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Alonso stuns F1 paddock with P7 in Spain qualifying, calls it ‘a gift’

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Fernando Alonso pulled out one of the stand-out performances of the 2017 Formula 1 season so far by dragging his McLaren-Honda MCL32 car to seventh place on the grid for Sunday’s Spanish Grand Prix.

Alonso has endured a frustrating start to the 2017 season, failing to score any points amid ongoing problems with the Honda power unit that lacks both performance and reliability.

Alonso was sidelined early in practice and completed just a handful of laps on Friday, offering an ominous forecast for his home qualifying session.

However, the Spaniard managed to pull his usual trick of dragging the car far beyond its rightful position, taking seventh place on the grid in Barcelona, only trailing the Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull drivers.

“Running in the ovals, maybe I learned how to go quick on the straights as well!” Alonso joked, referring to his IndyCar test on May 3 ahead of his Indianapolis 500 run later this month.

“It was definitely a good qualifying, P7 is a gift so we will see what we can do tomorrow from here.

“This is a circuit which is difficult to overtake so we’ll try to get in position.”

This was his scenario on Friday, as noted.

IndyCar teams with NASCAR on IMS road course doubleheader in 2021

IndyCar NASCAR doubleheader 2021
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The NTT IndyCar Series will be sharing Indianapolis Motor Speedway with the NASCAR Cup Series in a race weekend doubleheader for the second consecutive season, but both series will be on the road course in August 2021.

IMS announced Wednesday that IndyCar will hold an Aug. 14, 2021 race on its 14-turn, 2.439-mile road course. It’ll be a day before NASCAR’s premier series runs the same layout for the first time after the Brickyard 400 was contested on the 2.5-mile oval for the first time in 27 years.

This season’s rescheduling of the IndyCar GMR Grand Prix to July 4, 2019 (a day before the Brickyard 400) led to the first NASCAR-IndyCar doubleheader weekend. The Xfinity Series also raced on the IMS road course for the first time July 4 after the IndyCar race ended.

INDYCAR AT IMS THIS WEEKEND: Harvest GP schedule, entry lists

IndyCar will be holding its second race weekend this year at the IMS road course Friday and Saturday with the Harvest GP.

“Our first NASCAR-INDYCAR weekend was a big success last July, with positive feedback from
our loyal fans who watched the races on NBC and from the drivers, teams and participants
involved,” IMS president Douglas Boles said in a statement. “The Xfinity Series’ debut on the IMS road course provided exactly the kind of thrilling action from the green to checkered flags that we anticipated, so we know the teams and drivers of the Cup Series will put on a great show as they turn left and right for the first time at IMS.

“We can’t wait to welcome back fans to see NASCAR and INDYCAR together during this
exciting weekend as we add another memorable chapter in the long, storied history of the
Indianapolis Motor Speedway.”

It also will mark the first NASCAR Cup-IndyCar doubleheader with a crowd as fans weren’t permitted at IMS in July because of the novel coronvavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Over the course of Wednesday, NASCAR is releasing its 36-race slate for next season. IndyCar has yet to release its full 2021 schedule.