Big wreck collects Hinchcliffe, Vautier, and more in Texas (VIDEO)

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The Rainguard Water Sealers 600 from Texas Motor Speedway has been red flagged 154 laps in due to a huge pileup involving several cars in turns three and four.

James Hinchcliffe, running in the top five at the time, was pinched in between Tony Kanaan and teammate Mikhail Aleshin entering turn three and broke loose. While he tried correcting it, he collected Aleshin and Tristan Vautier, with all three cars impacting the outside wall.

In the aftermath, Carlos Munoz, Ed Jones, Ed Carpenter, JR Hildebrand, and Ryan Hunter-Reay were all caught up trying to avoid the wreck.

GANASSI, HINCHCLIFFE AND ALESHIN WEIGH IN

Kanaan’s team owner Chip Ganassi offered this viewpoint to NBCSN’s Katie Hargitt: “(Hinchcliffe) crashed in the pit lane (early in the race), he stuck his nose in that situation, why didn’t (he) stay right there? Instead he gets pushed into Tony.”

A frustrated Hinchcliffe told NBCSN’s Marty Snider that Kanaan moved up into him entering turn three. “I got a run off turn 2, (Kanaan) comes over, 2.5 car widths, he drives me straight into Mikhail. We were 3-wide. Spotter didn’t tell him, or he didn’t care. He usually doesn’t race like that,” he explained.

Told by Snider that Ganassi blamed Hinchcliffe, the Canadian promptly retorted, “That’s adorable.”

Aleshin, who was on the outside, explained that he felt like an innocent bystander. “I thought we’d all stay together. But then James touched with Kanaan and basically we all crashed. I thought we’d make it in three lines. James was there, Kanaan was there, and I didn’t understand what was going on. I gave space to them,” he told NBCSN’s Robin Miller.

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In total, only 11 cars are left running following the wreck, and a visibly frustrated Dale Coyne, who saw both of his cars (Vautier and Jones) caught up in the accident, was seen having words with Tony Kanaan about the incident during the red flag.

Both Ed Carpenter Racing crews were trying to repair their Nos. 20 and 21 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet. Here were Carpenter’s and JR Hildebrand’s quotes.

Hildebrand: “Hinch got stuck in the middle. A few guys got three-wide. Two of the three ended in the wall. I was right behind Ed Jones. He jammed on the brakes. We were running so close. Even we broke at same time I had mad aero wash. We had a great second stint. The Fuzzy’s Vodka car was working great. I’m totally confident we would have hauled it back to the front.”

Carpenter: “For as big of a crash at it was it wasn’t that bad. We’ll try to pick up a few points and pass a few cars. It was a wild night.”

Both Dale Coyne Racing cars were taken out. Here was Tristan Vautier and Ed Jones’ comments:

Vautier: “There was nothing I could do. They tangled in front of me. It’s just a bummer. We could have fought for the win. I wanted to finish the race for my return. I raced hard. I wanted a solid finish. I’m kind of pissed off. I think we can be proud. We represented Seb well.”

Jones: “I got hit from the rear. I had so much fun out there. But some others didn’t respect the others, and that’s what caused the incident.”

Ryan Hunter-Reay and Carlos Munoz were also involved in the accident for Andretti Autosport and AJ Foyt Racing.

Hunter-Reay: “I don’t know what I have to do. We spent the rest of the night trying to claw back. We missed the equation. This deal happened. Guys made too many moves late into the car. I’ll save my opinion after I look at it but sparks everywhere, I high-sided and came out a passenger from there. You can’t jump on the brakes in these cars 220 into the corner. I like it when races come down to handling. Lot of crazy moves. I was having fun.”

 

Munoz: “We were in the top 10, but needed a bit more speed. What can we say. We started last because we missed tech. I wanted to give a good race for my mechanics. It’s the most competitive car we’ve had this season. We kept running with the front guys. In ovals, when you have a multiple car crash, there’s nothing you can do.”

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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).