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Vettel handed grid penalty for Japan after Rosberg clash

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Sebastian Vettel has been given a three-place grid penalty for next weekend’s Formula 1 race in Japan after causing a collision with Nico Rosberg at the start of Sunday’s Malaysian Grand Prix.

Vettel tried to move up into second place at the first corner at Sepang, diving down the inside of both Max Verstappen and Rosberg, only to hit both of them and send the Mercedes driver into a spin.

Rosberg was able to recover to finish third, while Vettel retired after the impact broke his front suspension and bent his front-left wheel.

Verstappen took to team radio to call Vettel an “idiot”, while Rosberg feared “it was all over” due to the severity of the impact.

The stewards announced that the incident would be investigated after the race, with Vettel making an appearance at their office on Sunday evening.

The panel looked dimly on Vettel’s move, handing him a three-place grid drop for next weekend’s race at Suzuka and two penalty points on his FIA super license.

“We had a good start, then I was going side by side with Max. We were both battling for position into turn one,” Vettel explained.

“Nico in the front was turning in and he obviously decided to pick his line, which is absolutely fair and in his right.

“At that point with the speed I had I couldn’t slow down anymore and I was also pushed by Max to the right. I did my best under braking but I couldn’t avoid the impact. It was an unfortunate chain reaction which ruined my race and Nico’s one.

“I can’t do more than apologize to Nico, because the accident had nothing to do with him being in front.

“I think it was different to the case in Spa with Max and Kimi, as Max and I were trying to fight for Turn 1, and Nico was trying to do a different thing ahead.

“I don’t have to comment on what Max said afterwards.”

Helio Castroneves ‘hustling’ for IndyCar, IMSA rides; talking with four to five teams

Helio Castroneves IMSA IndyCar
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As his season gathers steam, Helio Castroneves said his prospects for finding new rides for 2021 in IMSA and IndyCar also are gaining momentum.

The three-time Indianapolis 500 winner said Monday he is optimistic about landing in either or perhaps a combination of both series when Team Penske and Acura end their DPi partnership after this season.

“A lot of people I spoke with, four to five teams, are interested,” Castroneves said. “Whether it’s doing Indy 500 only, whether it’s pushing to do full time or do the sports cars as well. It’s been a very nice conversation.

LOOKING AHEADTeam Penske drivers seeking new rides for 2021

“I have a lot of respect for all the teams that have been talking, and I feel the same feedback. We just have to wait for their (sponsor) connections, and I’m also looking for some connections on my side as well, so hopefully we’ll be able to put this together and get something very soon.”

Given two decades of success with Penske in IndyCar and IMSA, Castroneves’ resume hardly needs burnishing. But the Brazilian has combined with co-driver Ricky Taylor in the No. 7 Acura DPi to win the past two overall victories at Road America and Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.

But Castroneves, who doesn’t have a manager, said he has been working the phones hard rather than wait for the strong results to bring in the calls.

“At this point, I feel like I’m the one who needs to be talking to them because people need to know I want to continue racing and understand my desire,” Castroneves, 45, said. “There is opportunity, no question, in both (IndyCar and IMSA), which I’m really happy about it. However, because of the COVID-19, a lot of things sometimes have to be a little delayed. But I’m excited. Whatever the opportunity and whatever destiny guides me, whether IndyCar or sports cars, trust me I’ll be as happy as it could be and doing my 100 percent like I always did.

“It’s like politics, you need to be out there, good news or bad news. People have to make notice of your presence. I’m hustling. I want to continue to keep it going. Hopefully, we’ll have good news very soon.”

The news has been all good lately on track for Castroneves and Taylor, who hope to continue their run Sunday at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

The No. 6 duo has surged to sixth in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship standings, 10 points out of the lead with four races remaining. After thinking there was “no hope” to be competitive after opening the season with three consecutive poor finishes, Taylor now sees an opportunity for a happy ending.

“With the program going away, Helio has won all the big races and given so much back to the team and left such a mark, he’s really part of Penske history,” Taylor said. “For me, it’s been an opportunity of a lifetime to be a part of it. I’d like to leave my little mark as well. Helio has won everything except for a championship.

“Obviously, we’ve won races already together, but we can win a championship now. I think if both of us can do that together and both win our first championship for ‘The Captain,’ that would be an absolute dream come true, and we can tie a bow on it and be happy.”