Alonso charges to fifth in Hungary, sending McLaren into summer break on a high

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Fernando Alonso took full advantage of the misfortune of others to finish the Hungarian Grand Prix in fifth place, marking McLaren’s best result of the season so far.

Since joining forces with Honda at the beginning of the 2015 season, McLaren has struggled to battle inside the top ten, scoring just five points in the opening nine races of the year.

The team’s rut looked set to continue in Hungary after Alonso suffered a problem on his car in qualifying, leaving him 15th on the grid, one place ahead of teammate Jenson Button.

However, as a number of drivers up the field hit trouble, Alonso managed to move up the order and eventually cross the line in fifth place for ten points.

“This was a very good race, and fifth position at the finish is a nice little present for the whole team, particularly as we’re not as competitive as we’d like right now,” Alonso said.

“On the calendar, there are a handful of circuits where we expected our performance to be better – Monaco, Singapore, and here in Hungary, so we knew we needed to make the most of today.

“Critically, we did just that: it was a chaotic race, and we took advantage of every opportunity that came our way. These points are a good way to send the whole team into the summer break, but we need to further maximize our chances in the second half of the season.”

Button followed his teammate’s lead by fighting through the field to finish ninth and secure McLaren’s first double points finish of the season.

“Fernando did a great job today,” Button said. “Fitting the option tire for the final stint was the right decision for him; I didn’t stop for tyres under the safety car whereas pretty much everyone around me did.

“That decision made it very difficult for me, because my used primes were pretty old by the end of the race, and there were plenty of faster cars around me running fresher options.

“Still, it was a fun race, and it’s great to get points ahead of the summer break. The accidents and penalties certainly helped us, but we still did a good job out there today.

“This is a step forward for us, but we’ll need to take another step if we’re to repeat this sort of result. Equally, the next two races – at Spa and Monza – will probably be difficult for us, but it’s good to see we’re making progress.”

Hildebrand enters Indy 500 with Dreyer & Reinbold Racing

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INDIANAPOLIS — J.R. Hildebrand will race in the Indianapolis 500 with Dreyer & Reinbold Racing in a second entry dedicated to the late Dan Gurney.

Hildebrand will pilot the No. 48 as a nod to the number used by Gurney, a racer, car builder and team owner who died in 2018. Hildebrand will be teammates with Sage Karam and his car will be sponsored by Salesforce.com.

Hildebrand has eight previous Indy 500 starts and was leading on the final lap as a rookie in 2011 when he crashed in the final turn. Dan Wheldon slipped past for the victory and Hildebrand finished second.

Hildebrand also drove for DRR last season.

DRR is also fielding the #24 Chevrolet in this year’s Indy 500 for Sage Karam.