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James Hinchcliffe to drive Indianapolis 500 for Andretti

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One of the most popular drivers in the IndyCar paddock has found a part-time home for the 2020 season.

James Hinchcliffe will make a return to Andretti Autosport starting this May. The 33-year-old Canadian will drive the No. 29 Honda for the team at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course, the 104th running of the Indianapolis 500, and the June night race at Texas Motor Speedway.

Sponsorship for Hinchcliffe’s partial schedule will be provided by Genesys, a company Hinchcliffe first announced as a personal sponsor on Jan. 16. The partnership marks the first venture into IndyCar racing for the customer service technology company.

“Honestly, it’s so nice being able to announce some more good news,” Hinchcliffe said in a release. “It’s no secret that the 2020 season isn’t going to be exactly what we were expecting, but being able to start the new year with the announcement that Genesys was stepping in to save our season and partner with us was awesome, and now adding the next big piece in my reunion with Andretti Autosport just really makes it feel like the momentum is going our way.

“I can’t wait to work with this group again and to get back behind the wheel of an IndyCar!”

Hinchcliffe previously drove for Andretti from 2012-14, winning three races. 

Following his first stint with the team, Hinchcliffe raced for Arrow McLaren SP (then Schmidt Peterson Motorsports) from 2015-19. However, the team released Hinchcliffe in November, and he had been searching for a new ride since then.

But when plans for Fernando Alonso to race for Andretti fell through, the opportunity for Hinchcliffe to return to the team presented itself.

“We’re really pleased to be able to welcome James back into the Andretti team,” Andretti Autosport chairman and CEO Michael Andretti said. “He has, for sure, been knocked down a few times by this sport and to be able to help him meet the challenge is really special. We had a lot of fun, and some great successes with James when he was part of the team before, and we’re really looking forward to picking up where we left off.

“I’d also like to welcome Genesys to the Andretti family for their first experience in IndyCar racing. We now have three, major Indiana-based companies in our portfolio, along with several other brands that call Indianapolis home. It’s special to see these companies supporting Indiana’s home sport of IndyCar racing, and we’re proud to carry them each with us. We are looking forward to working with James and the Genesys team to deliver both on and off-track success.”

Hinchcliffe’s first race of 2020, the GMR Grand Prix on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course, will take place on May 9 and air live on NBC.

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Valtteri Bottas wins chaotic season-opening F1 Austrian Grand Prix

Mark Thompson/Getty Images
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SPIELBERG, Austria — Valtteri Bottas won a chaotic season-opening F1 Austrian Grand Prix while six-time series champion Lewis Hamilton finished fourth after getting a late time penalty Sunday.

The Formula One race was interrupted three times by a safety car, and nine of 20 drivers abandoned, including both Red Bulls of Max Verstappen and Alexander Albon – who tried to overtake Hamilton on the outside with 10 laps left, touched wheels and flew off track.

Hamilton was given a 5-second time penalty for causing the collision, having earlier been hit with a three-place grid penalty after an incident in Saturday’s qualifying was reviewed by stewards.

SHOW OF SUPPORT: Drivers take knee before race

Bottas led all 71 laps in the eighth victory of his career. It was the second consecutive victory in the season opener for the Finn, though he won four months earlier in 2019 after this season’s start was delayed by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Lando Norris of McLaren F1 celebrates after his first podium finish (Mark Thompson/Getty Images).

Bottas started from pole position and Hamilton from fifth, but it looked like a straight fight between the two Mercedes drivers as has been the case so often in recent years.

But late drama in Spielberg ensured otherwise and Hamilton’s time penalty meant Charles Leclerc took second place for Ferrari, and Lando Norris sent McLaren’s garage into raptures – and threw all social distancing rules out of the window amid the euphoria – with third place.

It was the 20-year-old British driver’s first career podium, and his superb final lap was the fastest of a dramatic season opener.

Norris became the youngest British driver to secure a podium finish and the third-youngest ever in Formula One.

Valtteri Bottas leads Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton during the Formula One Grand Prix of Austria (Mark Thompson/Getty Images).