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No further action from stewards over Verstappen-Bottas incident

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Max Verstappen has kept his second-place starting position for Sunday’s Mexican Grand Prix after the Formula 1 stewards in Mexico opted to take no further action over an alleged block on Valtteri Bottas during qualifying.

Verstappen backed off during a lap at the start of Q3 in order to find a gap and work his tires, moving to the left-hand side of the circuit heading into the Foro Sol stadium section of the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez.

Mercedes’ Bottas remained on a flying lap and came across Verstappen, peeling to the right-hand side of the circuit as per the racing line before locking up and going deep at the next corner.

Bottas immediately returned to the pits, feeling Verstappen had ruined his lap, and the stewards quickly confirmed they would be investigating the Red Bull driver after the session.

Verstappen made clear talking to NBCSN after qualifying he felt he had done nothing wrong, and was soon whisked away to state his case before the FIA stewards in Mexico.

After hearing from Verstappen and Bottas, the stewards confirmed they would be taking no action over the incident, leaving the result from qualifying intact.

“The driver of Car 33 was clearly aware from the team radio and using his mirrors that Car 77 was approaching on a hot lap,” a statement from the stewards reads.

“He moved from the racing line on the exit of Turn 12 to avoid impeding Car 77. The driver of Car 33 did move slowly from the racing line which could have affected Car 77, but the stewards do not consider this as impeding.”

Helio Castroneves ‘hustling’ for IndyCar, IMSA rides; talking with four to five teams

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As his season gathers steam, Helio Castroneves said his prospects for finding new rides for 2021 in IMSA and IndyCar also are gaining momentum.

The three-time Indianapolis 500 winner said Monday he is optimistic about landing in either or perhaps a combination of both series when Team Penske and Acura end their DPi partnership after this season.

“A lot of people I spoke with, four to five teams, are interested,” Castroneves said. “Whether it’s doing Indy 500 only, whether it’s pushing to do full time or do the sports cars as well. It’s been a very nice conversation.

LOOKING AHEADTeam Penske drivers seeking new rides for 2021

“I have a lot of respect for all the teams that have been talking, and I feel the same feedback. We just have to wait for their (sponsor) connections, and I’m also looking for some connections on my side as well, so hopefully we’ll be able to put this together and get something very soon.”

Given two decades of success with Penske in IndyCar and IMSA, Castroneves’ resume hardly needs burnishing. But the Brazilian has combined with co-driver Ricky Taylor in the No. 7 Acura DPi to win the past two overall victories at Road America and Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.

But Castroneves, who doesn’t have a manager, said he has been working the phones hard rather than wait for the strong results to bring in the calls.

“At this point, I feel like I’m the one who needs to be talking to them because people need to know I want to continue racing and understand my desire,” Castroneves, 45, said. “There is opportunity, no question, in both (IndyCar and IMSA), which I’m really happy about it. However, because of the COVID-19, a lot of things sometimes have to be a little delayed. But I’m excited. Whatever the opportunity and whatever destiny guides me, whether IndyCar or sports cars, trust me I’ll be as happy as it could be and doing my 100 percent like I always did.

“It’s like politics, you need to be out there, good news or bad news. People have to make notice of your presence. I’m hustling. I want to continue to keep it going. Hopefully, we’ll have good news very soon.”

The news has been all good lately on track for Castroneves and Taylor, who hope to continue their run Sunday at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

The No. 6 duo has surged to sixth in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship standings, 10 points out of the lead with four races remaining. After thinking there was “no hope” to be competitive after opening the season with three consecutive poor finishes, Taylor now sees an opportunity for a happy ending.

“With the program going away, Helio has won all the big races and given so much back to the team and left such a mark, he’s really part of Penske history,” Taylor said. “For me, it’s been an opportunity of a lifetime to be a part of it. I’d like to leave my little mark as well. Helio has won everything except for a championship.

“Obviously, we’ve won races already together, but we can win a championship now. I think if both of us can do that together and both win our first championship for ‘The Captain,’ that would be an absolute dream come true, and we can tie a bow on it and be happy.”