IndyCar: Post-Mid-Ohio news and notes roundup

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There’s been no shortage of items to discuss in the immediate aftermath of the Honda Indy 200 weekend at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

Here’s a quick roundup from what’s been making its way around the web:

  • The 2016 schedule is starting to come together. Broken out into a separate post here, the puzzle pieces are starting to align to produce elements of the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series schedule.
  • Mazda Road to Indy drivers get to test in IndyCar. It was kind of a “super secret, but not really” topic of discussion at Mid-Ohio, but it is cool news: several drivers from the Mazda Road to Indy will get to test in the Verizon IndyCar Series in the coming weeks at Sonoma Raceway. There is a rule in the INDYCAR Rulebook – Rule 6.2.3 – allowing for current Indy Lights drivers to test. The pairings mentioned on the CNBC broadcast included: Chip Ganassi Racing – Sean Rayhall, Team Penske – Spencer Pigot, Nelson Piquet Jr., Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing – Ed Jones, Schmidt Peterson Motorsports – Jack Harvey and Mikhail Aleshin. Schmidt and Andretti Autosport – Matthew Brabham.
  • Derrick Walker news kicks off “Silly Season.” Thursday’s semi-bombshell that INDYCAR president of competition and operations Derrick Walker (pictured) would be leaving the series at year’s end has a two-pronged effect. We have to ask what’s next for Derrick, and who’s next for the position in the series. Paddock rumors suggested Chip Ganassi Racing’s managing director Mike Hull as a frontrunner but Hull denied interest, telling USA Today Sports, “You would have to move heaven and earth for me to leave.”
  • Driver silly season. No movement yet although with our first story on Josef Newgarden’s future (posted Friday) from an on-site interview this weekend, it stands to reason he’s the domino that will fall. Movement could occur within the couple weeks before Pocono; if it doesn’t, the news cycle in September and October might get busy.
  • Oh yeah, the Mid-Ohio race itself. There were a number of good post-Mid-Ohio stories related to the race itself, who finished where and the like. With a near 12 hour drive home on Monday (had multiple stops including a quick trip to Columbus), we’ll have time to break those out over the coming days on MotorSportsTalk.

Sergio Perez wins rain-delayed race in Singapore over Leclerc; Verstappen seventh

Sergio Perez Singapore
Clive Rose/Getty Images,
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SINGAPORE — Max Verstappen’s Formula One title celebrations were put on hold after the Red Bull driver placed seventh at a chaotic Singapore Grand Prix, won by his teammate Sergio Perez on Sunday.

Perez’s second win of the season saw him finish 7.6 seconds ahead of Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, with Leclerc’s teammate Carlos Sainz Jr. in third place.

Perez was investigated for a potential safety car infringement but still kept the win after a 5-second time penalty for dropping too far back after being warned.

Verstappen had won the past five races but needed to win here and finish 22 points ahead of Leclerc to be crowned champion for a second straight season. That could happen next weekend at the Japanese GP.

Verstappen made a mistake after the second safety car restart, following AlphaTauri driver Yuki Tsunoda’s crash on Lap 36. When Verstappen tried to overtake Lando Norris’ McLaren, he locked his tires and needed to pit again.

Leclerc started from pole position with Verstappen going from eighth after a team blunder in qualifying.

The race start was delayed by more than an hour to clear water off the Marina Bay Circuit track following heavy rainfall. Drivers had to finish the 61-lap race within a two-hour window; 59 laps were completed.

Tricky conditions saw the virtual safety car deployed three times and DRS was allowed with about 30 minutes remaining.

Perez made a good start and jumped past Leclerc while Verstappen dropped several places. The first safety car was on Lap 8 when Zhou Guanyu’s Alfa Romeo was cut off by Nicholas Latifi’s Williams.

Perez got away cleanly at the restart, while Verstappen climbed into seventh behind Fernando Alonso – whose 350th F1 race ended disappointingly when his engine failed on Lap 21, bringing out the first VSC.

With the track still damp, drivers decided against changing to quicker tires – apart from Mercedes’ George Russell, who struggled for grip.

Hamilton made a rare mistake on Lap 33 and thudded into the crash barrier. Soon after, the leading drivers changed tires in a flurry of stops. They did so just before the safety car was deployed again following Tsunoda’s error.

Verstappen overtook Sebastian Vettel’s Aston Martin right at the end for seventh place.