Turvey to race in Berlin ePrix after Super GT race postponement

Leave a comment

NEXTEV TCR has confirmed that Oliver Turvey will now race in the upcoming Formula E race in Berlin following the postponement of the clashing Super GT race in Japan.

Turvey had been due to miss the race on May 21 due to a prior commitment with Drago Modulo Honda Racing at Autopolis. British racer Ben Hanley had been due to deputize.

However, the race has been postponed due to earthquakes affecting the island of Kyushu, meaning Turvey is able to race in Berlin as originally planned.

“First of all, my thoughts go out to everyone affected by the earthquakes that have hit Kyushu,” Turvey said.

“It’s understandable that the organizers have had to postpone the Super GT race at Autopolis, but I hope we can race there later in the year for all the fans in the Kyushu region.

“It now means that I am available to race in the next round of the Formula E Championship. I’m looking forward to racing on this new track and will be pushing for a strong points finish.”

NEXTEV president Martin Leach added: “We are pleased that Oliver is able to compete in Berlin for NextEV TCR, we just wish it wasn’t under such circumstances.

“Everyone at the team was shocked to hear about the earthquakes and we are thinking about those living on Kyushu.

“I would also like to say thank you to Ben Hanley for his understanding and wish him well in his racing in the European Le Mans Series this season.”

Max Verstappen shows speed in Austria; Lewis Hamilton lacking pace

Leonhard Foeger/Pool via Getty Images
Leave a comment

SPIELBERG, Austria — Red Bull driver Max Verstappen posted the fastest time Friday, and six-time Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton lacked pace in the second practice session for the Styrian Grand Prix.

Verstappen was 0.043 seconds quicker than Valtteri Bottas – Hamilton’s teammate at Mercedes – and 0.217 ahead of Racing Point driver Sergio Perez.

“The car already feels better than last week, the balance is a lot nicer and we have made a good step,” said Verstappen, who did not finish last Sunday’s season-opening Austrian GP after starting from second.

“It is too early to say how we are looking against Mercedes, but we are quite happy. We have tried a few different directions to understand the car a bit more and we are heading the right way.”

Hamilton was only sixth fastest, about 0.7 seconds slower than Verstappen. Hamilton spent a chunk of time in the garage while his team worked on his car.

“It was quite far off, so there’s a lot of work to do in the background to figure it out,” he said. “Others out there are quick and Valtteri’s obviously got good pace.”

Despite adding a new front wing to its car, struggling Ferrari had a dismal afternoon.

Charles Leclerc was only ninth quickest and 1 second slower than Verstappen, while teammate Sebastian Vettel lagged about 2 seconds behind Verstappen in 16th.

Daniel Ricciardo lost control of his Renault car early into the second session, swerving left off the track and thudding backward into a protective tire wall. He climbed out unharmed, other than a slight limp, but the left rear tire was mangled and the car was lifted off the track by a crane.

Alexander Albon spun twice, the Red Bull driver’s second spin taking him right off the track and into gravel.

Earlier, Perez was fastest in the first practice ahead of Verstappen and Bottas, with Hamilton fourth quickest and Vettel only 10th in sunny conditions.

That session was briefly interrupted when Nicholas Latifi’s Williams car pulled over to the side with a gearbox issue.

The incident brought out yellow flags, forcing drivers to slow down. But McLaren driver Lando Norris overtook Pierre Gasly’s AlphaTauri and got a three-place grid penalty for Sunday’s race.

Norris, 20, finished third at the Austrian GP last weekend, becoming the youngest British driver in F1 history to get on the podium and third youngest in F1.

The upcoming race is changing names from last week but is at the same track. It is surrounded by the Styrian mountains.

A third and final practice will be held on Saturday morning before qualifying in the afternoon, with heavy rain and storms in the forecast.

If third practice and qualifying are washed out, drivers take their grid positions from where they placed in second practice.

“It would definitely suck if we didn’t get to qualify,” said Hamilton, who started fifth and finished fourth last weekend. “It would make it challenging.”

However, qualifying also could be moved to Sunday morning.

“I don’t expect to be on pole position with this (practice) lap,” Verstappen said.