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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 at IMS Friday: How to watch, start times, live streaming info

IndyCar Indianapolis start times
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With three races remaining in the NTT IndyCar Series season, Scott Dixon has a commanding lead and history on his side entering Friday’s opener of the Harvest GP at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The five-time series champion leads defending champ Josef Newgarden by 72 points.

Since 2014, the points leader with three races left has won the championship in five of the past six years, including Dixon in ’18.

The Chip Ganassi Racing driver has led the championship standings following every round after opening 2020 with three consecutive victories. Dixon also led the points by 78 points with three races remaining when he won the title in 2008.

Dixon, Newgarden, Pato O’Ward, Colton Herta, Will Power, Graham Rahal and Takuma Sato are championship eligible.

Anyone outside 108 points of the lead after Indy will be eliminated heading into the Oct. 25 season finale at St. Petersburg, Florida.

Here is the IndyCar Harvest GP at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course schedule for Friday (all times are ET), including details and start times:

Indianapolis Motor Speedway TV schedule for Friday

IndyCar Harvest GP Race 1: 3:30 p.m., USA Network, NBC Sports Gold and streaming on the NBC Sports App and NBCSports.com); Leigh Diffey is the lead announcer for IndyCar on NBCSN this weekend with analysts Townsend Bell and Paul Tracy.

IndyCar Harvest GP, Race 1 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway start times, information


GREEN FLAG: 4 p.m.

DISTANCE: The race is 85 laps (207.35 miles) around Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s a 2.439-mile, 14-turn road course in Indianapolis.

TIRE ALLOTMENT: Nine sets primary, five sets alternate (A 10th set of primary tires is available to any car fielding a rookie.) Teams must use one set of primary and one set of alternate tires in the race.

PUSH TO PASS: 200 seconds of total time with a maximum time of 20 seconds per activation.

FORECAST: According to Wunderground.com, it’s expected to be 57 degrees with a 0% chance of rain at the green flag.

QUALIFYING: 6:20 p.m. Thursday (NBC Sports Gold)

ENTRY LIST: Click here for the 25 drivers racing this weekend at Indianapolis