Hamilton storms to fifth straight pole position in Hungary

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Lewis Hamilton will start tomorrow’s Hungarian Grand Prix from pole position after beating Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg in qualifying at the Hungaroring on Saturday afternoon.

Hamilton posted a fastest lap time of 1:22.020 to finish half a second clear of Rosberg in second place as Mercedes once again locked out the front row of the grid.

Hamilton entered qualifying after finishing fastest in all three practice sessions at the Hungaroring, and he continued this record by going quickest in Q1, Q2, and – most importantly – Q3 on Saturday.

After edging out Rosberg by three-tenths of a second on their first Q3 runs, Hamilton extended his advantage with a stunning final lap to enjoy a margin of 0.575 seconds at the end of the session.

The Silver Arrows were followed once again by Sebastian Vettel in the Ferrari, but the German was run close by Daniel Ricciardo, who was just 0.035 seconds further back in fifth place.

Kimi Raikkonen qualified fifth for Ferrari ahead of Williams’ Valtteri Bottas. Daniil Kvyat qualified seventh for Red Bull ahead of Felipe Massa, who finished two places behind his teammate in P8.

Max Verstappen and Romain Grosjean both did well to make it through to Q3 on Saturday, but neither could challenge to leading drivers and instead rounded out the top ten in ninth and tenth place respectively.

After missing FP2 on Friday due to a suspension problem that caused Sergio Perez to flip in FP1, Force India bounced back on Saturday and nearly made it into Q3. Nico Hulkenberg was edged out by Grosjean for P10 in the dying stages of Q2, leaving him 11th ahead of Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz and Perez in P13. A mistake by Pastor Maldonado meant he could only qualify 14th on Saturday.

McLaren’s impressive practice pace failed to carry over to qualifying on Saturday afternoon as Jenson Button was eliminated in Q1, finishing 16th. The Briton lamented a problem with the power delivery on his car on the main straight that cost him a place in Q2.

Although teammate Fernando Alonso was able to make it through, his car stopped out on track before he could post a time. With the help of some marshals, the Spaniard did push his car back to the pits under the subsequent red flag, but was unable to get out on track again.

Qualifying proved to be another difficult session for Sauber as neither Marcus Ericsson or Felipe Nasr could make it into Q2, leaving them 17th and 18th respectively on the grid. Roberto Merhi and Will Stevens once again filled out the back row for Manor.

Mercedes may once again be the dominant team, but it will take an almighty effort from Rosberg to get ahead of Hamilton in the race tomorrow. The British driver can become the most successful driver in the history of the Hungarian Grand Prix with victory on Sunday, and if his qualifying lap is anything to go by, few would bet against him.

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.