Verstappen: Rain could draw Red Bull closer to Mercedes

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Max Verstappen believes that rain in Sunday’s British Grand Prix could draw Red Bull closer to Mercedes at the front of the field at Silverstone.

Lewis Hamilton headed up a Mercedes one-two finish in qualifying on Saturday, with Verstappen finishing over one second behind the pole-sitter in third place.

“Today was especially a very good qualifying, I really enjoyed it,” Verstappen said after the session.

“The car was performing as it should be. I think we were strong compared to other competitors behind us.

“I can be very happy with P3, because those guys in qualifying, it seemed like [Mercedes] had a turbo button or something!

“P3 was definitely the best result possible for us today.”

However, the Dutchman thinks that some seasonal British rain could play into Red Bull’s hands at the head of the field.

“Hopefully we can maintain this position, it will be important to try and keep up and also keep fighting behind,” Verstappen said.

“If it rains we could be a lot closer to Mercedes but if not then we’ll try to just keep position and we will be very happy with that.”

Teammate Daniel Ricciardo qualified fourth in the second Red Bull RB12, but is anticipating a close fight with Ferrari on Sunday to follow the Mercedes drivers home.

“As a team result it was definitely important to get the second row lock-out. That was our target and we got that so I think we look good for tomorrow,” Ricciardo said.

“It’s cool to have both of us in front of the Ferraris. I knew this would be a pretty big fight with them here and we managed to at least fight the qualifying battle so we’ll try and keep them behind us in the race tomorrow.

“Obviously, I would have preferred third rather than being fourth but that’s how it is today and tomorrow we’ll aim to go better and as good as we can. It’s going to be cooler tomorrow and you never know what’s going to happen, but I think we’re pretty confident where we sit.

“The two Mercedes will probably fight at the front and behind them it should be a good battle. For sure Ferrari will give us a bit of a run for our money, so there is definitely that third spot up for grabs.

“You’ll definitely see a race tomorrow.”

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

Ganassi announces multiyear sponsorship extension with American Legion for No. 10

Chip Ganassi American Legion
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Chip Ganassi Racing announced a new primary sponsorship deal with The American Legion this week, shoring up the funding on its No. 10 Dallara-Honda of Alex Palou.

The 2021 NTT IndyCar Series champion primarily had driven with NTT Data sponsorship the past two seasons. But NTT Data will move next season to McLaren Racing as a primary sponsor for Felix Rosenqvist in 10 races and on the Indy 500 car of Tony Kanaan (who drove an American Legion car for Ganassi at the Brickyard last year).

It was the latest twist in a McLaren-Ganassi saga that included a contract dispute for the services of Palou (who is expected to move to McLaren in 2024 after reaching an agreement to race with Ganassi next year).

Ganassi stayed within its own walls to help plug the sponsorship gap left by NTT Data, re-signing The American Legion to a multiyear extension. The Indianapolis-based non-profit organization, which has been sponsoring Ganassi cars for the past few seasons, also will be associated with other Ganassi drivers, including Indy 500 winner Marcus Ericsson and development driver Kyffin Simpson in Indy NXT.

The Ganassi organization will continue promoting The American Legion’s “Be The One” campaign aimed at reducing veteran suicides. The team launched an online auction for the initiative this week.

“Supporting our nation’s veterans is of immense importance to our organization and we are humbled to continue supporting The American Legion’s mission in ending veteran suicide,” team owner Chip Ganassi said in a release. “We will do absolutely everything we can to help veterans get the support they need while raising public awareness of the ‘Be The One’ platform.”

“We have received an overwhelming amount of support from fans, active-duty military members and veterans as a result of this partnership and we’re pleased to see it grow,” said Dean Kessel, chief marketing officer at The American Legion. “Thanks to the continuous collaboration with the team’s other partners, and the promotion of the ‘Be The One’ initiative, we are discovering more ways to engage with the military community than ever before. We want all veterans to know that it’s okay to ask for help.”