© Getty Images

Bottas: Williams has lost ground on Mercedes, Ferrari in 2016

Leave a comment

Valtteri Bottas believes that Williams has lost ground on Mercedes and Ferrari over the winter and is further behind the leading teams than in the past two years.

Bottas has led Williams’ charge up the grid in Formula 1 in recent years, taking it to third place in the constructors’ championship in 2014 and 2015.

The British team had hoped to charge this upturn in fortunes into a challenge against the big manufacturers in 2016, but has struggled in the opening two races of the season.

Bottas and teammate Felipe Massa ran second and third at the end of the first lap in Bahrain, but dropped back through the race to eventually finish towards the bottom of the top 10.

Speaking in Thursday’s FIA press conference, Bottas acknowledged that Williams had lost ground on Mercedes and Ferrari compared to previous years, and instead faces a tougher challenge from the midfield teams this season.

“I’s been quite a tough first couple of races, and especially for me pretty unlucky, things happening, and just looking forward to getting a nice, clean weekend and seeing what kind of results we can actually do with a proper weekend,” Bottas said.

“But it seems that it’s going to be a really tough year, very close. Ferrari and Mercedes are definitely more far away now that in the last two years.

“So that’s unfortunate but we just need to keep trying and getting closer and yeah after that we are in that field of a few teams – Red Bull and Toro Rosso, they seem to be very close – so every single bit we can improve this season is going to make a big difference.”

The Chinese Grand Prix is live on NBCSN and Live Extra from 1:30am ET on Sunday.

Indy Lights: Askew clinches 2019 title while VeeKay wins Laguna Seca race 1

Indy Lights
Leave a comment

MONTEREY, Calif – Rinus VeeKay may have won the first race of the weekend’s Indy Lights doubleheader at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca Saturday afternoon, but all all eyes post-race were all on the driver who finished the race in the fourth position.

That driver was Oliver Askew, who by simply starting the 30-lap event at the famed road course won the 2019 series title, along with the 2020 NTT IndyCar Series scholarship that guarantees a minimum of three races next season.

“It’s all sinking in,” Askew told NBC Sports following the race. “I’m really happy to be part of this team. They’re back to back champions now in Indy Lights, and I feel very fortunate to be driving in this car this year.

“This is what we worked for all year. I’m very happy to be in this position and I can’t wait to celebrate with my team.”

With the championship in Askew’s possession from the get-go, the best VeeKay could do for in race 1 was to win in dominant fashion. He went on to do just so.

After starting the race from the pole position, VeeKay led every lap from start to finish en route to his fifth victory of the season.

“We managed the car well and kept the car consistent throughout the whole race,” VeeKay said. “I got a great car from the team so I want to give a big shout out to them for giving me a winning car.”

Behind VeeKay, Portland race 2 winner Toby Sowery finished the race in the second position, while Robert Megennis finished third.

Live streaming coverage of race two of the Indy Lights doubleheader at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca begins tomorrow afternoon at 12:10 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Gold.

Click here for full race results

Follow Michael Eubanks on Twitter