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Jones wins Indy Lights title on final lap in Monterey

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MONTEREY, Calif. – Ed Jones has won the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires championship following a final lap pass of Carlin teammate Felix Serralles for fourth place, which was enough to move him ahead of Santiago Urrutia (Schmidt Peterson Motorsports with Curb-Agajanian) unofficially by two points (363 to 361).

Jones ran behind Serralles nearly from the drop of the green flag following a ragged start that dropped him from first back to fifth, but once Serralles slowed exiting Turn 2 on the final lap and pulled to driver’s left on the course, Jones made it by for the position – which was enough to secure the $1 million Mazda advancement scholarship to advance into the Verizon IndyCar Series for a guaranteed three-race program.

The championship is the first in Indy Lights for the Dubai-based Brit and the first for Trevor Carlin’s team, both in their second seasons.

Up front, Zach Veach had another dynamic start for Belardi Auto Racing to vault from fourth to first by the start of the first completed lap, and secured his third win of the season.

Urrutia was second, just ahead of Kyle Kaiser, the Saturday winner. Then it was Jones in fourth and Serralles in fifth.

As in Watkins Glen, the start made the difference. Following a waved off first attempt for chaos in the midfield rows, Veach again rocketed from fourth up to first by Turn 4, to secure the lead.

Urrutia had moved into second behind Jones on the opening lap, which was waved off. But by the end of the first completed racing lap, Veach led Urrutia, Kaiser, Serralles and Jones, Jones having run wide through Turn 2 and losing a bunch of ground in the infield section. Behind them, Garett Grist spun at Turn 4 to bring out a full-course caution.

At this stage, Urrutia and Jones would have been tied on 361 points at their current running positions. Jones’ pole point was enough to bring him into a tie, but Urrutia’s wins number (four to two) would be the tiebreaker.

Urrutia was just 0.6 of a second up on Kaiser, who was keen to secure his second win in as many days. Behind them, Jones was trailing Serralles by about 0.8 of a second, but needed the position to move ahead on points. Jones also had to deal with Urrutia’s teammate, Andre Negrao, who ran just behind in sixth.

At Lap 10, Veach led Urrutia by 2.4949 seconds. Kaiser trailed Urruita by just six tenths, but was a further three seconds clear of Serralles, who was about a second ahead of Jones. Negrao fell slightly back from Jones.

Dean Stoneman’s tough weekend continued on Lap 16 when he ran wide off Turn 6 coming up the hill to the Corkscrew, and the Englishman lost two spots to fall from seventh to ninth.

By Lap 25 in the 38-lap race, Urrutia had gapped Kaiser enough to where that wasn’t a realistic scenario to lose that position.

With 10 laps to go on Lap 28, Veach led Urrutia by 5.2079 seconds, with Kaiser third. Serralles’ gap to Jones was 1.471 seconds.

The Serralles to Jones gap closed under a second on Lap 30 and to just 0.58 of a second by Lap 32.

And then the decisive moment happened on the 38th and final lap, when Serralles slowed exiting Turn 2 and Jones made it past on the outside of corner exit, and inside for Turn 3.

That netted Jones fourth place and enough to secure the title.

The race airs on NBCSN on Sept. 23, at 1:30 p.m. ET.

Valtteri Bottas takes pole position for season-opening Austrian GP

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SPIELBERG, Austria — Valtteri Bottas upstaged Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton to take pole position Saturday for the Formula One Austrian GP.

The Finnish driver edged out the world champion by 0.012 seconds to claim the top spot for the season opener at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg. He clenched his fist as he climbed out of his car and shared a hug with Hamilton.

“It’s something special when you push the car to the limit,” said Bottas, who is chasing an eighth career win. “Feels so good. It’s very impressive (from the team).”

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen was third, and Lando Norris gave McLaren a boost by finishing fourth. Verstappen has won the past two years here, including 2019 when he started third behind Hamilton and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc.

“It’s going to be interesting quite a bit warmer tomorrow and hopefully this will play to our advantage,” Verstappen said. “Today, Mercedes was on a different level, unfortunately. Last year we were also a little bit off in qualifying so I expect we will be a bit better in the race.”

Bottas had the leading time when drivers embarked on their final laps and beat his own mark before sliding off the track into the gravel.

Hamilton was chasing a record-extending 89th career pole. He was ahead but then dropped off slightly as Bottas secured a 12th career pole.

“Great job by Valtteri. It’s a great start to the season,” Hamilton said. “We show year on year that we continue to be the best team. We’re open-minded … constantly learning from each other and pushing the boundaries.”

Ferrari struggled for speed, with Leclerc nearly one second behind in seventh and Sebastian Vettel failing to make it into the third and final part of qualifying, known as Q3. He starts the race from 11th on the grid.

Vettel is leaving Ferrari at the end of the season with his future in F1 uncertain.

Earlier, Hamilton posted the fastest time in morning practice. The 35-year-old British driver was also quickest in both sessions on Friday.

Midway through third practice, F1 newcomer Nicholas Latifi misjudged the exit of a turn and spun his Williams car into a protective tire wall.