FORMULA 1

RED BULL RACING ON THE RESULTS AT SPA-FRANCORCHAMPS

DANIEL RICCIARDO, Finish Position: 2nd, Start Position: 5th  
“I’m pleased with that result, I knew a podium was on today. Of course you can never guarantee, but I knew if we had the pace that we did on Friday, that we would be able to get there. With Lewis starting at the back it was an opportunity to get at least a second place, and we got that. A win is always the big target, but Nico had the pace that we expected, so second is the best we could have done. There was a lot going on at the start and I actually hit some of the debris which damaged the front wing, so the red flag helped us as we were able to repair it. Before that the car was quite affected. Then, after that we got going; there wasn’t too much action for me, but I was just trying to be consistent and the outcome was good! The fans this weekend have been awesome. The driver parade was great, 99% of the fans are here for Max but they were cheering everyone and it was good sportsmanship; Max got bigger cheers but they were waving and cheering for everyone, it was really good to see. So big respect to the Dutch and Belgian fans, they were really cool.”
MAX VERSTAPPEN, Finish Position: 11th, Start Position: 2nd
“Today was very unfortunate. I didn’t start as well as I wanted but I got up the inside for the first corner then got squeezed by the two Ferraris. In the contact my front wing and the floor got destroyed so then the car was very difficult to drive and the race was gone. Still, I tried my best to come back especially for all the people who were cheering me on in the stands, but unfortunately I didn’t get in the points. Luckily we got Daniel on the podium so we still scored some more points for the team. It’s good to have another race next week and we’ll try to do the best job possible at Monza. The race didn’t turn out the way I wanted but before that we had a great weekend here in Spa and it was great to have some interaction with all the fans who came out to support me.”
CHRISTIAN HORNER, Team Principal: “An impressive performance by Daniel today; a great disciplined drive, looking after his tyres and making an effective two-stop strategy work. To finish second, at the type of venue that we weren’t expecting to be our strongest, is an amazing result. He picked up a little bit of damage after the first corner but we were able to repair that in the break (during a red flag), and he drove a strong race thereafter. Max’s race was compromised after turn one. After an average start he got inside of Kimi into that turn but unfortunately he was squeezed from the outside by Sebastian and three into one quite simply doesn’t go. The resulting damage significantly compromised the aerodynamics on the underside of the car costing him about a second and half per lap. He made a strong recovery to finish unfortunately just outside the points, It’s clearly not the result he was looking for in front of such an enormous crowd that came out to support him all weekend but hopefully a lot more positive races to come. For the team to be coming away from Spa still second in the Constructors’ Championship, and having extended our lead over Ferrari, is more than we could have envisaged.”

GP2

GIOVINAZZI BLAZES SPRINT RACE WIN

Italian claims second victory of the weekend for PREMA Racing
Antonio Giovinazzi has grabbed the second win of the Spa-Francorchamps weekend for PREMA Racing with a dominant display of speed and consistency in this morning’s Sprint Race, making a great start before overtaking for the lead and stretching out a gap to the flag ahead of Gustav Malja and Luca Ghiotto.
Malja made a good start from pole when the lights went out, but Giovinazzi made a better one from P3 to slide inside front row starter Ghiotto at La Source for P2 behind the Swede. The Trident man soon had his mirrors filled by Raffaele Marciello and teammate Artem Markelov, who dispatched Alex Lynn in fine style at Campus, while further back Pierre Gasly and Oliver Rowland had a coming together, with the Frenchman coming off worse as his lost part of his front wing.
The Red Bull tester was soon back on a charge, dispatching Rowland on the run down to Eau Rouge and Lynn at the Bus Stop two laps later. Teammate Giovinazzi wasn’t hanging around either: after watching the leader for a few laps he attacked on lap 7, going outside Malja on the Kemmel straight before sweeping through into Les Combes for a lead he was not going to relinquish to the flag.
Markelov looked quicker than his teammate all race long but was just unable to get by Marciello, and with Gasly on a charge the Russian’s situation was looking grim: by lap 14 the Frenchman had caught the RUSSIAN TIME pair, feinted left then swung right on Markelov and was through at Rivage, throwing the Russian into the clutches of King and Lynn: the Williams man got a tow from both to take King at Les Combes and Markelov at La Source, who ran wide at Les Combes next time through to lose out to King too.
Back out in front Giovinazzi was streaking away to see the chequered flag 2.3 seconds ahead of Malja, who drove a fine race for his first GP2 podium in second. Ghiotto held on for his third podium of the year ahead of Gasly, who dispatched Marciello with a fine move at the Bus Stop but ran out of time to move further forward, with Lynn leading countryman King home in P6. Markelov was out of tyres but looked to have done enough for the final point, but the race-long fight between Rowland and Sergey Sirotkin spilled over at the Bus Stop, with Sirotkin running inside his rival but tapping the back of his countryman, with Markelov spun into retirement and Rowland grabbing 8th.
A strong weekend for Gasly saw him stretch his lead in the Drivers’ standings as teammate Giovinazzi moved up to second: the Frenchman leads by 146 points to 129, with Marciello on 120 points for third ahead of a disappointed Sirotkin on 115, Rowland on 101 and King on 100 points, while in the Teams’ standings PREMA extended their lead over RUSSIAN TIME by 275 points to 197, ahead of Racing Engineering on 181 and ART Grand Prix on 173 as the grid looks towards next weekend’s round in Monza.

GP3

AITKEN ACHIEVES MAIDEN WIN IN SPA-FRANCORCHAMPS RACE 2

Arden International’s Jack Aitken wins safety-car affected race
Briton Jack Aitken kept a calm head to romp home to his debut win in the GP3 Series at Spa-Francorchamps in a race which saw three safety-car periods. The Renault Academy driver started from third on the grid and moved into second passing DAMS’ Santino Ferrucci before Turn 1. The Arden driver then swiftly passed Koiranen GP’s Matevos Isaakyan to grab the lead of the race and remained in P1 until the chequered flag. Trident and Ferrari Driver Academy’s Antonio Fuoco was second ahead of Haas F1 development driver Ferrucci.
Blue skies and warm temperatures greeted the paddock for the second race of Round 6 of the 2016 GP3 Series season with Isaakyan starting from reverse pole. The Russian made a strong start but it was Aitken from the second row who made an even better one, picking off Ferrucci to march into second. Aitken and the Arden team had shown strong race pace all weekend and he wasted no time in fighting for the lead, passing Isaakyan on lap 2.
Ferrucci was keen to re-claim his second position but also had to fight off the advances of Campos Racing’s Steijn Schothorst and Fuoco early on. After posting the fastest lap of the race, Aitken began to edge away at the front; increasing his margin over the Koiranen GP driver to over 1s. The safety car was deployed on lap four after Konstantin Tereschenko spun and stopped. Once his Campos Racing car was cleared away, the racing resumed with Aitken maintaining his lead.
Fuoco was looking racy as he passed Dutchman Schothorst for fourth but soon after the safety car was re-deployed after an incident between Matthew Parry and Jake Hughes which led to the duo both retiring after sustaining damage. At the end of lap 7, the race resumed with Series leader and Race 1 winner Charles Leclerc passing Schothorst for P4. Ferrucci was back into second after overtaking Isaakyan; the Russian then ran wide and lost a further place to Fuoco – allowing the Italian into third.
Aitken’s lead was up to 2s at this point but there was a third safety car after Nirei Fukuzumi tagged Kevin Joerg and sent the Swiss driver into the barrier and into a premature retirement. The Japanese driver was issued with a 10s time penalty added to his race time. At the end of lap ten, the racing continued with Leclerc desperate to find a way past Isaakyan. Fuoco made the most of another re-start and passed American Ferrucci for P2.
Despite the Monegasque’s best efforts, Isaakyan did a sterling job of defending and withstanding the pressure from the ART Grand Prix ace to retain fourth, with Leclerc then having to resist pressure from Jake Dennis. The Briton passed Leclerc before the end of the 13 lap race to claim P5, earning himself some hard-fought points.
At the chequered flag, Aitken was delighted to record his first win in the category and the first win for Arden this season. Fuoco pocketed another podium to keep in contention for the title battle with Leclerc, whilst Ferrucci was all smiles, enjoying his maiden rostrum in GP3. Isaakyan, Dennis, Leclerc, Schothorst and De Vries completed the top eight.
Scuderia Ferrari Team Development driver Leclerc now leads the Drivers’ Standings on 161 points, 22 points ahead of Fuoco who has reduced the gap to his fierce rival. Albon lies in third on 125 points. ART Grand Prix continue to lead the Teams’ Standings: the French squad have 402 points and have one hand on the team’s trophy. Trident and Koiranen GP are second and third.
GP3 Series is back in action next week for Round 5 at Monza on September 02-04.

FORMULA 1

ROSBERG EDGES OUT MAX FOR POLE

Rosberg going fastest with 1m 46.744s was hardly a surprise after the first runs in Q3, but Verstappen’s 1m 46.893s really was sensational, given he had missed the bulk of FP3 with gearbox issues, and must have set hearts fluttering at Mercedes. Neither improved on their second runs, but the only one to get close was Raikkonen. Having fallen off at Stavelot on his first run, which he aborted, the Finn made amends with 1m 46.910s to push Ricciardo out of the third place; the Australian had lapped in 1m 47.216s. Then Vettel, complaining that the rear end had lost all grip by the end of the lap, edged the second Red Bull down another place with his 1m 47.108s.

MAX VERSTAPPEN, 
“It’s a great feeling. As soon as I crossed the line in Q3 on my fastest lap, I could see the fans going really wild so I knew it was a good lap. It’s been already an amazing weekend. To see so many fans around the track and feel their support is incredible and I’ve been enjoying the whole week a lot, so to be second on the grid is fantastic. It would have been very difficult to get pole position. The chance is always there if you are that close and in sector two we were very strong, but we were missing some top speed. Tomorrow will be very interesting with the different strategies between us, Mercedes and Ferrari so I think it’ll be a good fight. Hopefully the supersofts will give me a bit more grip in the first few laps and then for sure I will drop off a bit but that’s my strategy. I will probably have to pit a bit earlier but we have to wait and see how the race goes. Big thanks to the team for such a quick turnaround and working so hard on getting me out on time in Qualifying.”

GP3

LeCLERC POWERS TO POLE POSITION AT SPA-FRANCORCHAMPS

ART Grand Prix’s Charles Leclerc takes second pole of the season
Series leader Charles Leclerc from ART Grand Prix showed his dominance in today’s qualifying session for Round 6 of the 2016 GP3 Series season at Spa-Francorchamps: the Scuderia Ferrari Team development driver posted a best laptime of 2:04.896 which was three tenths clear of his nearest rival and faster than last year’s pole position time set by Luca Ghiotto. DAMS’ Jake Hughes was second ahead of McLaren protégé Nyck de Vries.
It was another warm start to proceedings at the Belgian track and it was Dutchman De Vries who was first to head the timings on the first run. The ART Grand Prix rookie lapped two tenths quicker than Hughes and Arden International’s Jake Dennis to lead the field early on.
At the midway point, all of the drivers returned to the pitlane to switch to new Pirelli rubber with the soft compound nominated for this event. 1s was covering the top 17 drivers; showing how closely fought the battle for a good grid spot was going to be.
Hughes began his push lap, with Leclerc hot in pursuit with the Briton clocking the fastest time of the session, albeit for a matter of seconds before the Monegasque driver claimed P1. Leclerc had lit sectors one and two in purple and lapped three tenths faster than the DAMS driver.
The positions remained fairly stagnant behind as the drivers tried to improve but it was to no avail as Leclerc celebrated his second pole in GP3 at the chequered flag. Hughes fresh from his race win in Hockenheim joined the ART Grand Prix ace on the front row ahead of De Vries, Trident’s Antonio Fuoco, Kevin Joerg, Koiranen GP’s Matthew Parry, Jenzer Motorsport’s Arjun Maini, Sandy Stuvik, Santino Ferrucci and Campos Racing’s Alex Palou.
Leclerc’s pole position has gained him a further four valuable points in the title battle; meaning he has extended his advantage over teammate Alexander Albon to seven points after the Thai qualified down in P17.

GP2

GIOVINAZZI FLIES TO POLE POSITION IN SPA 

Italian rookie denies teammate in dramatic qualifying session
Antonio Giovinazzi has claimed his second GP2 pole position in the dying seconds of today’s qualifying session at Spa-Francorchamps: the Italian rookie denied teammate and Series leader Pierre Gasly who thought he had done enough until Giovinazzi crushed his hopes with a laptime of 1:56.607. Gustav Malja completed the top 3.
The session opened in hot temperatures as the twenty two cars took to the track on Soft Pirelli tyres. Gasly was quick to set a marker of 1:57.068 – two tenths better than Giovinazzi. Ten minutes into the clock, the Red Bull protégé returned to the pits whilst all eyes were on title rival and joint Series leader Sergey Sirotkin who seemed to struggle and could not do better than P15 on his first stint.
Halfway through the session, both PREMA drivers sat in 1-2, ahead of Jordan King, Norman Nato and Nobuharu Matsushita. All cars returned to the pits for some fresh tyres. Malja was the first man to resume his session with twelve minutes left on the clock. He enjoyed a clear track to light sectors 1 and 3 in purple. The Rapax driver moved up to P2 just behind Gasly. Nato also found some extra pace to go over the line in third ahead of Giovinazzi.
With three minutes left in the session, Gasly was determined to bag a third pole this season: he improved in sector 1; then he went purple in sector 2. He locked up but managed to keep the momentum in sector 3 to lap the Belgian track in a 1:56.768 beating his personal best by 3 tenths of a second. He returned to the pits confident that he had done enough, but Giovinazzi was not done. In the dying minutes, the Italian improved in the first two sectors and found Mitch Evans ahead of him in the final sector. He took advantage of the tow from the Kiwi to go quickest and clock in a laptime of 1:56.607, one tenth better than Gasly, and thus claiming pole position – PREMA’s fourth and their first full front row in their rookie season.
At the chequered flag, Malja retained P3 ahead of Nato, King, Arthur Pic, Raffaele Marciello, Alex Lynn, Matsushita and Marvin Kirchhöfer.

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