Alex Albon rebounds from practice crash to qualify fourth in Bahrain GP

Alex Albon crashed Bahrain
Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images

Alex Albon rebounded quickly from a crash in Friday’s Practice 2 to qualify fourth Saturday for the Bahrain GP.

Albon crashed about halfway through the session exiting the final turn of the track after pushing wide off course. Albon was classified ninth at the time, 0.696 seconds off the pace set by teammate Max Verstappen.

The incident came moments after he overtook Pierre Gasly, and the pass might have caused him to take a less than optimum line through the corner.

The damage was enough to require the team to work late into the evening to roll out a new chassis.

It was the type of incident that could shake the confidence of a driver fighting hard to secure his spot with the team for 2021.

But Albon bounced back quickly with the fourth-best time in Practice 3 and a fourth-place qualification run. Albon will line up alongside his Red Bull teammate Verstappen. Meanwhile, their Mercedes rivals swept the front row with Lewis Hamilton earning his 98th career pole, and Valtteri Bottas securing the outside pole.

Alex Albon crashed Bahrain
(Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

“You miss out a bit on track time, and of course a little bit of confidence in the beginning of FP3,” Albon said. “But actually the car was good straight away.

“Quali was a little bit more difficult, but just chipping away at it, doing little things throughout the session, and then by [Q3], it was okay. We went out on the softs just to be safe in Q2 which meant we only had one set in Q3, so just to perfect the lap, there’s things I would like to have done.

“But P4, we’re in the mix and hopefully we can have a good start and be in there being a thorn in Mercedes’ backside.”

How long Albon is able to be a thorn is an open question. He was 17 laps into the P2 session when he destroyed the primary car. With the repairs, Albon was unable to make a long run Saturday morning.

“I haven’t done a long run, so we’ll see how that goes tomorrow,” said Albon. “We’ve seen Max’s data and there’s huge deg [tire degradation], unbelievable deg. You already saw it in Q2 when no one wanted to do a lap on the softs, so it will be interesting. Hopefully we can get away from the mid-pack and try and do our own race and upset the Mercs up in front.”

Winner Josef Newgarden earns $3.666 million from a record Indy 500 purse of $17 million


INDIANAPOLIS — The first Indy 500 victory for Josef Newgarden also was the richest in race history from a record 2023 purse of just more than $17 million.

The two-time NTT IndyCar Series champion, who continued his celebration Monday morning at Indianapolis Motor Speedway earned $3.666 million for winning the 107th running of the Greatest Spectacle in Racing.

The purse and winner’s share both are the largest in the history of the Indianapolis 500.

It’s the second consecutive year that the Indy 500 purse set a record after the 2022 Indy 500 became the first to crack the $16 million mark (nearly doubling the 2021 purse that offered a purse of $8,854,565 after a crowd limited to 135,000 because of the COVID-19 pandemic).

The average payout for IndyCar drivers was $500,600 (exceeding last year’s average of $485,000).

Indianapolis Motor Speedway owner Roger Penske, whose team also fields Newgarden’s No. 2 Dallara-Chevrolet, had made raising purses a priority since buying the track in 2020. But Penske but was unable to post big money purses until the race returned to full capacity grandstands last year.

The largest Indy 500 purse before this year was $14.4 million for the 2008 Indy 500 won by Scott Dixon (whose share was $2,988,065). Ericsson’s haul made him the second Indy 500 winner to top $3 million (2009 winner Helio Castroneves won $3,048,005.

Runner-up Marcus Ericsson won $1.043 million after falling short by 0.0974 seconds in the fourth-closest finish in Indy 500 history.

The 107th Indy 500 drew a crowd of at least 330,000 that was the largest since the sellout for the 100th running in 2016, and the second-largest in more than two decades, according to track officials.

“This is the greatest race in the world, and it was an especially monumental Month of May featuring packed grandstands and intense on-track action,” Penske Entertainment president and CEO Mark Miles said in a release. “Now, we have the best end card possible for the 107th Running of the Indianapolis 500: a record-breaking purse for the history books.”

Benjamin Pedersen was named the Indy 500 rookie of the year, earning a $50,000 bonus.

The race’s purse is determined through contingency and special awards from IMS and IndyCar. The awards were presented Monday night in the annual Indy 500 Victory Celebration at the JW Marriott in downtown Indianapolis.

The payouts for the 107th Indy 500:

1. Josef Newgarden, $3,666,000
2. Marcus Ericsson, $1,043,000
3. Santino Ferrucci, $481,800
4. Alex Palou, $801,500
5. Alexander Rossi, $574,000
6. Scott Dixon, $582,000
7. Takuma Sato, $217,300
8. Conor Daly, $512,000
9. Colton Herta, $506,500
10. Rinus VeeKay, $556,500
11. Ryan Hunter‐Reay, $145,500
12. Callum Ilott, $495,500
13. Devlin DeFrancesco, $482,000
14. Scott McLaughlin, $485,000
15. Helio Castroneves, $481,500
16. Tony Kanaan, $105,000
17. Marco Andretti, $102,000
18. Jack Harvey, $472,000
19. Christian Lundgaard, $467,500
20. Ed Carpenter, $102,000
21. Benjamin Pedersen (R), $215,300
22. Graham Rahal, $565,500*
23. Will Power, $488,000
24. Pato O’Ward, $516,500
25. Simon Pagenaud, $465,500
26. Agustín Canapino (R), $156,300
27. Felix Rosenqvist, $278,300
28. Kyle Kirkwood, $465,500
29. David Malukas, $462,000
30. Romain Grosjean, $462,000
31. Sting Ray Robb (R), $463,000
32. RC Enerson (R), $103,000
33.  Katherine Legge, $102,000

*–Broken down between two teams, $460,000 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, $105,500 Dreyer & Reinbold Racing/Cusick Motorsports