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Vettel delighted with “fantastic” Ferrari in Russia

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Sebastian Vettel felt delighted to have scored his 11th podium finish of the 2015 Formula 1 season after crossing the line second in today’s Russian Grand Prix.

Despite dropping to fifth on the first lap, Vettel managed to fight his way back up the order to finish second at the Sochi Autodrom behind runaway race winner Lewis Hamilton.

Vettel also moved up to second in the drivers’ championship, pulling clear of Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg after the German driver was forced to retire from the race.

Speaking on the podium, Vettel explained how the Ferrari car felt fantastic throughout the grand prix, and that he even thought that he could have caught Hamilton at one point.

“I think it was a very good race, the car was fantastic and just kept getting better,” Vettel said. “At some point I was hoping maybe there was a slight chance to catch Lewis, but he had so much pace in hand I don’t think he was really pushing in the end.

“Great result, obviously it would have been nice to have both cars up on the podium which I think was possible today. Very happy with how the race went.”

Vettel hopes that Ferrari’s recent good form points to an improved challenge for both world championship in 2015, believing that ground is being made up on Mercedes at the front.

“I hope so, that’s our target,” Vettel said. “We want to be a bit better in the race and make sure we give some really good challenge to the Mercedes.

“Currently they’re still a bit ahead, but we’re doing a very good job. We’re focusing on ourselves, gaining step by step, getting a bit closer, going in a good direction.”

Zach Veach splits with Andretti Autosport for rest of IndyCar season

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Zach Veach will be leaving his Andretti Autosport ride with three races remaining in the season, choosing to explore options after the decision was made he wouldn’t return for 2021.

In a Wednesday release, Andretti Autosport said a replacement driver for the No. 26 Dallara-Honda would be named in the coming days. The NTT IndyCar Series will race Oct. 2-3 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and then conclude the season Oct. 25 on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida.

Veach was ranked 11th in the points standings through 11 races of his third season with Andretti. Since a fourth in the June 6 season opener at Texas Motor Speedway, he hadn’t finished higher than 14th.

“The decision was made that I will not be returning in 2021 with Andretti Autosport in the No. 26 Gainbridge car,” Veach said in the Andretti release. “This, along with knowing that limited testing exists for teams due to COVID, have led me to the decision to step out of the car for the remainder of the 2020 IndyCar season. I am doing this to allow the team to have time with other drivers as they prepare for 2021, and so that I can also explore my own 2021 options.

“This is the hardest decision I have ever made, but to me, racing is about family, and it is my belief that you take care of your family. Andretti Autosport is my family and I feel this is what is best to help us all reach the next step. I will forever be grateful to Michael and the team for all of their support over the years. I would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for a relationship that started many years ago with Road to Indy. I will also be forever grateful to Dan Towriss for his friendship and for the opportunity he and Gainbridge have given me.

“My love for this sport and the people involved is unmeasurable, and I look forward to continuing to be amongst the racing world and fans in 2021.”

Said team owner Michael Andretti: “We first welcomed Zach to the Andretti team back in his USF2000 days and have enjoyed watching him grow and evolve as a racer, and a person. His decision to allow us to use the last few races to explore our 2021 options shows the measure of his character.

“Zach has always placed team and family first, and we’re very happy to have had him as part of ours for so many years. We wish him the best in whatever 2021 may bring and will always consider him a friend.”

Andretti fields five full-time cars for Veach, Alexander Rossi, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Marco Andretti and Colton Herta.

It also has fielded James Hinchcliffe in three races this season.