Getty Images

Ocon ‘a little disappointed’ to miss Monza podium, settles for P6

Leave a comment

Esteban Ocon admitted to feeling “a little disappointed” not to have finished Sunday’s Italian Grand Prix on the podium, but felt sixth place was the maximum he could achieve for Force India against the quicker Formula 1 teams.

Ocon made a splash in a wet qualifying session at Monza by clinching third place on the grid, lining up behind Lewis Hamilton and Lance Stroll.

A good getaway saw Ocon pass Stroll into Turn 1, but he was slowly pulled back through the race as Valtteri Bottas, Sebastian Vettel, Daniel Ricciardo and Kimi Raikkonen all battled past.

Ocon led a close train including Stroll, Felipe Massa and Sergio Perez to the finish, clinching sixth place and matching his second-best result of the season.

“I really enjoyed the race and I’m happy with our performance. At the same time I’m a little disappointed because I really wanted to finish on the podium today,” Ocon admitted.

“But you have to be realistic and we didn’t have the pace to match Mercedes and Ferrari, so I think sixth place was the maximum we could achieve.

“At one stage we were racing against Raikkonen and I thought we could keep him behind, but he was just too quick. I also had a good battle with Stroll for most of the race and I had to work hard to keep him behind me.

“With the strong qualifying yesterday and the sixth place today, it’s been a great weekend. I have to say a big thanks to the whole team for all their hard work and for giving me such a competitive car.”

The result saw Ocon continue his impressive record of having finish every F1 race he has started, as well as moving to within three points of teammate Sergio Perez in the drivers’ standings.

Zach Veach splits with Andretti Autosport for rest of IndyCar season

Gregory Shamus/Getty Images
1 Comment

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.