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Hamilton ‘deflated’ after shock Q2 exit, will start 13th in Monaco

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Lewis Hamilton felt “deflated” after recording his worst Formula 1 qualifying result in Monaco since 2009 by finishing 14th in Saturday’s session.

Hamilton struggled to manage his tire temperature throughout practice in Monaco, which carried over through to qualifying as the Briton abandoned his first Q2 run.

Following a short wait in the pits after being called to the FIA weighbridge, Hamilton ventured out for a second three-lap run in the final few minutes of Q2.

Traffic forced Hamilton to abandon his initial effort before working up a final flying lap that was projected to get him through to Q3, only for yellow flags shown for Stoffel Vandoorne’s crashed McLaren at the exit of Swimming Pool to prevent any improvements.

This all left Hamilton 14th and out in Q2, although he will gain one place on the grid by virtue of Jenson Button’s grid penalty.

“I really struggled with the car today and I just don’t think the opportunity was quite there for me,” Hamilton said.

“It was a little bit unfortunate with the yellow flag, but it doesn’t really matter now if I could have gone faster.

“I think that lap may have just got me into the top 10 but I would have struggled to make it into the top five with the pace that I had.”

Hamilton admitted he was perplexed by his struggles compared to Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas, who qualified third and was just 0.045 seconds shy of pole-sitter Kimi Raikkonen’s time.

“Valtteri didn’t have any struggles today so I’m a bit confused and I can’t pinpoint the problem at the moment. I’m feeling pretty deflated right now but I’ll try again tomorrow,” Hamilton said.

“It’s great that Valtteri extracted a good lap. We just need to identify why I wasn’t able to be up there too. Onwards and upwards.”

The Monaco Grand Prix is live on NBC from 7:30am ET on Sunday, with F1 Countdown starting on NBCSN and the NBC Sports app from 7am ET.

Zach Veach splits with Andretti Autosport for rest of IndyCar season

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Zach Veach will be leaving his Andretti Autosport ride with three races remaining in the season, choosing to explore options after the decision was made he wouldn’t return for 2021.

In a Wednesday release, Andretti Autosport said a replacement driver for the No. 26 Dallara-Honda would be named in the coming days. The NTT IndyCar Series will race Oct. 2-3 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and then conclude the season Oct. 25 on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida.

Veach was ranked 11th in the points standings through 11 races of his third season with Andretti. Since a fourth in the June 6 season opener at Texas Motor Speedway, he hadn’t finished higher than 14th.

“The decision was made that I will not be returning in 2021 with Andretti Autosport in the No. 26 Gainbridge car,” Veach said in the Andretti release. “This, along with knowing that limited testing exists for teams due to COVID, have led me to the decision to step out of the car for the remainder of the 2020 IndyCar season. I am doing this to allow the team to have time with other drivers as they prepare for 2021, and so that I can also explore my own 2021 options.

“This is the hardest decision I have ever made, but to me, racing is about family, and it is my belief that you take care of your family. Andretti Autosport is my family and I feel this is what is best to help us all reach the next step. I will forever be grateful to Michael and the team for all of their support over the years. I would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for a relationship that started many years ago with Road to Indy. I will also be forever grateful to Dan Towriss for his friendship and for the opportunity he and Gainbridge have given me.

“My love for this sport and the people involved is unmeasurable, and I look forward to continuing to be amongst the racing world and fans in 2021.”

Said team owner Michael Andretti: “We first welcomed Zach to the Andretti team back in his USF2000 days and have enjoyed watching him grow and evolve as a racer, and a person. His decision to allow us to use the last few races to explore our 2021 options shows the measure of his character.

“Zach has always placed team and family first, and we’re very happy to have had him as part of ours for so many years. We wish him the best in whatever 2021 may bring and will always consider him a friend.”

Andretti fields five full-time cars for Veach, Alexander Rossi, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Marco Andretti and Colton Herta.

It also has fielded James Hinchcliffe in three races this season.