GP2

Lynn scorches to Budapest victory

Alex Lynn put on a crushing display of speed and guile to claim his first feature race victory in scorching conditions this afternoon at the Hungaroring, leading for most of the race and picking the right tyre strategy to win ahead of DAMS teammate Pierre Gasly and Sergey Sirotkin.
The Williams test driver made great use of pole position, blasting away when the lights went out and taking an easy early lead as fellow front row starter Stoffel Vandoorne stuttered: Red Bull tester Gasly made a brilliant start from P5 to follow his teammate into turn one, while Arthur Pic and Raffaele Marciello went either side of the the McLaren man to follow the leaders through.
The Italian jumped the Frenchman next time by, just before a brief safety car period to recover Sergio Canamasas’ broken car, and the race was live for just two laps before the pitstops started for the soft compound drivers: Vandoorne was the first man in, followed by Julian Leal, but the series leader was judged to have been released unsafely and was handed a 5 second time penalty for his efforts, while out on track Lynn, Gasly, Marciello and Sirotkin were pulling away from their rivals.
With all eyes on the time gap between Lynn and Vandoorne the question was could they maintain a gap large enough to hold onto the lead? By the time the Briton came in on lap 23 it was clear that they hadn’t: Lynn emerged behind Pic in (effectively) P, but he had the advantage of fresh soft rubber and wasn’t going to hang around. Lynn slid past the battle between Pic and Alexander Rossi almost immediately, and easily claimed Haryanto a few laps later for what was effectively the lead, given Vandoorne’s penalty.
It wasn’t enough for the Briton: he blasted by Vandoorne with 5 laps remaining to lead on track, and with the other soft shod men coming the question was how would the Belgian hold them back? Haryanto wasn’t helping his cause – the Indonesian was looking for a way through all round the circuit – but Gasly sliced by them both on the penultimate lap for P2 behind his teammate, with Vandoorne third on track but dropped to P5 on the timesheets behind Sirotkin, who clattered his way past Haryanto at the second last corner, removing the Indonesian’s front wing in the process.
Jordan King had a solid race for P6, jumping Marciello on fresher rubber, with Nobuharu Matsushita, Robert Visiou and Daniel de Jong also taking advantage of stopping for softs late in the race. The result didn’t affect the top of the drivers’ championship substantially – Vandoorne now leads Rossi by 180 points to 105, with Haryanto on 103, Sirotkin on 93, Lynn on 85 and Gasly on 60 points – but there is plenty of scope for more to come in the sprint race tomorrow morning.

GP3

Trident’s Luca Ghiotto pockets fourth career pole in Hungaroring

Series leader Luca Ghiotto won the battle for pole position today in a sweltering and hotly contested qualifying session in Hungary. The Trident star clocked a best laptime of 1:34.030 which was just 0.036s faster than Arden International’s Emil Bernstorff who had topped the timesheets earlier on. Mercedes junior and ART Grand Prix rookie Esteban Ocon was third.
The thirty minute session saw track temperatures as high as forty-one degrees as the pack ventured onto the Hungaroring in their quest for pole. Italian Ghiotto was first to lap into the 1m35’s before Ocon dipped into the 1m34’s early on.
Ghiotto responded to the Frenchman by lapping two tenths quicker, whilst Campos Racing’s Alex Palou shot into second, just 0.010s shy off the Trident ace. Bernstorff found some more pace to head to the top of the timesheet, with the top three covered by just 0.022s showing how tough the competition is.
Ghiotto was back into P1 for a brief moment until ART Grand Prix’s Marvin Kirchhöfer bettered his time by 0.066s. This was to be short lived as Bernstorff improved yet again, lighting the first sector purple. But nothing was going to stop Ghiotto today: he posted the fastest time in the middle sector and reclaimed pole position taking his third pole of the season. Ocon also improved on his final attempt into third, demoting his teammate Kirchhöfer to fourth.
Behind the Italian at the chequered flag was Bernstorff, Ocon, Kirchhöfer, Jimmy Eriksson (Koiranen GP), Matthew Parry, Alex Palou, Antonio Fuoco (Carlin), Kevin Ceccon and Pal Varhaug (Jenzer Motorsport) completed the top ten.
Similar conditions are expected later for the forty-minute long race at 17.20pm local time.

GP2

Vandoorne on top in free practice

Series leader Stoffel Vandoorne was back on top this morning: the Belgian ace set the quickest laptime in today’s free practice session at Budapest in a 1:28.969, a clear four tenths from title rival Rio Haryanto. Alex Lynn completed the top 3.
The session opened in high temperatures with the cars feeding onto the short and twisty track on Medium Pirelli tyres. Pierre Gasly set the early pace ahead of his teammate Lynn in heavy traffic, but Vandoorne dipped under 1m30s on his first push lap moving up to the top of the standings, Alexander Rossi in tow. Lynn found some extra pace to better the Belgian’s laptime, with Haryanto also able to move up to P2. Vandoorne however was on a mission and went even quicker to break the 1m29s barrier and sit pretty at the top.
The remainder of the session was trouble-free and studious as the drivers and the teams mainly focused on race simulations. Haryanto pipped Lynn out of P2 whilst Arthur Pic took full advantage of a clear track with most of the cars back into the pits to set the fourth best laptime of the session.
At the chequered flag, Vandoorne looked mighty strong ahead of today’s qualifying session. He will once again be the man to beat in a session that promises to be hot with many drivers looking to break into the top 3 and challenge the ART man.

F1Weekly podcast # 686

Clark and Nasir talk about the passing of Jules Bianchi, we have Motorsports Mondial and, we are featuring our first Jules Bianchi interview which took place at Mugello in 2008.

In 2007, Bianchi left karting and raced in French Formula Renault 2.0 for SG Formula, where he finished as champion with five wins. He also competed in the Formula Renault Eurocup where he had one pole position and one fastest lap in three races.

In late 2007, Bianchi signed with ART Grand Prix to compete in the Formula 3 Euro Series.

In 2008 Bianchi won the Masters of Formula 3 at Zolder, and also finished third in the 2008 Formula 3 Euro Series season.

Bianchi continued in the F3 Euroseries in 2009, leading ART’s line-up along with rookie team-mates Valtteri Bottas, Esteban Gutiérrez and Adrien Tambay. With eight wins, Bianchi sealed the title with a round to spare, at Dijon-Prenois. He then added a ninth win at the final round at Hockenheim. He also drove in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series atMonaco, after SG Formula acquired the cars formerly run by Kurt Mollekens.

Bianchi drove for ART in the subsequent GP2 Asia season and the 2010 GP2 Series season. He competed in three of the four rounds of the GP2 Asia championship. In the main series, Bianchi took two pole positions and a number of points positions before he was injured in a first-lap crash at the Hungaroring. In the feature race, he spun into the path of the field exiting the first corner, and was struck head-on by Ho-Pin Tung, sustaining a fractured second lumbar vertebra in the process. Bianchi was fourth in the drivers’ championship at the time of his injury. Despite initial pessimistic assessments of the severity of his injury, he recovered to take part in the next round of the championship.

Bianchi remained with ART for 2011, and was partnered by 2010 GP3 Series champion Esteban Gutiérrez. He starred in the first two rounds of the 2011 GP2 Asia Series, holding off Romain Grosjean for victory in the feature race and gaining fourth in the sprint race, but he was later penalised. He finished runner-up to Grosjean in the drivers’ championship. In the main series, Bianchi finished third in the championship, behind Grosjean and Luca Filippi.

Bianchi opted to switch to the Formula Renault 3.5 Series for 2012, following his one-off appearance in the category in 2009. He signed for the Tech 1 Racing team, and was partnered with Kevin Korjus, and later with Daniel Abt.

In August 2009, Bianchi was linked by the BBC and various other media sources to the second Ferrari Formula One seat occupied by Luca Badoer during Felipe Massa’s absence. Bianchi tested for Ferrari at the young drivers test at Circuito de Jerez for two of the three days, over 1–2 December 2009. The other drivers tested on 3 December included Daniel Zampieri, Marco Zipoli and Pablo Sánchez López as the top three finishers in the 2009 Italian Formula Three Championship. Bianchi’s performance in this test led to him becoming the first recruit of the Ferrari Driver Academy and signing up to a long-term deal to remain at the team’s disposal.

On 11 November 2010 he was confirmed by Ferrari as the team’s test and reserve driver for the 2011 season, replacing Luca Badoer, Giancarlo Fisichella and Marc Gené, as well as confirming he would test for the team during the young driver test in Abu Dhabi over 16–17 November. Bianchi carried on his GP2 Series racing, as Formula 1 allows test and reserve drivers to race in parallel in other competitions. On 13 September 2011, Bianchi tested for Ferrari at Fiorano, as part of the Ferrari Driver Academy, with fellow academy member and Sauber F1 driver Sergio Pérez. Bianchi completed 70 laps and recorded a quickest lap time of 1:00.213. For the 2012 season, Ferrari loaned him to the Sahara Force India team, for whom he drove in nine Friday free practice sessions over the course of the year as the outfit’s test and reserve driver.

On 1 March 2013, Marussia announced that Bianchi was to replace Luiz Razia as a race driver after Razia’s contract was terminated, due to sponsorship issues. Bianchi qualified 19th for the Australian Grand Prix, out-qualifying team-mate Max Chilton by three-quarters of a second. Bianchi overtook Pastor Maldonado, and Daniel Ricciardo on the first lap and he eventually finished 15th on his debut. He was 19th on the grid again in Malaysia, 0.3 seconds away from Q2. Bianchi fell behind the Caterhams at the start of the race, but moved up the order after the pit stops, eventually going on to finish 13th, ahead of his teammate, and both Caterhams. As of the Hungarian Grand Prix, Bianchi had beaten his teammate in all qualifying sessions and all races that both of them had finished. In the Japanese Grand Prix he and Charles Pic of Caterham were given ten-place grid penalties for receiving three reprimands over the season, and at the race, his race ended early after a collision with Giedo van der Garde.

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FORMULA 1

PASTOR MALDONADO’S HUNGARIAN GRAND PRIX PREVIEW

 

Are you looking forward to Budapest?

The Hungarian Grand Prix is one of the best of the season. We are very close to the city of Budapest which is a place that I like very much. There is a big community of fans at the race weekend and the people are very friendly. On track it can be very challenging. The weather is usually very hot there meaning that it is very demanding from a physical point of view. It is one of the races that I enjoy best because of these demands and I really like the challenge that it presents.

What are your thoughts on the Hungaroring?

It is a very demanding circuit for drivers as it is often very hot and there are limited overtaking opportunities. It has quite a slow speed layout and we’ve looked quite good with the E23 in low speed corners so it will be interesting to see how quick we are here. Qualifying is so important at this track because of the small number of overtaking opportunities, but I’ve qualified well there in the past so hopefully I can deliver a strong performance. I have won in Budapest in other categories so the track has good memories for me. The fans create a good atmosphere and it’s always nice to race at a track where there is a good feeling like this. I am looking forward to the weekend.

Your Silverstone race was rather short…

It was a great race at Silverstone; I know this as I was sat in the motorhome watching it! For sure, this was not how I wanted to spend my race; I wanted to be sat in my car racing. It’s such a satisfying feeling when you’re racing in mixed conditions like we saw for the British Grand Prix. It’s also such an unsatisfying feeling when you realise your race is over so early.

What happened?

My car was hit by Romain’s as he had been tipped into a spin by Daniel Riccardo. I actually thought my car was okay except for a puncture so I tried to get back to the pits to change tyres. Unfortunately, what I could feel from the back of my car was not a puncture, it was oil leaking and making the tyre lose traction. As soon as Mark, my engineer, come over the radio to tell me to switch the car off I knew it was game over.

What do you do after a short race like that?

Your first thought once you’ve seen that everyone is okay and you realise your race is over is ‘how do I get back to the garage?’ I spoke to the guys in the garage when I did get back, then there wasn’t really much you can say in the debrief. After that I watched the race with guests and personnel in our motorhome. As a racer you never want to be watching the race live on TV as you should be in it, but it was a good race to watch nevertheless!

The Hungarian Grand Prix represents the halfway mark in the season and it’s the final race before the summer break; what would your half term report card say and what are your targets for the second half of the season?

My target is the same as for all the races at the start of the year; to score as many points as possible and finish the race in the best position I can. I think my first half report card would say good things for effort, but the results didn’t come. Certainly I believe we’ll get better finishes in the second half of the season.

INDY CAR

All-American Podium Sweep at Iowa Speedway, Hunter-Reay Claims Win

NEWTON, Iowa (July 18, 2015) – American drivers swept the top four positions – and six of the top seven – as Andretti Autosport driver Ryan Hunter-Reay captured his first victory of the Verizon IndyCar Series season Saturday night in the Iowa Corn 300. Hunter-Reay prevailed by .5046 of a second over Josef Newgarden to become the ninth different winner in 13 Verizon IndyCar Series races this season.

Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidate Sage Karam finished a career-high third. Graham Rahal placed fourth for his third consecutive top-five finish, and Carlos Munoz, who won at Detroit in May, was fifth.

The last time Americans swept the podium in a Verizon IndyCar Series event was the 2006 Indianapolis 500 Mile Race, when Michael Andretti followed winner Sam Hornish Jr. and Marco Andretti across the finish line in one of the most historic finishes at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

It was the sixth consecutive victory for Andretti Autosport at Iowa Speedway and the third victory at the track for Hunter-Reay, who was also battling Newgarden for the win one year ago, when he beat the CFH Racing driver to the finish line by .5814 of a second.

“The No. 28 DHL Honda was on rails at the end,” said Hunter-Reay, who had only one top-five finish this season entering the race. “This one we really had to work for. After a tough season, this one is really nice.”

Following a Lap 278 restart, Hunter-Reay held off multiple challenges by Newgarden in the No. 67 Wichita State University/CFH Racing Chevrolet.

“To finish second was bittersweet,” said Newgarden, who qualified seventh. “We had a winning car, but it’s a credit to the team to finish second.”

Juan Pablo Montoya’s championship points lead appeared to take a hit when the No. 2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet made right-side contact with the Turn 2 SAFER Barrier on Lap 10 of the 300-lap race. It was his first DNF of the season and the first in 18 races since the 2014 race at Iowa Speedway.

“We had a good car. It was a little loose the first couple of laps, so I was just really taking it easy, biding my time,” said Montoya, who qualified third. “Something broke.”

A mechanical issue in the final third of the race plagued the No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet of Scott Dixon, who entered the race 54 points behind, and an 11th-place finish by pole sitter Helio Castroneves, allowed Montoya to enter the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio on Aug. 2 relatively unscathed.

Rahal moved to second in the standings — 42 points behind — while Dixon, who finished 18th, is 48 points back and Castroneves is 54 points out of the lead.

The Premiere Motorsport Podcast