Mixed race for Mexican duo in home Grand Prix (VIDEO)

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Neither Sergio Perez nor Esteban Gutierrez enjoyed the Mexican Grand Prix they would have preferred, but still managed to excite their home crowd at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez.

Perez spent most of his race stuck behind the Williams duo of Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa, and with the top-end advantage of the cars in front of him, Perez was unable to get by.

The Sahara Force India driver eventually ended in 10th place, to keep his streak of consecutive points finishes alive to eight races and counting since the German Grand Prix in July.

“We knew before race, if there was one car we didn’t want to be fighting with, for position, it was a Williams,” Perez told NBCSN after the race. “We struggled a lot behind them. It was difficult to get them. We just spent the whole race behind. Nothing I could do to get them.”

MEXICO CITY, MEXICO - OCTOBER 30:  Sergio Perez of Mexico and Force India waves to the crowd on the drivers parade before the Formula One Grand Prix of Mexico at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez on October 30, 2016 in Mexico City, Mexico.  (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)
MEXICO CITY, MEXICO – OCTOBER 30: Sergio Perez of Mexico and Force India waves to the crowd on the drivers parade before the Formula One Grand Prix of Mexico at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez on October 30, 2016 in Mexico City, Mexico. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

Gutierrez’ race was less fruitful, starting 17th and finishing 19th on a weekend where Haas F1 Team struggled for performance from the off.

Gutierrez made it up to 12th early following a battle with Kevin Magnussen and Jenson Button, and after surviving once Pascal Wehrlein and Marcus Ericsson had collided. But despite switching late from mediums to softs, he was unable to make up ground to the finish.

“It was a difficult race. We had to take care a lot of the brakes. Braked almost 200m before. It wasn’t ideal,” Gutierrez told NBCSN.

But on the whole, Gutierrez was still pleased to take part in his first of what he hopes will be several home races.

“It was a very special, emotional moment in my career,” he added. “I am confident I will be back. We’re pushing all the way and we’ll find out more in the next two weeks.

“I wish we could have been able to deliver something better this weekend but, unfortunately, we were not able to this time. However, it was an amazing weekend – racing in my home country in front of all the Mexican people – and I really want to thank them because they’ve really made it a race to remember.”

MEXICO CITY, MEXICO – OCTOBER 30: Esteban Gutierrez of Mexico and Haas F1 on the drivers parade before the Formula One Grand Prix of Mexico at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez on October 30, 2016 in Mexico City, Mexico. (Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images)

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.