Bottas escapes penalty, but not blame, for Verstappen, Raikkonen clash

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Valtteri Bottas, Kimi Raikkonen and Max Verstappen started third through fifth in today’s Spanish Grand Prix, but their races all were compromised as a result of a three-wide passing attempt off the start that went awry into Turn 1.

Both Bottas and Raikkonen got good starts with Raikkonen having done a better job to get to Bottas’ outside after the run to the tight, 90-degree right-hander that opens the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.

But worse for Raikkonen was that Verstappen had moved to Raikkonen’s outside, and once Bottas darted to the inside it was three-wide going into Turn 1.

Bottas knocked into Raikkonen, who then knocked into Verstappen. Both Raikkonen and Verstappen were done shortly thereafter, while Bottas went through without damage.

The race stewards investigated first the Raikkonen and Verstappen portion of the incident, and later Bottas’ role in it, but took no further action after the chain reaction contact.

It didn’t mean Bottas escaped blame, though, as both of last year’s top two finishers in Spain opted to blame the Russian Grand Prix winner for the contact.

“I think you could clearly see what happened. Valtteri hit Kimi, and it was difficult for Kimi to control the car,” Verstappen told NBCSN’s Will Buxton post-race. “Normally three cars (wide) is doable. If we didn’t touch, we would have given space in the next corner.

“It was a bit unfortunate. When you’re on the outside it’s tricky. I gave Kimi room on the inside but he got slammed into me. Last year I had a bit of luck and today was a bit unlucky.”

Raikkonen was, perhaps true to form, even more succinct about what happened from his vantage point.

“I got hit by Bottas, then my car went into Verstappen,” Raikkonen told Buxton.

Bottas didn’t have much to add later on, as he was more disappointed after his engine expired just past half distance, which cost him a likely third place finish and Mercedes key points in the Constructor’s Championship.

With these three drivers knocked out, it opened the door for Daniel Ricciardo to get on the podium in third place, albeit more than a minute behind Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel, who dominated the race between them and finished first and second.

Raikkonen at least had one small upside to his day, meeting a young Ferrari fan who was disappointed he got knocked out just after the start.

IndyCar releases schedule for 2023 season

IndyCar schedule 2023
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The NTT IndyCar Series’ 2023 schedule will feature the same number of races and tracks as this season with some minor reshuffling of dates.

IndyCar will open the 2023 season March 5 on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida, and will conclude Sept. 10 at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, California. The 107th Indy 500 will take place May 28 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The 17-race schedule will conclude with a stretch of eight races in the final nine weeks.

“The NTT IndyCar Series is on an impactful upward trajectory, making progress at a pace that befits our thrilling style of competition,” Penske Entertainment Corp. president and CEO Mark Miles said in a release. “The 2023 season provides an opportunity to further build on this trend, bringing our sport and its stars to more markets and households and reaching new consumers across the globe.”

There will be 15 events on NBC: 13 races (including six of the final seven) plus Indy 500 qualifying May 20-21. There also are three races on USA Network and the Toronto race exclusively on Peacock. All races on NBC and USA also will have live simulstreams on Peacock.

In partnership with NBC Sports, the 2022 IndyCar season was the most-watched in six years and the most-watched across NBC Sports on record. The 2022 season also was the most streamed season on record.

“We’re very excited for our 2023 NTT IndyCar Series schedule and to build on this past season’s viewership milestones,” NBC Sports vice president of programming Mike Perman said in a release. “In providing comprehensive coverage across NBC, Peacock and USA Network, NBC Sports is once again looking forward to telling the stories of these world-class drivers and this compelling series.”

Notable elements on the 2023 schedule:

–There will be the same balance of seven road course races, five street courses and five ovals.

–St. Pete will be the season opener for the 13th time.

–The Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix will move from Belle Isle to the streets of downtown.

–The NASCAR doubleheader weekend at the IMS road course will shift to mid-August.

–The World Wide Technology Raceway event will move from Saturday to Sunday.

Start times for the 2023 events will be announced at a later date.

Here’s the 2023 IndyCar schedule:


Date Race/Track Network/Platform
Sun., March 5 Streets of St. Petersburg NBC, Peacock
Sun., April 2 Texas Motor Speedway NBC, Peacock
Sun., April 16 Streets of Long Beach NBC, Peacock
Sun., April 30 Barber Motorsports Park NBC, Peacock
Sat., May 13 Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Road Course) NBC, Peacock
Sun., May 28 The 107th Indianapolis 500 NBC, Peacock
Sun., June 4 Streets of Detroit NBC, Peacock
Sun., June 18 Road America USA Network, Peacock
Sun., July 2 Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course USA Network, Peacock
Sun., July 16 Streets of Toronto Peacock
Sat., July 22 Iowa Speedway – Race 1 NBC, Peacock
Sun., July 23 Iowa Speedway – Race 2 NBC, Peacock
Sun., Aug. 6 Streets of Nashville NBC, Peacock
Sat., Aug. 12 Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Road Course) USA Network, Peacock
Sun., Aug. 27 World Wide Technology Raceway NBC, Peacock
Sun., Sept. 3 Portland International Raceway NBC, Peacock
Sun., Sept. 10 WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca NBC, Peacock

*dates and networks/platforms are subject to change