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Hulkenberg confident of big points in Austria from front row

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Nico Hulkenberg is confident that he can bring home a sizeable points haul in Sunday’s Austrian Grand Prix after qualifying second at the Red Bull Ring.

A rain shower in the lead-up to Q3 left the track wet before drying out as the session wore on, allowing Hulkenberg to take advantage of the slippery conditions in his Force India car.

The German driver ultimately finished third at the checkered flag, but rises to second place on the grid by virtue of Nico Rosberg’s grid penalty.

“A great qualifying session and I’m feeling very happy and satisfied with our performance,” Hulkenberg said after the session.

“The drying track today reminded me of my pole position from Brazil 2010 and I have to say I really enjoy these tricky conditions.

“You don’t know where the grip is. You have to take some risks and you have to switch to dry tires at just the right moment – which is something we did today.

“It was just a super effort from the whole team and it puts us in a great position for the race. There will be a lot of quick cars around us, but my car feels good.

“We’ve been strong here in all the sessions so I think we can bring home a lot of points.”

Teammate Sergio Perez was sidelined after Q1 by a suspension issue on his car, leaving him 16th on the grid for tomorrow’s race.

“I’m feeling disappointed about what happened during qualifying. We found a good balance with the car this morning and we should have easily made it through to Q3,” Perez said.

“I was on my second run during Q1 when I felt something strange at the rear of my car. I managed to recover to the pits and we saw that it was a suspension failure, but unfortunately there was not enough time to fix the car and my session was done.

“It’s a big missed opportunity today, but I won’t give up because I know we can recover some ground tomorrow and still be in the fight for points.”

The Austrian Grand Prix is live on CNBC and the NBC Sports app from 7:30am ET on Sunday.

Steve Torrence takes NHRA points lead with Gatornationals victory

NHRA Gainesville Steve Torrence
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Two-time defending NHRA Top Fuel champion Steve Torrence took the points lead Sunday in the AMALIE Motor Oil Gatornationals, beating his father, Billy, in the final round at Gainesville Raceway.

Torrence had a 3.809-second run at 322.11 mph to win for the third time this year and 39th overall. He is now on track for another championship despite missing the season opener.

“We’ve got some good momentum and to be in the points lead, it’s a testament to how hard these guys work,” Steve Torrence said after the NHRA Gainesville victory. “We’ve just got to stay focused and concentrate on what the task at hand is, and that’s trying to win a championship. These guys give me an unbelievable race car and you just try not to screw it up.”

Ron Capps won in Funny Car, Alex Laughlin in Pro Stock and Matt Smith in Pro Stock Motorcycle.

Capps raced to his second win this year and 66th overall, beating Tim Wilkerson with a 3.937 at 323.12 in a Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat.

Laughlin topped Aaron Stanfield with a 7.068 at 204.76 in a Chevrolet Camaro for his first win this season and fourth in his career. Smith rode to his first victory in 2020 and 25th overall, topping Andrew Hines with a 6.843 at 196.99 on an EBR.