IndyCar: Power on pole as Penske sweeps the front row at Portland

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Will Power soared to the 54th pole of his Verizon IndyCar Series career during qualifying for Sunday’s Portland Grand Prix (2:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN).

Power’s best lap in the Firestone Fast Six came in at 57.3467 seconds, bettering Justin Wilson’s old track record (57.597 seconds) by over two tenths of a second.

Power’s Team Penske teammate Josef Newgarden made it a Penske front row lock-out by qualifying second, though his lap – a 57.6877 – was over three tenths of a second behind Power.

Power’s 54th pole put him clear of A.J. Foyt on the all-time list, putting second behind Mario Andretti, who has 67.

“Yeah, I mean, obviously to be up with names like Foyt, pretty special, humbling,” Power said in the post-qualifying press conference. “I need to catch Mario now. I don’t think that will happen, that’s a lot of poles. But, yeah, unbelievable. I would never have dreamed of being up there with names like A.J. Foyt.”

For Power, who trailed Dixon by 68 points entering the weekend, Sunday’s race is vital for his championship hopes, and he feels he is in a must-win situation.

“You know, the end of the day we have to win,” he asserted. “We have no shot at Sonoma if we don’t. We know that. We’ll take risks depending on the situation. But unpredictable. We’re aware that we have to finish not only ahead of Alex and Scott, but quite ahead. If they’re in the top three, it makes it very difficult for us.”

Alexander Rossi, who trails Scott Dixon by 26 points in the championship, qualified third, with Sebastien Bourdais rebounding from a crash in Practice 3 to qualify a strong fourth.

Ryan Hunter-Reay will start fifth, while Zach Veach advanced to his first Firestone Fast Six, qualifying sixth.

While Rossi enjoyed a strong outing in qualifying, Scott Dixon struggled somewhat, as he failed to advance to the Fast Six and settled for 11th on the grid.

Others who advanced to Round 2, but just missed the Fast Six are James Hinchcliffe (seventh), Ed Jones (eighth), Marco Andretti (ninth), Graham Rahal (tenth), and Jordan King (12th).

Results are below.

 

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Sergio Perez wins rain-delayed race in Singapore over Leclerc; Verstappen seventh

Sergio Perez Singapore
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SINGAPORE — Max Verstappen’s Formula One title celebrations were put on hold after the Red Bull driver placed seventh at a chaotic Singapore Grand Prix, won by his teammate Sergio Perez on Sunday.

Perez’s second win of the season saw him finish 7.6 seconds ahead of Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, with Leclerc’s teammate Carlos Sainz Jr. in third place.

Perez was investigated for a potential safety car infringement but still kept the win after a 5-second time penalty for dropping too far back after being warned.

Verstappen had won the past five races but needed to win here and finish 22 points ahead of Leclerc to be crowned champion for a second straight season. That could happen next weekend at the Japanese GP.

Verstappen made a mistake after the second safety car restart, following AlphaTauri driver Yuki Tsunoda’s crash on Lap 36. When Verstappen tried to overtake Lando Norris’ McLaren, he locked his tires and needed to pit again.

Leclerc started from pole position with Verstappen going from eighth after a team blunder in qualifying.

The race start was delayed by more than an hour to clear water off the Marina Bay Circuit track following heavy rainfall. Drivers had to finish the 61-lap race within a two-hour window; 59 laps were completed.

Tricky conditions saw the virtual safety car deployed three times and DRS was allowed with about 30 minutes remaining.

Perez made a good start and jumped past Leclerc while Verstappen dropped several places. The first safety car was on Lap 8 when Zhou Guanyu’s Alfa Romeo was cut off by Nicholas Latifi’s Williams.

Perez got away cleanly at the restart, while Verstappen climbed into seventh behind Fernando Alonso – whose 350th F1 race ended disappointingly when his engine failed on Lap 21, bringing out the first VSC.

With the track still damp, drivers decided against changing to quicker tires – apart from Mercedes’ George Russell, who struggled for grip.

Hamilton made a rare mistake on Lap 33 and thudded into the crash barrier. Soon after, the leading drivers changed tires in a flurry of stops. They did so just before the safety car was deployed again following Tsunoda’s error.

Verstappen overtook Sebastian Vettel’s Aston Martin right at the end for seventh place.