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Vettel relishing fight for Austria F1 victory in ‘phenomenal’ Ferrari

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Formula 1 championship leader Sebastian Vettel is confident of challenging for his first Austrian Grand Prix victory on Sunday, calling his Ferrari car “phenomenal” after qualifying second at the Red Bull Ring.

Vettel bounced back from a difficult Friday to top final practice on Saturday morning, and was just 0.042 seconds off pole-sitter Valtteri Bottas’ time for Mercedes, having lost his final run in Q3 due to yellow flags.

With F1 title rival Lewis Hamilton starting down in eighth after being hit with a grid penalty, Vettel is relishing an exciting race at the front of the pack as he bids to extend his 14-point advantage in the drivers’ standings.

“The car was really good, last qualifying also for the last run, but then it was a bit of anti-climax with the yellow flags,” Vettel said, reviewing his qualifying session.

“But yeah, very happy. It’s a great track, shame it’s a bit short but really enjoyable with a lot of high-speed corners.

“The car’s been really phenomenal so looking forward to tomorrow. I think we have to look after ourselves, do our own race.

“It will be a tough race with Valtteri. He’s been quick all weekend, also yesterday, setting a good pace, so we will see. I think it should be a good race.”

The Austrian Grand Prix is live on CNBC and the NBC Sports app from 7:30am ET on Sunday.

Reviewing Danica Patrick’s highs and lows at Indianapolis Motor Speedway

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So much of Danica Patrick’s fame can be traced to Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

It’s where she became a household name 13 years ago when she became the first woman to lead the Indianapolis 500 and emerged as a transcendent athlete.

It’s where everything started. This Sunday, it’s where everything will end, too.

In her last warmup before starting the final race of her career, Patrick had a bumpy final practice Friday on Carb Day. She was eighth fastest, but her Dallara-Chevrolet was in the garage most of the session because of an electrical problem in the engine. After returning during the final 10 minutes of the session, Patrick’s No. 13 seemed to be OK.

“At the end of the day, these are things you’re actually glad for, because if this had happened Sunday, we would have been done,” she said. “I’m glad to get the issues out of the way early on. Overall, today felt good. We made some changes when I went out the second time, and I’m feeling good about starting seventh on Sunday.”
Though she has had her share of success – along with a fourth in her debut, there was a third in 2009 and six top 10s in seven starts — Patrick has learned well how to handle frustration at the 2.5-mile track, too.

Fuel mileage might have kept her from winning her debut, a pit collision ruined 2008, and an unstable setup made 2010 a wild ride.

For a review of her up-and-down history at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and her legacy in racing, watch the video essay above that ran during Friday’s NASCAR America Motorsports Special on NBCSN.