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INDYCAR

ROSSI DOMINATES ROAD ATLANTA

For Alexander Rossi, an utterly dominant drive to victory in the REV Group Grand Prix presented by AMR was just the tonic he needed.

The Andretti Autosport driver led every lap but one Sunday on Road America’s demanding, high-speed permanent road course, winning by 28.4391 seconds over Will Power. It gave Rossi a second victory in the 2019 NTT IndyCar Series season and the seventh of his four-year career. More importantly, it closed the 27-year-old Californian within seven points of the championship lead with seven races remaining.

“It was probably one of the best race cars I’ve ever had,” Rossi said of his No. 27 NAPA AUTO PARTS Honda.

“We have been quick through the whole season, but we just haven’t really had it come our way as many times as we want, for one reason or another. … To come out and be able to do what we did today is a huge testament to the whole organization.”

REV GROUP GRAND PRIX PRESENTED BY AMR: Official results

Starting second, Rossi passed pole sitter Colton Herta on the first of 55 laps around the 14-turn, 4.014-mile circuit and was never challenged. The only lap Rossi didn’t lead came on the last of his three pit stops in the caution-free race. He returned to the top of the leaderboard when Graham Rahal made his last stop a lap later.

Rossi is on a run of five finishes of first or second place in the past seven races, beginning with a victory at the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach in April. He’s as close to the championship lead now as he has been all season. Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden, who finished third Sunday, has 402 points to Rossi’s 395.

“Obviously you don’t want to complain about getting second places because they’re good results,” said Rossi, who had three runner-up results in the previous four races. “But it was just a win that we needed to do. We’ve been there and thereabouts, but the Penske cars were getting the upper hand on us. To be able to go out and win a race the way we did and state our intentions, we’ll regroup the next couple of weeks and come hard again in Toronto.”

Power started third in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet, moved up a position through the first round of pit stops and remained there to log his best finish of the 2019 season. Newgarden, in the No. 2 REV Group Team Penske Chevrolet, followed a similar path to his teammate – starting fourth, advancing to third on the first round of stops and holding steady the rest of the race.

The third-place finish was Newgarden’s sixth podium result of the season – including a series-leading three victories – but the Tennessean admitted he and Power couldn’t match Rossi on this day.

“We obviously didn’t have enough today,” Newgarden said. “We were a little shy; probably a lot shy, actually.

“Alex and Andretti (Autosport), they were too good for us today. We’ve got to come back to the drawing board, try to figure out what we’re missing. I have confidence we’ll do that.”

Rahal finished fourth in the No. 15 Gehl/Manitou Honda. Reigning NTT IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon recovered from first-lap contact with Ryan Hunter-Reay that dropped him to last place in the 23-car field to finish fifth.

FORMULA 1

LCH ADMITS WINNING ALL IS BORING…

“We don’t write the rules,” he said. “We have nothing to do with the money shift [between the teams] and all that stuff. You should put the pressure on the people that are at the head, that should be doing the job.

“I think they are trying to. But for many, many years they’ve made bad decisions.”

Asked if he had ever considered “showboating” by allowing rivals ahead of him to spice up the action, Hamilton said that he “can’t win” however he achieves success.

He said he had really enjoyed his battle in Canada after hounding Sebastian Vettel throughout the grand prix, despite only winning because of his rival’s five-second penalty.

Hamilton added: “Those are the races that generally people enjoy most. These ones [the French GP] are not the ones people enjoy most.

“I think it’s important for people to realise it’s not the drivers’ fault. This is a constant cycle of F1 for years and years and years, even before I got to F1.

“It’s because the way Bernie [Ecclestone, ex-F1 boss] had it set up, the decisions they were making back then. It’s still the same and until that [rulemaking] structure changes it will continue to be the same in my opinion.

“That’s not my job to do that. My job’s to come here and do the best I can as a driver.”

Though Hamilton will not do anything artificially to enhance the spectacle on track, he said he is hoping to make a difference away from races.

The five-time world champion joined Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg and Grand Prix Drivers’ Association head Alex Wurz in attending a crucial FIA summit over F1’s 2021 rules in Paris last week.

“Do I have confidence it’s going to shift massively? I have faith it’s going to get better,” he said. “To the point where I went to Paris last week to get involved.

“I was in that meeting, watching all the bosses of F1, the FIA, the teams, trying to get involved. I have nothing to gain by being there.

“They’ve been making all these decisions and never once had a driver’s input in that room. If that can be the decisive point that can help shift it and give fans better racing I would be proud to be a part of that.”

FORMULA 2

HUBERT WINS SPRINT RACE AT HOME

Frenchman dominates in Round 5 Sprint Race
Anthoine Hubert became the first ever Frenchman to win at home in the FIA Formula 2 Championship with a Sprint Race victory at Le Castellet. It is the BWT Arden ace’s second win in three races, topping a podium of three rookies, with Juan Manuel Correa in second and Guanyu Zhou in third.
The Renault junior’s sternest test would come when the lights went out, as Jack Aitken made a searing start off the line and sprinted down the right of four cars, claiming second at the first corner when Jordan King went wide. In front of a sea of French flags, the BWT Arden of Hubert was the only machine to resist Aitken’s charge.
Championship contender Nicholas Latifi enjoyed a similarly strong start, leaping ahead of Correa for third and a potential podium place. His title rival Nyck De Vries had no such luck, dropping two places to ninth and out of the points.
Anthoine Hubert (FRA, BWT ARDEN), celebrates victory on the podium by holding a French Tricolore
Having claimed the scalps of all but one in front of him, Aitken was determined to complete the set and had Hubert within DRS range once it was enabled. Behind him, Correa reclaimed third from Latifi, before the DAMS driver locked up and lost a further place to the fast improving Zhou. Aitken took a brief look to the right of the Frenchman in front of him, but opted to bide his time – a choice he later came to regret.
Having been so intent on catching the frontrunner, the British driver failed to see the Sauber Junior Team by Charouz car gathering pace behind him. Quickest on track, Correa nabbed P2 from the Campos Racing driver at the north chicane, narrowly avoiding a kiss of tyres.
Aitken was further condemned as he watched Zhou thunder past him shortly after, with his team telling him to ‘pick up the pace’ on the radio. Defending fourth from the clutches of Latifi and Sérgio Sette Câmara would fast become his priority.
Out in front, Hubert was proving imperious, building up a 2s gap over Correa despite the American setting another fastest lap. Further meat was added to the three-way tussle for fourth as Sette Câmara pounced on Latifi at the Signes corner. The Canadian attempted to fight back as they exited the turn and briefly reclaimed the position, but his teammate eventually made the move stick.
De Vries’ morning had looked to be improving after moves on Nobuharu Matsushita and Jordan King put him back in the points, but his relief wouldn’t last long. Louis Delétraz, Callum Ilott and Matsushita had all lined up behind him and he was back out of the points by the final lap, having seen all three dovetail past him.
Hubert crossed the finish line to a rapturous home crowd, who roared in support of their countryman’s race win. Correa settled for second, while Zhou completed a trio of rookies on the podium for the first time this campaign. Aitken held on to fourth ahead of Sette Câmara, Latifi, Delétraz and Ilott.
De Vries retains his Championship lead with 121 points, but is now just 12 ahead of second placed Latifi. Aitken is third on 85 points, with Sette Câmara on 80 and Zhou on 76. In the Teams’ standings, DAMS are first on 179 points, with UNI-Virtuosi Racing on 143. ART Grand Prix are third with 127, ahead of fourth placed Campos Racing on 115, with Carlin fifth on 66.

FORMULA 3

DARUVALA TAKES BACK TO BACK WINS IN FRANCE

PREMA Racing secure one-two in Le Castellet

Jehan Daruvala made it back-to-back FIA Formula 3 race wins and three in a row for PREMA Racing, as he came from second to win in Le Castellet, France. There was heartbreak for polesitter Jake Hughes, who lost P1 to the Indian, before making contact with Marcus Armstrong whilst battling for position and dropping to the back of the grid. Robert Shwartzman took advantage of the turmoil to claim P2, with Pedro Piquet completing the podium.

Jehan Daruvala (IND) PREMA Racing, celebrates after winning the race

Hughes made the perfect getaway when the lights went out, standing firm in first and setting the fastest lap. Shwartzman suffered contrasting fortunes and dropped back to 6th, behind his PREMA teammates, as well as Piquet and Bent Viscaal.

Daruvala had briefly lost second to Piquet with a slow start of his own, but soon reclaimed the position with a move that seemed to take an age. Armstrong and Shwartzman followed their teammate a lap later down the mistral straight, as the Brazilian’s strong start quickly unravelled. Further back, Jüri Vips had been optimistic with an overtake on Alex Peroni and looked to have moved too early, but he earned himself a second shot and made it count for P6.

Daruvala’s slow start became a distant memory and he started pilling the pressure onto the experienced Brit in front of him, quickly coming into DRS range. The Indian made his pace advantage count and rattled past Hughes in an all too easy move when the Briton ached around a corner too slowly.

With anger seeping through him, Hughes hurtled back onto the tail of the new race leader, but skidded off track and nearly lost second to Armstrong, who could see his opportunity opening. The Kiwi muscled his way past shortly after, through the tightest of gaps.

As opposed to ending the battle between them, this only proved to intensify it. Hughes kept his emotions in check to shrewdly slide back into second a lap later, with the aid of DRS. Shwartzman added a third name to the bout as he closed in on the Kiwi, before the duo took advantage of an uncharacteristic wobble from the English driver and both surged past after he went wide.

Now out of the podium places, the former poleman suffered a bout of red mist in his fury to recover. Shwartzman overtook Armstrong, and Hughes eyed an all too tight gap around the chicane. He attempted the manoeuvre, but lost the rear around Turn 8 and clipped the back of the New Zealand driver, sending them both into a spin. Armstrong managed to recover for fifth, but the HWA RACELAB man plummeted to the back of the grid and offered a heart-breaking apology to his team.

With bedlam playing out behind him, Daruvala built up a steady 3s lead out in front and seemed assured of the race win heading towards the final lap. Now up to third, a three-way tussle between Shwartzman, Piquet and Vips commenced with little time left. The gap between them was microscopic, but with just a lap to go, there was little time to be gained and the trio retained their positions come the chequered flag.

Daruvala was first through to secure his second win of the campaign, while Shwartzman followed for a PREMA one-two, with Piquet in third. Vips , Bent Viscaal, Armstrong, Yuki Tsunoda, Peroni, Liam Lawson and David Beckmann followed.

FORMULA 2

SETTE CAMARA ON TOP AT PAUL RICARD

DAMS driver looks in-form in Le Castellet
Sérgio Sette Câmara ran fastest in Free Practice for the first time this season, setting the Le Castellet benchmark at 1:44.009. Nyck De Vries had led the majority of the session until the DAMS’ driver unlocked untapped pace from his machine and lapped the circuit 0.600s quicker for P1, with Luca Ghiotto behind them in third.
Fresh from FP1 with Williams F1, Nicholas Latifi was already accustomed to the Circuit Paul Ricard and this was evident in the opening stages, as the Championship leader took control of the session, setting the early laptime at 1:45.556.
Not to be outdone, De Vries soon cracked the 1m46s barrier himself and leapt above the Canadian, knowing that a strong weekend could take him ahead of Latifi in the Championship standings. The battle between the two intensified and the DAMS’ driver would smash last year’s quickest Free Practice time – set by Lando Norris – to go top once again.
Undeterred, De Vries simply upped his game once more and ran the circuit quicker to reclaim P1. The Canadian spun on Turn 8 in his attempts to match the Dutchman and later dropped out of the top 10. Behind them, the rest of the pack appeared to be playing catch-up; Mick Schumacher and Ghiotto both had attempts on P1, but fell short and could only manage second.
With 10 minutes of the session remaining, De Vries’ control looked unassailable and it took a mammoth effort to seize the place. This came in the shape of a DAMS’ driver, however, this time it was the number five of Sette Câmara. His lap of 1:44.009 was an impressive 0.600s faster than De Vries and four-tenths quicker than last year’s pole time. The duo were followed by Ghiotto, Callum Ilott, Guanyu Zhou, Sean Gelael, Ralph Boschung and Nobuharu Matsushita.

F1Weekly podcast # 793

CLARK IS ELATED THAT FERNANDO ALONSO TOOK THE CHECKERED FLAG AT LE MANS LAST WEEK AND REFUSES TO LISTEN TO THE NEGATIVE PRESS ON THE RESULTS MEANWHILE NASIR IS SHOCKED AT THE HOST’S LE NASCAR NEWS!

AS THE HOST MENTIONS IN THE PROGRAM ON THE UPCOMING PEBBLE BEACH CONCOURS D’ELEGANCE BENTLEY WILL BE THE FEATURED MARK.

Bentley Will Rule the Competition Field This Year

In its centennial year, Bentley takes center stage at the 2019 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, as one glance at the concours poster makes clear. Painted by renowned modern impressionist Alfredo De la Maria of Argentina, the poster features a magnificent 1931 Bentley 8 Litre making its way past the crowd on Concours Sunday.

Bentleys will constitute about a quarter of this year’s concours competitors, filling six complete classes that include several special groupings. Offerings will range from the earliest surviving 3 Litre to a multitude of racing greats and several superlative postwar cars.

The car featured on the concours poster is probably the most coveted 8 Litre in the world. Ordered by pioneering Welsh aviator and Brooklands racer Captain Vivian Hewitt, it was the ultimate sporting machine, pairing a short chassis with a lightweight body, massive power (witness the enormous side exhaust) and large Le Mans–style fuel tank and gauges. Hewitt drove this Bentley just under 7,000 miles in the 1930s, then parked it in a barn where it slumbered for 26 years. Now owned by Daniel Sielecki, it remains an unrestored original.

“In past years some spectacular Bentleys have gathered here—particularly our 2009 showcase of Bentley team and race cars that included Old Numbers 1, 2 and 3, as well as Birken Blowers 1 through 4—but I can confidently say the Bentleys headed our way on this occasion promise to surpass past displays,” said Concours Chairman Sandra Button.

Walter Owen Bentley, who preferred the simple moniker “W.O.,” founded his namesake company on July 10, 1919. The brilliant engineer, who pioneered the use of alloy metals in automotive and aircraft engines, served at its helm just a dozen years before the financial stress of the Great Depression forced the company’s sale to rival Rolls-Royce. But in that short time, Bentley forged a legacy that survives to this day—as does the Bentley marque, which is now in the hands of the Volkswagen Group.

When the first 24 Hours of Le Mans was being organized in 1923, W.O. thought the idea was “crazy,” noting “cars aren’t designed to stand that sort of strain!” But he soon set about building cars that could meet that challenge—and Bentleys won five of the first eight Le Mans races. They were also victorious in numerous other races and endurance challenges.

“W.O. made an indelible mark on history,” said Peter Hageman, a Concours Selection Committee member who has been involved in gathering the Bentleys for the coming event. “He created heroic cars that were driven to glory by heroic men and women. Their stories fueled the imaginations and desires of a host of early automotive enthusiasts, and they continue to inspire us today.”

The Bentleys that drive onto the 18th fairway of Pebble Beach Golf Links on August 18 will meet a place marking a centennial of its own. As W.O. was creating his company in England, Pebble Beach Resorts was being carved into the West Coast of the United States under the guidance of Samuel F. B. Morse. For a century now, it has served as home to major competitions and great champions.

A Bentley last claimed the Best of Show trophy at the Pebble Beach Concours in 1965. Will the marque win again at this centennial celebration?

Play Podcast: 06-18-19f1weekly793.mp3