F1: Vettel wins in Belgium to close points gap to Hamilton

Photo: Getty Images

Sebastian Vettel used a slipstream off of Lewis Hamilton to take lead on Lap 1 of Sunday’s Belgian Grand Prix, and he commanded the race from there to take his fifth victory of the 2018 Formula 1 season.

Vettel’s move came just before a Safety Car was deployed for a scary crash involving Nico Hulkenberg, Fernando Alonso, and Charles Leclerc entering La Source – Hulkenberg locked up the brakes and ran into the back of Alonso, which propelled him over Leclerc.

In fact, Vettel and Hamilton nearly went three and four-wide with the Racing Point Force India duo of Esteban Ocon and Sergio Perez, but they fell back in line on corner entry, leaving Vettel in the lead over Hamilton.

Vettel took off away from the field when racing resumed and he never looked back, dominating the rest of the way. Hamilton came home in second, while Max Verstappen battled his way up to third at race’s end.

Valtteri Bottas worked his way up to fourth after starting last, passing Perez in the final laps to get the spot.

Perez and Ocon brought the new-look Force India team home in fifth and sixth, followed by the Haas duo of Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen.

Pierre Gasly and Marcus Ericsson rounded out the points scorers. Of note: Daniel Ricciardo and Kimi Raikkonen also suffered damage in the opening lap crash – Ricciardo suffered a broken rear wing while Raikkonen had a right-rear tire puncture.

Ricciardo was able to continue, but dropped out near the end of the race after being unable to make up ground. Raikkonen, too, retired, although much earlier due to damage to the car’s floor.

Results are below. The 2018 Formula 1 season continues next weekend with the Italian Grand Prix.


IndyCar releases schedule for 2023 season

IndyCar schedule 2023
Douglas Stringer/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The NTT IndyCar Series’ 2023 schedule will feature the same number of races and tracks as this season with some minor reshuffling of dates.

IndyCar will open the 2023 season March 5 on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida, and will conclude Sept. 10 at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, California. The 107th Indy 500 will take place May 28 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The 17-race schedule will conclude with a stretch of eight races in the final nine weeks.

“The NTT IndyCar Series is on an impactful upward trajectory, making progress at a pace that befits our thrilling style of competition,” Penske Entertainment Corp. president and CEO Mark Miles said in a release. “The 2023 season provides an opportunity to further build on this trend, bringing our sport and its stars to more markets and households and reaching new consumers across the globe.”

There will be 15 events on NBC: 13 races (including six of the final seven) plus Indy 500 qualifying May 20-21. There also are three races on USA Network and the Toronto race exclusively on Peacock. All races on NBC and USA also will have live simulstreams on Peacock.

In partnership with NBC Sports, the 2022 IndyCar season was the most-watched in six years and the most-watched across NBC Sports on record. The 2022 season also was the most streamed season on record.

“We’re very excited for our 2023 NTT IndyCar Series schedule and to build on this past season’s viewership milestones,” NBC Sports vice president of programming Mike Perman said in a release. “In providing comprehensive coverage across NBC, Peacock and USA Network, NBC Sports is once again looking forward to telling the stories of these world-class drivers and this compelling series.”

Notable elements on the 2023 schedule:

–There will be the same balance of seven road course races, five street courses and five ovals.

–St. Pete will be the season opener for the 13th time.

–The Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix will move from Belle Isle to the streets of downtown.

–The NASCAR doubleheader weekend at the IMS road course will shift to mid-August.

–The World Wide Technology Raceway event will move from Saturday to Sunday.

Start times for the 2023 events will be announced at a later date.

Here’s the 2023 IndyCar schedule:

Date Race/Track Network/Platform
Sun., March 5 Streets of St. Petersburg NBC, Peacock
Sun., April 2 Texas Motor Speedway NBC, Peacock
Sun., April 16 Streets of Long Beach NBC, Peacock
Sun., April 30 Barber Motorsports Park NBC, Peacock
Sat., May 13 Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Road Course) NBC, Peacock
Sun., May 28 The 107th Indianapolis 500 NBC, Peacock
Sun., June 4 Streets of Detroit NBC, Peacock
Sun., June 18 Road America USA Network, Peacock
Sun., July 2 Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course USA Network, Peacock
Sun., July 16 Streets of Toronto Peacock
Sat., July 22 Iowa Speedway – Race 1 NBC, Peacock
Sun., July 23 Iowa Speedway – Race 2 NBC, Peacock
Sun., Aug. 6 Streets of Nashville NBC, Peacock
Sat., Aug. 12 Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Road Course) USA Network, Peacock
Sun., Aug. 27 World Wide Technology Raceway NBC, Peacock
Sun., Sept. 3 Portland International Raceway NBC, Peacock
Sun., Sept. 10 WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca NBC, Peacock

*dates and networks/platforms are subject to change