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Rosberg admits to struggles in Mexico, calls Hamilton’s pole lap ‘brilliant’

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Nico Rosberg called Mercedes Formula 1 teammate and title rival Lewis Hamilton’s pole lap in Mexico Grand Prix qualifying “brilliant” before admitting he had been struggling for pace through the race weekend so far.

As Hamilton swept to pole with relative comfort, Rosberg left it late to rise up to second in Q3, having rarely featured towards the top of the timesheets before in the weekend.

The German said he was content with his performance and result in qualifying, albeit not overawed.

“Brilliant is two and a half tenths from Lewis?” Rosberg asked when his final lap in qualifying was called “brilliant”.

“Lewis’ lap was brilliant, not so much mine.

“I put it together when it counted in the end. I’m relatively pleased with that to definitely make sure I’m on the front row.

“Even though it’s not pole position, of course, it gives me a great chance tomorrow anyway.

“As we’ve seen this year, pole position isn’t everything on Sundays, so for sure there are still some opportunities.

“I’m going to try the best I can tomorrow and try and get that win in Mexico. That would be awesome.”

Rosberg can mathematically clinch his first F1 drivers’ title on Sunday should he win the race and Hamilton finish 10th or lower.

The Mexican Grand Prix is live on NBC and the NBC Sports app from 2:30pm ET on Sunday.

Zach Veach splits with Andretti Autosport for rest of IndyCar season

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Zach Veach will be leaving his Andretti Autosport ride with three races remaining in the season, choosing to explore options after the decision was made he wouldn’t return for 2021.

In a Wednesday release, Andretti Autosport said a replacement driver for the No. 26 Dallara-Honda would be named in the coming days. The NTT IndyCar Series will race Oct. 2-3 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and then conclude the season Oct. 25 on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida.

Veach was ranked 11th in the points standings through 11 races of his third season with Andretti. Since a fourth in the June 6 season opener at Texas Motor Speedway, he hadn’t finished higher than 14th.

“The decision was made that I will not be returning in 2021 with Andretti Autosport in the No. 26 Gainbridge car,” Veach said in the Andretti release. “This, along with knowing that limited testing exists for teams due to COVID, have led me to the decision to step out of the car for the remainder of the 2020 IndyCar season. I am doing this to allow the team to have time with other drivers as they prepare for 2021, and so that I can also explore my own 2021 options.

“This is the hardest decision I have ever made, but to me, racing is about family, and it is my belief that you take care of your family. Andretti Autosport is my family and I feel this is what is best to help us all reach the next step. I will forever be grateful to Michael and the team for all of their support over the years. I would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for a relationship that started many years ago with Road to Indy. I will also be forever grateful to Dan Towriss for his friendship and for the opportunity he and Gainbridge have given me.

“My love for this sport and the people involved is unmeasurable, and I look forward to continuing to be amongst the racing world and fans in 2021.”

Said team owner Michael Andretti: “We first welcomed Zach to the Andretti team back in his USF2000 days and have enjoyed watching him grow and evolve as a racer, and a person. His decision to allow us to use the last few races to explore our 2021 options shows the measure of his character.

“Zach has always placed team and family first, and we’re very happy to have had him as part of ours for so many years. We wish him the best in whatever 2021 may bring and will always consider him a friend.”

Andretti fields five full-time cars for Veach, Alexander Rossi, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Marco Andretti and Colton Herta.

It also has fielded James Hinchcliffe in three races this season.