Arie Luyendyk

IndyCar stars attend roundtable talk at Arizona Concours d’Elegance

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Last weekend, stars from the last three decades of IndyCar history gathered at the Arizona Concours d’Elegance at the Arizona Biltmore Resort in Phoenix for a roundtable discussion.

Ryan Hunter-Reay, the 2012 Verizon IndyCar champion and 2014 Indy 500 winner, sat with Tom Sneva (winner of the 1983 Indy 500), Arie Luyendyk (1990 and ’97) and Dario Franchitti (2007, ’10 and ’12) for the discussion that was moderated by 1992 Indy 500 Rookie of the Year Lyn St. James.

At one point Hunter-Reay shared the story of how he came to love racing when he attended a CART race in Miami.

“I remember pressing my cheek up against a fence for the first time ever at an Indy car race in Miami and feeling one of those cars go by,” Hunter-Reay said according to IndyCar.com. “That’s when it hit me. That was it. I remember the chills going down my back. Being a kid, these guys were my superheroes.”

Sneva told of an exchange he had with the media in 1978 after becoming the first driver to complete a four-lap qualifying attempt for the Indy 500 at more than 200 mph. He had been asked how he spent his afternoon while waiting for qualifying to end.

“I told him I was at (Jim) Hurtubise’s garage talking with the consumption engineer,” Sneva said. “These (media) guys are writing this down and are pretty serious. Finally, one guy asks, ‘What’s a consumption engineer?” and I said, ‘Well, that’s the bartender.’”

You can read more about the roundtable discussion at IndyCar.com

Lewis Hamilton takes F1 pole in dramatic Russian GP qualifying

Russian pole Lewis Hamilton
Dan Istitene - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images
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SOCHI, Russia — Lewis Hamilton took a step closer to equaling the Formula One win record Saturday by clinching pole position at the Russian Grand Prix, after narrowly avoiding early elimination when Sebastian Vettel crashed.

Hamilton charged to a track-record time of 1 minute, 31.304 seconds, beating the Red Bull of Max Verstappen by 0.563 for his fifth straight pole position. Hamilton can achieve his 91st career win in the race on Sunday, matching the record held by Michael Schumacher.

Hamilton’s Mercedes teammate, Valtteri Bottas, was beaten into third by Verstappen’s fast run at the end of the session and was .652 off Hamilton’s time.

The long run from the grid to the first significant turn means Bottas could yet threaten to overtake Hamilton at the start Sunday using the slipstream from his teammate’s car.

“It’s nice being on pole but here is probably the worst place to be on pole,” Hamilton said.

“This year you’re seeing that our cars are more draggy and there’s more tow this year than we’ve seen in other years. So I generally expect one of (Verstappen and Bottas) to come flying by at some point. I think I’m just going to focus on my race and run the fastest race I can.”

Bottas earned his first win at the 2017 race in Russia after starting third and overtaking the two Ferraris ahead of him at the start.

Verstappen and Bottas both start the race on medium tires, which could give them an edge in terms of pit strategy over Hamilton, who is on soft tires, which wear much faster.

“I’m just going to have to nurse those tires for as far as I can. These guys, if they get by, they’re going to be pulling away,” Hamilton said.

Verstappen said he was delighted to start second.

“I wasn’t expecting that and of course it’s great for us. If we can get a good start tomorrow you never know what can happen,” he said.

Vettel lost control of his car over the kerb on the inside of the 90-degree, right-hand turn four and spun into the wall, before the Ferrari bounced back onto the track. Teammate Charles Leclerc was following closely behind and narrowly missed the wrecked car, driving over its discarded front wing.

“Oh my God, that was very, very close,” Leclerc told his team over the radio. Leclerc qualified 11th and Vettel 15th as Ferrari failed to reach the top-10 shootout with either car for the third time in four races.

Vettel’s crash meant the red flag was waved while Hamilton was trying to set his first valid lap time to make the third session – after his first attempt was earlier ruled out for going off the track.

After the track was cleared and the session restarted, Hamilton had to rush his out-lap to make it over the line in time for another flying lap with just a second to spare.

“It was horrible,” Hamilton said. “Heart in the mouth.”

Hamilton was also asked to report to race stewards over another incident in which he went off the track in the first part of qualifying. No further action was taken. It was found Hamilton didn’t gain an advantage because the lap time wasn’t counted.

Hamilton is the runaway championship leader with a 55-point advantage over second-place Bottas and 80 over Verstappen. If he can earn four more pole positions in the last seven races, he would be the first driver to 100 in F1 history.

Earlier in the third and final practice Saturday morning, Hamilton set the pace with a time of 1 minute, 33.279 seconds that was 0.776 better than his Mercedes teammate Bottas, who had been quickest in the first two sessions.