Perez scores Force India’s third F1 podium after late drama

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Sergio Perez scored just the third podium finish in Force India’s Formula 1 history after a late clash between Valtteri Bottas and Kimi Raikkonen allowed him to cross the line third in the Russian Grand Prix.

After qualifying seventh, Perez pitted early under the safety car in a bid to jump up the order with a long second stint on the prime tire.

It proved to be a stroke of genius as he vaulted up into third place ahead of the closing stages of the race, but was coming under heavy pressure from Bottas and Raikkonen behind.

On the penultimate lap of the race, both drivers managed to pass Perez as he struggled to find grip on his worn tires, dropping the Mexican down to fifth place.

However, when Raikkonen attempted an opportunistic pass on Bottas that saw him punted the Williams driver into the wall and sustain damage himself, Perez moved back up into third place on the last lap.

The result marked just the third podium finish in Force India’s F1 history, having debuted back in 2008. Perez has now been responsible for two, with his first for the team coming in Bahrain last year.

“It just feels great to be back with these [Force India] boys,” Perez said. “I’ve been enjoying so much my trip with all of them.

“One lap before the end, it seemed like everything went away from us. At that point, I was very unhappy with myself because many things come to your mind.

“But onto my last lap, I was like ‘I gave it all’, there was no more I could do, I had done plenty of laps with my tires, I had massive degradation on my front tires especially.

“In the last lap when they came togehter, it was amazing. It’s very nice to give my second podium to this team.”

The result sees Force India increase its advantage over Lotus in the race for fifth in the constructors’ championship to 28 points with four rounds of the season remaining.

IndyCar releases schedule for 2023 season

IndyCar schedule 2023
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The NTT IndyCar Series’ 2023 schedule will feature the same number of races and tracks as this season with some minor reshuffling of dates.

IndyCar will open the 2023 season March 5 on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida, and will conclude Sept. 10 at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, California. The 107th Indy 500 will take place May 28 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The 17-race schedule will conclude with a stretch of eight races in the final nine weeks.

“The NTT IndyCar Series is on an impactful upward trajectory, making progress at a pace that befits our thrilling style of competition,” Penske Entertainment Corp. president and CEO Mark Miles said in a release. “The 2023 season provides an opportunity to further build on this trend, bringing our sport and its stars to more markets and households and reaching new consumers across the globe.”

There will be 15 events on NBC: 13 races (including six of the final seven) plus Indy 500 qualifying May 20-21. There also are three races on USA Network and the Toronto race exclusively on Peacock. All races on NBC and USA also will have live simulstreams on Peacock.

In partnership with NBC Sports, the 2022 IndyCar season was the most-watched in six years and the most-watched across NBC Sports on record. The 2022 season also was the most streamed season on record.

“We’re very excited for our 2023 NTT IndyCar Series schedule and to build on this past season’s viewership milestones,” NBC Sports vice president of programming Mike Perman said in a release. “In providing comprehensive coverage across NBC, Peacock and USA Network, NBC Sports is once again looking forward to telling the stories of these world-class drivers and this compelling series.”

Notable elements on the 2023 schedule:

–There will be the same balance of seven road course races, five street courses and five ovals.

–St. Pete will be the season opener for the 13th time.

–The Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix will move from Belle Isle to the streets of downtown.

–The NASCAR doubleheader weekend at the IMS road course will shift to mid-August.

–The World Wide Technology Raceway event will move from Saturday to Sunday.

Start times for the 2023 events will be announced at a later date.

Here’s the 2023 IndyCar schedule:

Date Race/Track Network/Platform
Sun., March 5 Streets of St. Petersburg NBC, Peacock
Sun., April 2 Texas Motor Speedway NBC, Peacock
Sun., April 16 Streets of Long Beach NBC, Peacock
Sun., April 30 Barber Motorsports Park NBC, Peacock
Sat., May 13 Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Road Course) NBC, Peacock
Sun., May 28 The 107th Indianapolis 500 NBC, Peacock
Sun., June 4 Streets of Detroit NBC, Peacock
Sun., June 18 Road America USA Network, Peacock
Sun., July 2 Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course USA Network, Peacock
Sun., July 16 Streets of Toronto Peacock
Sat., July 22 Iowa Speedway – Race 1 NBC, Peacock
Sun., July 23 Iowa Speedway – Race 2 NBC, Peacock
Sun., Aug. 6 Streets of Nashville NBC, Peacock
Sat., Aug. 12 Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Road Course) USA Network, Peacock
Sun., Aug. 27 World Wide Technology Raceway NBC, Peacock
Sun., Sept. 3 Portland International Raceway NBC, Peacock
Sun., Sept. 10 WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca NBC, Peacock

*dates and networks/platforms are subject to change