F1: Bottas wins USGP pole, Hamilton to start fifth

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Valtteri Bottas won the pole position for the United States Grand Prix at Circuit of the Americas Saturday afternoon, setting a new track record with his Q3 lap time of 1 minute, 32.029 seconds around the 20-turn, 3.426-mile road course.

The pole was the first for the Mercedes driver since the British Grand Prix in July.

“I knew how to put it together in Q3,” Bottas said following his pole run. “I’m glad no one could improve at the end. Happy days!”

Sebastian Vettel will start right alongside Bottas in Sunday afternoon, qualifying in P2 after missing the pole by a mire 0.012 seconds.

Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc qualified in the third and fourth positions, while points leader Lewis Hamilton qualified a disappointing fifth.

Hamilton needs to finish eighth of better in Sunday’s race to formally clinch his sixth World Championship.

Alexander Albon qualified in the sixth position for Red Bull, while McLaren teammates Carlos Sainz and Lando Norris qualified seventh and eighth, respectfully.

Daniel Riccardo and Pierre Gasly rounded out the top 10 qualifiers.

Full qualifying results and times are below:

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IndyCar disappointed by delay of video game but aiming to launch at start of 2024

IndyCar video game 2024

An IndyCar executive said there is “absolutely” disappointment that its long-awaited video game recently was delayed beyond its target date, but the series remains optimistic about the new title.

“Well, I don’t know how quick it will be, but the whole situation is important to us,” Penske Entertainment president and CEO Mark Miles said during a news conference Monday morning to announce IndyCar’s NTT title sponsorship. “Motorsport Games has spent a lot of money, a lot of effort to create an IndyCar title. What we’ve seen of that effort, which is not completely obvious, is very reassuring.

“I think it’s going to be outstanding. That’s our shared objective, that when it is released, it’s just widely accepted. A great credit both to IndyCar racing, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, something that our fans love.”

In June 2021, IndyCar announced a new partnership with Motorsport Games to create and distribute an IndyCar video game for the PC and Xbox and PlayStation consoles in 2023.

But during an earnings call last week, Motorsport Games said the IndyCar game had been delayed to 2024 to ensure high quality.

Somewhat compounding the delay is that IndyCar’s license for iRacing expired after the end of the 2022 season because of its exclusive agreement with Motorsport Games.

That’s resulted in significant changes for IndyCar on iRacing, which had provided a high-profile way for the series to stay visible during its 2020 shutdown from the pandemic. (Players still can race an unbranded car but don’t race on current IndyCar tracks, nor can they stream).

That’s helped ratchet up the attention on having a video game outlet for IndyCar.

“I wish we had an IndyCar title 10 years ago,” said Miles, who has been working with the organization since 2013. “We’ve been close, but we’ve had these I think speed bumps.”

IndyCar is hopeful the Motorsports Game edition will be ready at the start of 2024. Miles hinted that beta versions could be unveiled to reporters ahead of the time “to begin to show the progress in a narrow way to make sure we’ve got it right, to test the progress so that we’re ready when they’re ready.”

It’s been nearly 18 years since the release of the most recent IndyCar video game for console or PC.

“(We) better get it right,” Miles said. “It’s something we’re very close to and continue to think about what it is to make sure we get it over the line in due course.”