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Carlin breaks new ground in IndyCar with Chilton, Kimball

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Carlin is among the most accomplished racing operations you’ll find anywhere in the world. But, with the majority of their exploits being in Europe, and in junior series at that, many in the U.S. may not be familiar with their prowess.

A quick glance at their resume will reveal a small powerhouse of sorts. They currently compete in seven championships, five in Europe – the FIA Formula 2 Championship, FIA Formula 3 European Championship, F4 British Championship, and Euroformula Open Championship – and two in the U.S. – the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires (they’re not entered at St. Petersburg this weekend, but expectations are that they’ll grace the Indy Lights grid in more of a part-time capacity this year) and a new, two-car entry in the Verizon IndyCar Series with Max Chilton and Charlie Kimball.

Carlin has fielded entires for such notable drivers as Formula 1 champions Nico Rosberg and Sebastian Vettel, along with a number of other F1 stars, like Daniel Ricciardo and Kevin Magnussen. Even current IndyCar champion Josef Newgarden has raced with Carlin previously, along with the aforementioned Kimball and 2018 IndyCar rookie Robert Wickens.

Carlin has also won championships in European Formula 3, British Formula 4, and Indy Lights, and has taken victory at the prestigious Macau Grand Prix.

And now, they look to begin a new chapter in entering the Verizon IndyCar Series, their first venture in a headlining open wheel championship.

Both Chilton and Kimball, now IndyCar veterans entering their third and eighth seasons respectively, join the newly formed effort in hopes of quickly turning the program into an IndyCar frontrunner.

Max Chilton looks to start off on a high note with Carlin. Photo: IndyCar

“I have 100 percent confidence in what Carlin can do as a team, and I’m just glad to be back on board with them for the 2018 season,” said Chilton, who competed with Carlin in Indy Lights in 2015. “St. Pete is such a great street circuit that really offers top-notch racing for both the drivers and the fans, and it doesn’t hurt that the city itself is so welcoming. I’m looking forward to getting the No. 59 Gallagher Chevrolet back out on track in St. Pete and hopefully bringing a good result back to Carlin for their first Indy car race.”

Kimball, who joins Carlin after spending seven years with Chip Ganassi Racing, is also optimistic about their prospects ahead of the 2018 season and asserted that, if all goes according to plan, the team has all the potential to be up front from the getgo.

Charlie Kimball joins Carlin. Photo: IndyCar

“We had a few test days last week and while time is always limited, I think the No. 23 Tresiba Chevrolet will be in the mix once we hit the track this weekend,” Kimball detailed. “I’ve set high expectations for myself, and I know (team principal) Trevor (Carlin) and the team didn’t join the Verizon IndyCar Series just to make up the numbers-they want to win, too.”

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Valtteri Bottas takes pole position for season-opening Austrian GP

Leonhard Foeger/Pool via Getty Images
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SPIELBERG, Austria — Valtteri Bottas upstaged Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton to take pole position Saturday for the Formula One Austrian GP.

The Finnish driver edged out the world champion by 0.012 seconds to claim the top spot for the season opener at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg. He clenched his fist as he climbed out of his car and shared a hug with Hamilton.

“It’s something special when you push the car to the limit,” said Bottas, who is chasing an eighth career win. “Feels so good. It’s very impressive (from the team).”

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen was third, and Lando Norris gave McLaren a boost by finishing fourth. Verstappen has won the past two years here, including 2019 when he started third behind Hamilton and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc.

“It’s going to be interesting quite a bit warmer tomorrow and hopefully this will play to our advantage,” Verstappen said. “Today, Mercedes was on a different level, unfortunately. Last year we were also a little bit off in qualifying so I expect we will be a bit better in the race.”

Bottas had the leading time when drivers embarked on their final laps and beat his own mark before sliding off the track into the gravel.

Hamilton was chasing a record-extending 89th career pole. He was ahead but then dropped off slightly as Bottas secured a 12th career pole.

“Great job by Valtteri. It’s a great start to the season,” Hamilton said. “We show year on year that we continue to be the best team. We’re open-minded … constantly learning from each other and pushing the boundaries.”

Ferrari struggled for speed, with Leclerc nearly one second behind in seventh and Sebastian Vettel failing to make it into the third and final part of qualifying, known as Q3. He starts the race from 11th on the grid.

Vettel is leaving Ferrari at the end of the season with his future in F1 uncertain.

Earlier, Hamilton posted the fastest time in morning practice. The 35-year-old British driver was also quickest in both sessions on Friday.

Midway through third practice, F1 newcomer Nicholas Latifi misjudged the exit of a turn and spun his Williams car into a protective tire wall.