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Losing Spa podium late on ‘a big disappointment’ for Bottas

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Mercedes Formula 1 driver Valtteri Bottas was left disappointed after dropping from third to fifth place in the closing stages of Sunday’s Belgian Grand Prix, losing more ground in the drivers’ championship in the process.

Bottas had been sitting third after the sole expected round of pit stops was completed at Spa, only for a safety car period to prompt the leaders to come in for a second change of tires.

The Finn struggled to get heat into his fresh soft Pirellis, causing him to lose traction out of La Source on the restart and miss out on some straight-line speed for the Kemmel Straight.

As a result, both Daniel Ricciardo and Kimi Raikkonen were able to fly past, dropping Bottas to fifth where he remained to the end of the race.

“Today’s race and result were a big disappointment. It’s been an all-around difficult weekend for me,” Bottas conceded after the race.

“It would have been nice to at least be on the podium and score good points for us as a team. After the Safety Car restart I was on the soft tires, but the guys who overtook me were on the ultra-softs. I was on the back foot, struggled with grip and could not fight them.

“In the race the softs are working well for us, but during a Safety Car restart there’s always a risk that other guys might have softer compounds. In a normal race we would have had an optimal tire strategy.

“This has been the most difficult weekend for me, so I need to learn a lot from it because I wasn’t quick enough.

“I need to analyze my mistakes quickly, and then hopefully come back stronger next week in Monza.”

Bottas now trails Sebastian Vettel by 41 points at the top of the drivers’ championship standings, the biggest the gap has been since June’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

IndyCar teams with NASCAR on IMS road course doubleheader in 2021

IndyCar NASCAR doubleheader 2021
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The NTT IndyCar Series will be sharing Indianapolis Motor Speedway with the NASCAR Cup Series in a race weekend doubleheader for the second consecutive season, but both series will be on the road course in August 2021.

IMS announced Wednesday that IndyCar will hold an Aug. 14, 2021 race on its 14-turn, 2.439-mile road course. It’ll be a day before NASCAR’s premier series runs the same layout for the first time after the Brickyard 400 was contested on the 2.5-mile oval for the first time in 27 years.

This season’s rescheduling of the IndyCar GMR Grand Prix to July 4, 2019 (a day before the Brickyard 400) led to the first NASCAR-IndyCar doubleheader weekend. The Xfinity Series also raced on the IMS road course for the first time July 4 after the IndyCar race ended.

INDYCAR AT IMS THIS WEEKEND: Harvest GP schedule, entry lists

IndyCar will be holding its second race weekend this year at the IMS road course Friday and Saturday with the Harvest GP.

“Our first NASCAR-INDYCAR weekend was a big success last July, with positive feedback from
our loyal fans who watched the races on NBC and from the drivers, teams and participants
involved,” IMS president Douglas Boles said in a statement. “The Xfinity Series’ debut on the IMS road course provided exactly the kind of thrilling action from the green to checkered flags that we anticipated, so we know the teams and drivers of the Cup Series will put on a great show as they turn left and right for the first time at IMS.

“We can’t wait to welcome back fans to see NASCAR and INDYCAR together during this
exciting weekend as we add another memorable chapter in the long, storied history of the
Indianapolis Motor Speedway.”

It also will mark the first NASCAR Cup-IndyCar doubleheader with a crowd as fans weren’t permitted at IMS in July because of the novel coronvavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Over the course of Wednesday, NASCAR is releasing its 36-race slate for next season. IndyCar has yet to release its full 2021 schedule.