Nico Rosberg’s chance to take the lead of the Formula 1 drivers’ championship for the first time in 2015 slipped through his fingers after a late puncture left him eighth at the end of the Hungarian Grand Prix.
Starting from second place, Rosberg managed to pass Mercedes teammate and title rival Lewis Hamilton into the first corner.
However, he was swarmed by both Ferrari drivers at the first corner, meaning that he ran third at the end of the first lap.
A safety car period allowed Rosberg to pass Kimi Raikkonen and close on race leader Sebastian Vettel in the closing stages of the race, running within one second of the German driver with five laps to go.
However, a lunge by Daniel Ricciardo at the first corner saw Rosberg suffer a puncture that left him crawling back to the pits. In the end, he finished the race in eighth place, two positions behind Hamilton who had been outside of the points with ten laps to go.
“Racing is very tough sometimes,” Rosberg said. “It’s an awful feeling to lose it at the end.
“For me, the incident with Daniel was pretty clear. I was on the ideal line, he braked too late and went wide. I then stayed on the racing line, so it was my corner, but he still had his front wing there and hit me and I got a puncture.
“That destroyed my race, which is a real shame as I could have gained a lot of points on Lewis.
“At the moment I’m not looking forward to the summer break. I just want to be back in the car and racing again tomorrow.”
Rosberg now trails Hamilton by 21 points at the top of the drivers’ championship heading into the sport’s annual summer break.
Ryan Norman will return to Andretti Autosport for their third season together in 2019 after scoring his first win and first pole with that organization in 2018.
“I’m really excited to finally make it official that I’ll be returning to Andretti Autosport for my third season competing in Indy Lights,” said Norman in a press release. “We’ve built a solid foundation over the past two years and I’m ready to fight for wins, podiums and ultimately the championship, with such a great group of people who have become like a family to me.”
Norman finished 2018 fourth in the championship, earning his first career win in race 15 of the 17-race schedule at Gateway Motorsports Park in August.
Norman’s first pole came in the finale at Portland International Raceway in September, but he crashed on the first lap and finished last (8th).
“We’re very happy that Ryan is rejoining us for his third season of Indy Lights,” said Andretti Autosport President, JF Thormann. “We were pleased with his performance this past season, and his potential as a driver began to really shine after his win at Gateway. He’s right on track with his progression plan put together by his engineering team, and we feel strongly that he has what it takes to be a contender for the 2019 championship.”
Norman will essentially replace teammates Patricio O’Ward and Colton Herta, who will race for Rookie of the Year honors in IndyCar next season. O’Ward finished first in the Indy Lights standings last year; Herta finished second.
Norman’s 2019 campaign will begin on the streets of St. Petersburgh, Florida March 9, 2019. That will be the first of a double-header with Race 2 running the following day.