Perez hails P4 in Brazil as ‘big result’ despite losing podium late on

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Sergio Perez has called his fourth-place finish in Sunday’s Brazilian Grand Prix a “big result” despite missing out on a podium finish in the closing stages at Interlagos.

Perez made an ambitious strategy work to rise up to third place late on in Brazil in heavy rain, leaving Force India on the cusp of its third Formula 1 podium finish of the year.

However, an inspired charge from Max Verstappen in the closing stages saw the Red Bull driver take P3 away, leaving Perez to settle for fourth.

“What a fun but tense race today! It’s a shame to lose a podium place in the last two laps, but Max just had a different pace,” Perez said.

“He was the fastest on track and there was nothing I could do to keep him behind. Even though I am a bit disappointed, we can still celebrate a great race and an incredible result, especially considering the conditions we had out there today.

“Just getting to the finish line on a day like this feels like a victory, and to bring home fourth is a very important result. It was so easy to make mistakes; you risked aquaplaning at any moment – every time I crossed the finish line I had a breath of relief.

“It’s a big result, not only for me, but also for the team as it brings us important points for the battle for fourth place. A lot can still happen in Abu Dhabi, but we can be happy about this result.”

Force India now sits 27 points clear of closest-rival Williams in race for fourth place in the constructors’ championship with just 43 still to play for in Abu Dhabi.

Three-time W Series champ Jamie Chadwick joining Andretti in Indy NXT Series for 2023

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Jamie Chadwick, the three-time W Series champion, will drive for Andretti Autosport in the Indy NXT Series next season.

Chadwick will make her debut in an American racing series in March, driving the No. 28 for Andretti Autosport with sponsorship from DHL. The 24-year-old will become the first female driver in 13 years to compete full time in the Indy NXT championship.

Chadwick joined the female free-to-enter W Series in its inaugural 2019 season, winning two races and the first of three consecutive championships. She has been a reserve driver for the Williams Formula One team and will continue in that role in 2023. She also has driven in the Extreme E Series.

Despite her success, Chadwick hasn’t landed a bigger ride in F3 or F2, and her break didn’t come until Michael Andretti contacted her and offered a test in an Indy NXT car.

The final three races of this year’s W Series schedule were canceled when funding fell through, but Chadwick still believes the all-female series was the right path for her.

“W Series has always been and will continue to be an opportunity to be racing for every female driver, so for my side, I looked at it while perhaps I would have liked to step up maybe earlier, at the same time being able to have that chance to race, get that experience, have that development, seat time… I was constantly learning,” Chadwick told The Associated Press.

“In that sense, I wasn’t frustrated at all. But on the flip side of it, now I’ve had that experience testing in the United States in Indy NXT and this is something I’m really excited about.”

Chadwick also is expected to have an enhanced role as a development driver next season with Williams, which chose American driver Logan Sargeant to fill its open seat on next year’s F1 grid.

“Andretti Autosport is proud to be supporting Jamie alongside DHL,” said Michael Andretti. “Jamie’s successful career speaks for itself, but Indy NXT gives Jamie the opportunity to continue her development in a new type of racing.

“We’ve turned out five Indy NXT champions over the years and look forward to continuing our role in developing new talent.”

Indy NXT is the new name of the rebranded Indy Lights Series, the final step on the ladder system before IndyCar.

Andretti will field two drivers next season in IndyCar that were developed in Indy NXT: Kyle Kirkwood, the 2021 champion, will return to Andretti after one season in IndyCar driving for A.J. Foyt Racing, and Devlin DeFrancesco is back for a second season.

Chadwick will be teammates in Indy NXT with Hunter McElrea and Louis Foster. She becomes Andretti’s second full-time female driver alongside Catie Munnings, who competes for Andretti United in the Extreme E Series.