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Formula 1: Vettel takes third straight pole of 2018

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For the third straight race of the 2018 FIA Formula 1 World Championship season, Scuderia Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel will start on the pole.

Vettel’s quick lap during Q3 of 1:41.498 was set on his first run, and although he could not better it on his next run – he locked up the brakes in the first sector – his lap time held up to secure him his third consecutive pole, something he last accomplished in 2013.

However, his pole was not without a bit of luck. Teammate Kimi Raikkonen looked set to take the top spot from Vettel, with Raikkonen two-tenths of a second ahead entering the final sector.

But, the Finn nearly spun exiting Turn 16, the final corner before the long front straightaway, which cost him close to a second in lap time, relegating him to sixth on the grid.

Behind Vettel, the Mercedes AMG Petronas duo of Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas qualified second and third, with Hamilton less than two-tenths of a second behind Vettel. The close gap between the two, coupled with Raikkonen’s lower-than-expected grid position, mean Ferrari and Mercedes could be in for a titanic duel off the start.

Red Bull Racing’s Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen took fourth and fifth, while Sahara Force India enjoyed an uptick in form, with Esteban Ocon and Sergio Perez advancing to Q3 and qualifying seventh and eighth.

The Renault Sport F1 Team duo of Nico Hulkenberg and Carlos Sainz Jr. rounded out the Top 10.

Of note, Scuderia Toro Rosso’s Pierre Gasly and Brendon Hartley, who collided at the Chinese Grand Prix two weeks ago, nearly came to blows again in qualifying in a frightening near-miss.

Hartley had suffered a punctured tire and tried to get out of the way of the fast-approaching Gasly. However, both drivers ended up opting to drive on the same side of the track, forcing Gasly to dart the opposite way at the last minute to avoid what would have been a disastrous collision.

Qualifying results are below. The Azerbaijan Grand Prix begins Sunday at 7:30 a.m. ET.

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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.

“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.