Photo: Carlin Media

Colton Herta set for Indy Lights in Steinbrenner/Andretti linkup

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Talented 16-year-old teenager Colton Herta, son of Indianapolis 500-winning team owner Bryan Herta, will make his return Stateside in the 2017 Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires season.

The junior version of “Hertamania” has starred in Europe the last couple years with Carlin, and this year won four races in the EuroFormula Open championship. He has raced in the Mazda Road to Indy presented by Cooper Tires before, competing in all but one weekend of the 2014 Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda season. He missed the St. Petersburg weekend that year as he wasn’t 14 yet.

Now set to become one of the youngest drivers in Indy Lights history, Herta’s confirmation at Andretti Autosport is brought together following a linkup between the Andrettis and the Steinbrenner family.

The No. 98 Dallara IL-15 Mazda entry will be branded as a joint Andretti Autosport/Steinbrenner Racing effort, run by George Michael Steinbrenner IV, Hank Steinbrenner’s son and a grandson of longtime Yankees owner George Steinbrenner. Sean Jones, the youngest Steinbrenner’s stepdad, is a business partner of Bryan Herta’s, notably on the Bryan Herta Rallysport Red Bull Global Rallycross program.

“The Andrettis want to be partners with Steinbrenners; the Steinbrenners want to be partners with the Andrettis,” Hank Steinbrenner told the New York Times, in a piece which was first to announce the news this morning. “It’s a natural match.”

Herta completes Andretti’s expansion to a four-car lineup for 2017, along with previously announced teammates Dalton Kellett (No. 28), Nico Jamin (No. 27) and Ryan Norman (No. 48).

Valtteri Bottas wins chaotic season-opening F1 Austrian Grand Prix

Mark Thompson/Getty Images
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SPIELBERG, Austria — Valtteri Bottas won a chaotic season-opening F1 Austrian Grand Prix while six-time series champion Lewis Hamilton finished fourth after getting a late time penalty Sunday.

The Formula One race was interrupted three times by a safety car, and nine of 20 drivers abandoned, including both Red Bulls of Max Verstappen and Alexander Albon – who tried to overtake Hamilton on the outside with 10 laps left, touched wheels and flew off track.

Hamilton was given a 5-second time penalty for causing the collision, having earlier been hit with a three-place grid penalty after an incident in Saturday’s qualifying was reviewed by stewards.

SHOW OF SUPPORT: Drivers take knee before race

Bottas led all 71 laps in the eighth victory of his career. It was the second consecutive victory in the season opener for the Finn, though he won four months earlier in 2019 after this season’s start was delayed by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Lando Norris of McLaren F1 celebrates after his first podium finish (Mark Thompson/Getty Images).

Bottas started from pole position and Hamilton from fifth, but it looked like a straight fight between the two Mercedes drivers as has been the case so often in recent years.

But late drama in Spielberg ensured otherwise and Hamilton’s time penalty meant Charles Leclerc took second place for Ferrari, and Lando Norris sent McLaren’s garage into raptures – and threw all social distancing rules out of the window amid the euphoria – with third place.

It was the 20-year-old British driver’s first career podium, and his superb final lap was the fastest of a dramatic season opener.

Norris became the youngest British driver to secure a podium finish and the third-youngest ever in Formula One.

Valtteri Bottas leads Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton during the Formula One Grand Prix of Austria (Mark Thompson/Getty Images).