Max Verstappen dares and delights with charge to third in Brazilian GP

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Max Verstappen turned in one of the finest performances of his Formula 1 career so far by fighting through to third place in Sunday’s Brazilian Grand Prix.

Verstappen, 19, qualified fourth at Interlagos, but made an excellent start in wet conditions to pass both Kimi Raikkonen and Nico Rosberg in the opening stages.

The Dutchman somehow kept his car out of the wall despite spinning at over 150 mph heading onto the main straight, as well as ensuring he did not lose a position to Rosberg behind.

Through red flags and safety cars, Verstappen remained a threat up front, but a heavy rain shower with 28 laps to go forced him to pit for wet tires and drop down the order.

Verstappen was undeterred, though, producing one of the finest recovery drives in recent F1 history by finding grip in places where other drivers seemed to be struggling to keep in a straight line.

This supreme confidence allowed Verstappen to rise all the way up to third place at the checkered flag, as well as bagging the fastest lap of the race.

“It was an incredible race,” Verstappen said on the podium after the race.

“With the red flags, difficult conditions, especially the last straight, really slippery. On the final restart I managed to overtake Nico and I was in quite a comfortable position over there.

“Then I had a massive moment. I clipped the curb, locked all four wheels, managed to keep it out of guardrail. Continued still in second.

“Then we decided to pit for intermediates but unfortunately it started to rain afterwards so it didn’t work out. Then I was like 14th or 15th.

“Then had some great overtakes so to be on the podium is of course amazing. I couldn’t see. I had to take another line!”

The result sees Verstappen move to within five points of Sebastian Vettel in the drivers’ championship, giving him a chance to beat the four-time world champion to fourth in the final standings.

IndyCar disappointed by delay of video game but aiming to launch at start of 2024

IndyCar video game 2024

An IndyCar executive said there is “absolutely” disappointment that its long-awaited video game recently was delayed beyond its target date, but the series remains optimistic about the new title.

“Well, I don’t know how quick it will be, but the whole situation is important to us,” Penske Entertainment president and CEO Mark Miles said during a news conference Monday morning to announce IndyCar’s NTT title sponsorship. “Motorsport Games has spent a lot of money, a lot of effort to create an IndyCar title. What we’ve seen of that effort, which is not completely obvious, is very reassuring.

“I think it’s going to be outstanding. That’s our shared objective, that when it is released, it’s just widely accepted. A great credit both to IndyCar racing, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, something that our fans love.”

In June 2021, IndyCar announced a new partnership with Motorsport Games to create and distribute an IndyCar video game for the PC and Xbox and PlayStation consoles in 2023.

But during an earnings call last week, Motorsport Games said the IndyCar game had been delayed to 2024 to ensure high quality.

Somewhat compounding the delay is that IndyCar’s license for iRacing expired after the end of the 2022 season because of its exclusive agreement with Motorsport Games.

That’s resulted in significant changes for IndyCar on iRacing, which had provided a high-profile way for the series to stay visible during its 2020 shutdown from the pandemic. (Players still can race an unbranded car but don’t race on current IndyCar tracks, nor can they stream).

That’s helped ratchet up the attention on having a video game outlet for IndyCar.

“I wish we had an IndyCar title 10 years ago,” said Miles, who has been working with the organization since 2013. “We’ve been close, but we’ve had these I think speed bumps.”

IndyCar is hopeful the Motorsports Game edition will be ready at the start of 2024. Miles hinted that beta versions could be unveiled to reporters ahead of the time “to begin to show the progress in a narrow way to make sure we’ve got it right, to test the progress so that we’re ready when they’re ready.”

It’s been nearly 18 years since the release of the most recent IndyCar video game for console or PC.

“(We) better get it right,” Miles said. “It’s something we’re very close to and continue to think about what it is to make sure we get it over the line in due course.”