Lack of rhythm costs Rosberg in battle for pole in Monaco

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Nico Rosberg has explained how a loss of rhythm during qualifying for the Monaco Grand Prix on Saturday proved to be costly as he finished second behind Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton in the fight for pole position.

Rosberg entered Saturday’s qualifying session in search of a third straight pole position in Monaco, but a mistake on his final flying lap meant that he finished three-tenths of a second adrift of Hamilton at the top of the timesheets.

Whereas Hamilton bounced back from a loss of rhythm in Q2, Rosberg said that he moved in the opposite direction, becoming increasingly uncomfortable as the session progressed.

“Probably a bit the opposite to Lewis in that I had a good rhythm to starting off qualifying, which I didn’t have all weekend so it was good to get into it in qualifying, and then lost touch towards the end going for it,” Rosberg said.

“I had to because I knew Lewis was going to be quick. I needed to go for it and it didn’t work out, so that’s it.”

Rosberg explained how he remained confident of pole heading into the final part of Q3, given that he was only one-tenth of a second behind Hamilton ahead of their final runs.

“It was very close and I was confident I could improve on my lap time,” Rosberg said. “[I] changed my balance also as on my first run I had too much understeer.

“I was confident it was going to come my way, but then it didn’t.”

Given that ten of the last eleven F1 races in Monaco have been won from pole position, the odds are not stacked in Rosberg’s favor. However, he will be hoping to buck the trend and become just the fourth driver in F1 history to win the Monaco Grand Prix for three years running.

F1 Countdown for the Monaco Grand Prix is live on NBCSN from 7am on Sunday, before switching over to NBC at 7:30am ET for the race.

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.