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Verstappen banks runner-up finish in Red Bull Racing’s home race

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Spanish Grand Prix winner Max Verstappen has secured the second podium finish of his F1 career, and first off the top step of the podium with a runner-up finish in today’s Austrian Grand Prix.

It’s the best result yet for Red Bull Racing at its home track, the Red Bull Ring, because the last two years only saw two lower end points results. Daniel Ricciardo came eighth in 2014 and 10th last year; today the likable Australian made it two Red Bull TAG Heuers in the points with fifth place.

The 18-year-old Dutchman’s result was, to a degree, overshadowed by the drama at the front of the field with Mercedes AMG Petronas teammates Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton clashing on the final lap of the race, with Rosberg later receiving a time penalty and penalty points that did not change the result.

Anyway, Verstappen started in eighth and made it forward methodically over the course of the race. He, like others, ran a longer stint on Pirelli’s soft tires to finish and then defended well in the final few laps ahead of Kimi Raikkonen – as he had in Spain.

“Yeah, it was a great start and also a good first lap and straight away I could feel the pace was there in the car,” Verstappen said during the post-race press conference. “So I just moved up to the front and once I cleared some guys I just started to go into my own rhythm.

“The Mercedes cars at the moment are still a bit too quick, but yeah, I think everything was going quite well. I did a long stint on the soft tire and especially the last 10 laps, including with some traffic made it very hard. I could see Kimi behind me, he was catching up a lot.

“At the end to come home in second after what happened on the last lap is of course a bonus. Also, to finish here second, as a Red Bull driver at the Red Bull Ring, is a great feeling.”

Verstappen explained how the Barcelona defense helped him here to be able to do the same thing on the team’s home soil.

“As soon as I saw him in the mirrors I was thinking about Barcelona,” he said. “Only the problem was he was catching quite a lot now compared to Barcelona! He was there all the time and catching up a lot. I just tried to make no mistakes and at the end we kept him behind which of course is what we wanted. It was great for myself to be on the limit all the time until the end of the race.”

IndyCar teams with NASCAR on IMS road course doubleheader in 2021

IndyCar NASCAR doubleheader 2021
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The NTT IndyCar Series will be sharing Indianapolis Motor Speedway with the NASCAR Cup Series in a race weekend doubleheader for the second consecutive season, but both series will be on the road course in August 2021.

IMS announced Wednesday that IndyCar will hold an Aug. 14, 2021 race on its 14-turn, 2.439-mile road course. It’ll be a day before NASCAR’s premier series runs the same layout for the first time after the Brickyard 400 was contested on the 2.5-mile oval for the first time in 27 years.

This season’s rescheduling of the IndyCar GMR Grand Prix to July 4, 2019 (a day before the Brickyard 400) led to the first NASCAR-IndyCar doubleheader weekend. The Xfinity Series also raced on the IMS road course for the first time July 4 after the IndyCar race ended.

INDYCAR AT IMS THIS WEEKEND: Harvest GP schedule, entry lists

IndyCar will be holding its second race weekend this year at the IMS road course Friday and Saturday with the Harvest GP.

“Our first NASCAR-INDYCAR weekend was a big success last July, with positive feedback from
our loyal fans who watched the races on NBC and from the drivers, teams and participants
involved,” IMS president Douglas Boles said in a statement. “The Xfinity Series’ debut on the IMS road course provided exactly the kind of thrilling action from the green to checkered flags that we anticipated, so we know the teams and drivers of the Cup Series will put on a great show as they turn left and right for the first time at IMS.

“We can’t wait to welcome back fans to see NASCAR and INDYCAR together during this
exciting weekend as we add another memorable chapter in the long, storied history of the
Indianapolis Motor Speedway.”

It also will mark the first NASCAR Cup-IndyCar doubleheader with a crowd as fans weren’t permitted at IMS in July because of the novel coronvavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Over the course of Wednesday, NASCAR is releasing its 36-race slate for next season. IndyCar has yet to release its full 2021 schedule.