Rosberg annoyed after poor start, settling for second at Spa

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Nico Rosberg made no secret of his annoyance after a poor start cost him the chance to fight for victory in Sunday’s Belgian Grand Prix.

Starting second, Rosberg dropped down to fifth on the short run down to the first corner whilst Mercedes teammate and championship rival Lewis Hamilton led the field through the opening lap.

Although Rosberg was able to make his way back up to second over the first stint of the race, he trailed Hamilton by eight seconds before making his first pit stop.

The German driver did manage to catch Hamilton during the race, reducing the gap to as little as two seconds at points, but failed to put up any serious challenge to his teammate.

Speaking on the podium after the race, Rosberg explained how he felt annoyed with his poor start, but that Hamilton had been the quicker driver on Sunday.

“Yeah just completely messed up the start, so that was very annoying,” Rosberg said.

“Fought my way through, gave it absolutely everything, we were both on the edge all the way through. The car has been amazing so I’m really thankful to the team again for giving us such a car, it’s awesome to drive it.

“Lewis did a great job, he deserved to win. I tried to give it everything, but not enough.”

Rosberg now trails Hamilton by 28 points at the top of the drivers’ championship, but is now 39 clear of Sebastian Vettel in third place after the Ferrari driver suffered his first non-score of the season due to a late tire blowout.

Between now and the Italian Grand Prix in two weeks’ time, Rosberg is set to become a father for the first time as his wife, Vivian, is due to give birth in the next few days.

Helio Castroneves ‘hustling’ for IndyCar, IMSA rides; talking with four to five teams

Helio Castroneves IMSA IndyCar
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As his season gathers steam, Helio Castroneves said his prospects for finding new rides for 2021 in IMSA and IndyCar also are gaining momentum.

The three-time Indianapolis 500 winner said Monday he is optimistic about landing in either or perhaps a combination of both series when Team Penske and Acura end their DPi partnership after this season.

“A lot of people I spoke with, four to five teams, are interested,” Castroneves said. “Whether it’s doing Indy 500 only, whether it’s pushing to do full time or do the sports cars as well. It’s been a very nice conversation.

LOOKING AHEADTeam Penske drivers seeking new rides for 2021

“I have a lot of respect for all the teams that have been talking, and I feel the same feedback. We just have to wait for their (sponsor) connections, and I’m also looking for some connections on my side as well, so hopefully we’ll be able to put this together and get something very soon.”

Given two decades of success with Penske in IndyCar and IMSA, Castroneves’ resume hardly needs burnishing. But the Brazilian has combined with co-driver Ricky Taylor in the No. 7 Acura DPi to win the past two overall victories at Road America and Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.

But Castroneves, who doesn’t have a manager, said he has been working the phones hard rather than wait for the strong results to bring in the calls.

“At this point, I feel like I’m the one who needs to be talking to them because people need to know I want to continue racing and understand my desire,” Castroneves, 45, said. “There is opportunity, no question, in both (IndyCar and IMSA), which I’m really happy about it. However, because of the COVID-19, a lot of things sometimes have to be a little delayed. But I’m excited. Whatever the opportunity and whatever destiny guides me, whether IndyCar or sports cars, trust me I’ll be as happy as it could be and doing my 100 percent like I always did.

“It’s like politics, you need to be out there, good news or bad news. People have to make notice of your presence. I’m hustling. I want to continue to keep it going. Hopefully, we’ll have good news very soon.”

The news has been all good lately on track for Castroneves and Taylor, who hope to continue their run Sunday at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

The No. 6 duo has surged to sixth in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship standings, 10 points out of the lead with four races remaining. After thinking there was “no hope” to be competitive after opening the season with three consecutive poor finishes, Taylor now sees an opportunity for a happy ending.

“With the program going away, Helio has won all the big races and given so much back to the team and left such a mark, he’s really part of Penske history,” Taylor said. “For me, it’s been an opportunity of a lifetime to be a part of it. I’d like to leave my little mark as well. Helio has won everything except for a championship.

“Obviously, we’ve won races already together, but we can win a championship now. I think if both of us can do that together and both win our first championship for ‘The Captain,’ that would be an absolute dream come true, and we can tie a bow on it and be happy.”