I mean is that taking it easy in Q2 on the race set of tires that we started the race with, I just lacked rhythm as a result.

“I didn’t get into the rhythm and I just had one shot at it at the end. So that’s where I went wrong today.

“[I’m] disappointed, because Sebastian beat me. If I was second, it would be damage limitation, but being third is not ideal.”

Rosberg had been hoping to end Hamilton’s pole position streak in Bahrain, but failed to put up any kind of challenge to his teammate during qualifying, allowing the Briton to claim his fourth pole of the year.

However, with Ferrari’s long-run pace making it a genuine threat to Mercedes in the race on Sunday, the German team will undoubtedly be disappointed not to have locked out the front row of the grid in Bahrain.

You can watch the Bahrain Grand Prix live on NBCSN and Live Extra from 11am ET on Sunday.

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.