Heat gets to some drivers at sun-soaked Hungarian Grand Prix

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BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) Daniel Ricciardo described Max Verstappen’s driving as “amateur” after his Red Bull teammate knocked him out of the Hungarian Grand Prix, while two other drivers were involved in a post-race feud on Sunday.

With the asphalt track temperatures well over 50 degrees Celsius (122 Fahrenheit), the heat in Hungary seemingly got to some drivers.

German driver Nico Hulkenberg was also unhappy with Danish driver Kevin Magnussen.

With less than 10 laps to go, Hulkenberg tried to overtake him on the outside but Magnussen – who earlier this week was openly critical of three-time F1 champion Lewis Hamilton’s driving during practice – shunted Hulkenberg into the grass.

“I’m all for hard racing but he was just ruthless by pushing me off track,” Hulkenberg said.

They then argued in front of the television cameras in the media area after the race, with Hulkenberg labeling him “nasty” and Magnussen aiming a profane retort back at the Renault driver.

At least those two are on different teams and don’t have to spend any time with each other.

Verstappen, who last season drew stern criticism from Ferrari drivers Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen for his somewhat reckless style, knocked Ricciardo out of the race on Turn 2 of the first lap.

Verstappen swerved into him left-to-right when going wide on the exit from a turn.

“That was amateur to say the least,” an irate Ricciardo told broadcaster Sky Sports afterward.

Verstappen, who at 19 years old is seen as the future star of the sport, seems to be more aware of his limitations these days.

While last season he was unapologetic over his daring, sometimes abrasive driving style, he seems more mature this season.

Ricciardo earned no points on Sunday. But he did earn something rare in F1: an apology from Verstappen.

“It is never my intention to hit anyone, but especially not your teammate. Especially with the relationship I have with Daniel, it’s always really good and we can always have a laugh,” he said. “I apologize to Daniel for that and also to the team because we could have scored some good points here.”

At least they will seemingly head into the summer break on better terms.

“I’ll speak with Daniel in private and we’ll sort it out,” said Verstappen, who finished the race in fifth and is sixth overall in the standings.

Ricciardo is fourth, with five podium finishes in the past seven races.

“It was pleasing to see Max put his hand up and immediately apologize,” Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said. “We all move on.”

The next race, after a month-long break, is the Belgian GP in Spa, nestled in the Ardennes forest.

At least temperatures there will be somewhat cooler.

AJ Foyt Racing promotes Benjamin Pedersen from Indy Lights to IndyCar for 2023 season

Benjamin Pedersen AJ Foyt
AJ Foyt Racing
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Benjamin Pedersen is the first driver to land a promotion from Indy Lights into IndyCar for next season as AJ Foyt Racing confirmed Wednesday he’ll be part of its 2023 lineup.

Pedersen, a 23-year-old dual citizen of Denmark and the United States, spent last season running the full Indy Lights schedule for HMD Motorsports. Linus Lundqvist, his teammate, won the Lights title, and Pedersen finished fifth in the final standings. Pedersen earned his only win earlier this month when he led every lap from the pole at Portland.

Pedersen also ran four races for HMD in 2021 with back-to-back runner-up finishes in his debut. Pedersen landed on AJ Foyt Racing team president Larry Foyt’s radar through a “trusted colleague” and Pedersen spent most of last season shadowing the IndyCar team.

His promotion to IndyCar comes ahead of all four drivers who finished ahead of him in the Indy Lights standings, including champion Lundqvist.

“We are really looking forward to having Benjamin as part of the team,” Larry Foyt said. “His enthusiasm is infectious, and he is 100 percent committed to IndyCar, AJ Foyt Racing, and doing the best he can to win races.

“It’s been great to have him embedded with the team this past season, and everyone is excited to hit the ground running when testing begins. It is also great to have a multi-year program in place, which will help him and the team grow together.”

Foyt did not announce a car number for Pedersen. Kyle Kirkwood spent his rookie season driving AJ Foyt’s flagship No. 14 but Kirkwood is moving to Andretti Autosport. The team has not yet announced if Dalton Kellett will return for a fourth season, and a third car for Tatiana Calderon was pulled from competition after seven races because of sponsorship non-payment. Shutting down Calderon’s team removed the only semi-regular female driver from the IndyCar field.

Pedersen, however, was signed to an agreement Foyt said “spans multiple seasons as the team plans to develop the young rookie and is aligned to a longer-term plan for AJ Foyt Racing.”

Pedersen was born in Copenhagen but raised in Seattle and currently lives in Indianapolis. He said his time shadowing the IndyCar team has given him a jump on his rookie preparations.

“I’ve spent a lot of time this season with AJ Foyt Racing learning the ins and outs of making the jump to IndyCar and it’s been really nice to do that in conjunction with my Indy Lights season,” Pedersen said. “IndyCar has been my target goal since I started open wheel racing in 2016. The racing, atmosphere, fans, events, tracks, etc. are all awesome.”