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Rosberg ‘in the best position to judge’ Hamilton/Vettel F1 clash

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2016 Formula 1 world champion Nico Rosberg offered his thoughts on the clash between current title rivals Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton in Baku, believing himself to be in the “best position” to pass judgment.

Rosberg fought Mercedes teammate Hamilton for the drivers’ championship in 2014, 2015 and 2016, eventually claiming his first crown last year before retiring from F1.

Rosberg and Hamilton enjoyed a tense relationship that saw their rivalry spill over with on-track clashes on a number of occasions, contrasting the early stages of this year’s title battle that – until Baku, when the pair collided behind the safety car – seemed cordial.

Vettel accused Hamilton of brake testing him and slowing deliberately behind the safety car that meant they touched and reacted by swiping towards him, causing contact. Vettel was penalized in the race and could be penalized further by the FIA.

Rosberg appeared at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in England on Sunday, taking part in a public interview with ex-F1 driver Mark Webber, who asked if he had watched the race.

After confirming he’d watched the race, Rosberg quickly asked: “So what was your opinion on that one, Mark? Who was to blame, Lewis or Sebastian? Be honest now…”

Webber said it was “very easy”, pinning the blame on Vettel before asking Rosberg for his thoughts.

“My opinion? I’m German. I’ve got to be careful now…” Rosberg joked, before giving his view on Hamilton’s alleged brake test.

“It’s pretty simple. To be honest, I’m the guy who knows Lewis best in the whole of the racing industry, so I think I’m in the best position to judge it.

“For sure he didn’t do that on purpose, definitely.”

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.