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Rosberg still wary of Hamilton threat from P10 on grid in Baku

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Nico Rosberg is anticipating a close fight for victory in Sunday’s European Grand Prix despite seeing Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton crash out in qualifying.

Rosberg took pole with a last-gasp lap in Q3, edging out Force India’s Sergio Perez for pole just moments before the session was red flagged after Hamilton hit the wall at Turn 10.

The shunt left Hamilton 10th on the grid for the start in Baku, handing Rosberg an opportunity to open his championship lead back up once again after seeing it reduce from 43 points to just nine in the past three weeks.

“It was one of the more challenging sessions out there, but everything worked out well,” Rosberg said of qualifying.

“There was a bit of reorganizing, because for example in Q3 Lewis had an off in front of me so I had to abort that lap, and then I just had one more attempt at the end but that worked out fine. I’m very, very happy. It was great.

“I’m really pleased with that because all weekend we’ve been building towards it. In qualifying it was really optimum, so it felt good.”

By virtue of Perez’s penalty, Rosberg will start ahead of Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo and Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel on the grid on Sunday.

When asked who his main rivals for victory would be in Baku, Rosberg said: “Of course it’s going to be Daniel and Sebastian, Kimi, and Lewis.

“Never forget him, he can always come back from 10th as he’s shown very often this year.”

Rosberg spoke warmly of the Baku City Circuit, which plays host to F1 for the first time this weekend, believing its design played a big role in making qualifying as exciting as it was.

“I think they’ve done a great job up to now with the track especially. We’ve seen one of the most exciting qualifying sessions for a long time,” Rosberg said.

“The gap was pretty big in front but there was a lot going on all over the place and that’s down to the track. The race I’m sure is going to be very exciting.

“It’s one of the easiest tracks to overtake so there are going to be a lot of changing places I think, probably a lot of safety cars as well, exciting restarts as well.”

The European Grand Prix is live on NBCSN and Live Extra from 8am ET on Sunday.

Andretti United team names drivers for inaugural Extreme E season

Extreme E drivers Andretti
Extreme E
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The Extreme E team formed by Andretti Autosport and United Autosports named Catie Munnings and Timmy Hansen as its drivers Monday for the series’ inaugural 2021 season.

Munnings is a successful veteran of rally series. Hansen is a past winner and champion in the World Rallycross Championship.

They both will race in the environmentally conscious electric SUV series that will hold events in five areas around the world that are threatened by climate change. Chip Ganassi Racing and six-time Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton also are fielding cars in Extreme E, which will feature male and female co-drivers on every team.

Catie Munnings

“I’m so excited to join Andretti United Extreme E,” Munnings said in a release. ““I was really intrigued when I first heard about Extreme E, I just knew I had to be involved. The male / female racing partnership is a fantastic and exciting new concept. The season has incredible locations and the racing will be very exciting. It will be a new challenge for the teams and drivers, and I’m so thrilled to be working with such a strong team.

“The championship is a really innovative concept, it’s combining motorsport and science and will produce an important legacy in each race location. Bringing the platform that motorsport has in line with the awareness that the planet needs right now is awesome and a really important message.”

Timmy Hansen

Said Hansen: “Going into the Extreme E will be a new chapter in my career, one that I am extremely excited about. It is something brand new, not only for me, but the whole of motorsport. The format is something

we’ve never seen before. I’m also delighted to be able to carry the message of something bigger – talking about the environment and doing something good for the world – that’s something that really drives me. It’s going to be a big adventure in life to see these locations and I’m going to do my best in carrying this responsibility and hopefully making people aware of the challenges we have in the world, together with our passion for racing.”