ROSSI WORKS TWO-STOP STRATEGY TO WINNING PERFECTION AT MID-OHIO
LEXINGTON, Ohio (Sunday, July 29, 2018) – About the only wheel Alexander Rossi turned wrong in Sunday’s Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio came when he attempted a victory doughnut in the No. 27 NAPA AUTO PARTS Honda. His car slid off track and became stuck in the grass.
Otherwise it was an exceptional day for the Andretti Autosport driver, who won the Verizon IndyCar Series race at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course by 12.8285 seconds. Rossi was the only driver in the 24-car field to complete the 90-lap race in two pit stops, while everyone else needed three.
HONDA INDY 200 AT MID-OHIO: Official results
It made all the difference as Rossi picked up his fourth career win and second of the season. Rossi also advanced one position in the championship standings, moving into second place, 46 points behind Scott Dixon after 13 of 17 races.
“It’s what we needed. We said coming into this weekend that we have to execute for five (race) weekends in a row; this is the start of that, hopefully,” Rossi said. “The NAPA Andretti team was so on it today. They gave me an amazing race car, and this one’s for them.”
Starting from the pole position after winning the Verizon P1 Award in Saturday qualifying, Rossi led 66 laps around Mid-Ohio’s 2.258-mile, 13-turn permanent road course. After achieving the necessary fuel mileage early in the race, he and strategist Rob Edwards decided to gamble on the two-stop strategy.
He pitted for Sunoco E85 ethanol and Firestone tires on Laps 29 and 59, running the final 31 laps (70 miles) on a single tank. When Schmidt Peterson Motorsports’ Robert Wickens made his third pit stop from the lead on Lap 65, Rossi assumed first place and was never threatened.
“It was great strategy all day,” Rossi said. “We knew we could two-stop it if we committed early, and that’s what we did. Great fuel mileage from Honda, great tire life from Firestone, so really an all-around perfect day.
“On races like that, you’ve just got to be really patient. It’s hard sometimes, but Rob is a very calming force and just talked me through it, and we were able to manage it. We were planning on seeing if we could hit a (fuel) number. Then if we could, we were going to do two stops. It was a little bit up to me to see if we could manage it. When we were able to hit it pretty easily, then, yeah, we committed.”
The victory was No. 60 for Andretti Autosport in Indy car competition, but its first at Mid-Ohio.
Wickens, the series rookie driving the No. 6 Lucas Oil SPM Honda, finished second to equal his best result set at ISM Raceway in the second race of the season. Wickens now has seven top-five finishes this season and is solidly in sixth place in the standings.
“We stuck to our guns, and I thought our (three-stop) strategy worked well,” Wickens said. “The problem is, on my third stint, I just got stuck in a whole gaggle of cars. Unfortunately, they were on reds (Firestone alternate tires) and I was on black (primary tires), and I couldn’t make it through and just lost loads of time. I was probably losing about a second a lap for a good 10-15 laps.
“It’s unfortunate. Nevertheless, the Lucas Oil car went from P5 to P2. I can’t complain.”
Will Power finished third in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet in his 200th Indy car race, just ahead of teammate Josef Newgarden in the No. 1 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet.
Dixon, the five-time Mid-Ohio winner driving the No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda, made career start No. 300 and finished fifth. Dixon, third on the all-time Indy car wins list with 44, has now placed in the top five in exactly half of his races.
With 150 top-fives, Dixon moved ahead of A.J. Foyt and alone into second place in Indy car history, trailing only Mario Andretti (194).
“Basically, a frustrating day,” Dixon said after seeing his points lead shrink by 16. “I think the car had some good speed. We were really quick early on in a stint, (then) we kind of faded a little bit. The track condition was just not great.
“We would pit and one of the cars in front of us, or right around us, would pit, too, and we’d fall behind them and it just kind of put us back. It was one of those days where one little, tiny move could have jumped us another two or three spots.”
BOCCOLACCI STREAKS TO ASSERTIVE BUDAPEST RACE 2 WIN
MICK SCHUMACHER CLAIMS MAIDEN FIA FORMULA 3 EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIP VICTORY
Event: 05 Spa-Francorchamps
Session: Race 3
Track: Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps / B
Pole position: Guanyu Zhou (PREMA Theodore Racing)
Race winner: Mick Schumacher (PREMA Theodore Racing)
Weather: overcast, drying track, 21.9 °C
At the legendary 7.004 kilometres long Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps, Mick Schumacher (PREMA Theodore Racing) claimed his maiden FIA Formula 3 European Championship race win. Behind the 19-year-old German, who had started the race at a drying track from sixth on the grid, rookie drivers Robert Shvartzman (PREMA Theodore Racing) and Marcus Armstrong (PREMA Theodore Racing) came second and third respectively. With his seventh podium finish of the current season, Ferrari-backed New-Zealander Armstrong also claimed back the lead in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship drivers’ standings. He is one point ahead of second-placed Daniel Ticktum (Motopark).
At the start, Marcus Armstrong took the lead while Mick Schumacher came out on top in a fierce battle with Guanyu Zhou at the end of the Kemmel straight. Schumacher returned from the opening lap in third place behind Armstrong and Robert Shvartzman.
On the following laps, the Prema trio was able to pull away from the rest of the field that was led by Jehan Daruvala (Carlin). While the Indian lost his fourth place to Jüri Vips (Motopark), Armstrong got under increasing pressure from Shvartzman. On lap nine, Schumacher also became involved in the battle for the lead and made his move one lap later. Firstly, he overtook Shvartzman. Then he put his car alongside Armstrong’s with a brave move at the famous Eau Rouge corner and moved up into the lead. He held on to this position until the chequered flag was out and this celebrated his maiden race win in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship.
In the 15th race of the FIA Formula 3 European Championship season, the drivers who finished behind race winner Schumacher in the top ten were Shvartzman, Armstrong, Vips, Daniel Ticktum, Enaam Ahmed (Hitech Bullfrog GP), Jonathan Aberdein (Motopark), Sebastian Fernandez (Motopark), Alex Palou (Hitech Bullfrog GP) and Fabio Scherer (Motopark). The 16th to 18th race of the season will be taking place at Silverstone in three weeks.
Mick Schumacher (PREMA Theodore Racing): “Winning at Spa is a great feeling after I unfortunately wasn’t able to convert yesterday’s pole position into a race success. As it seems, Spa is a good venue for the Schumacher family. When I saw the rain this morning, I was already happy: I very much like rain and mixed conditions. In the overtaking manoeuvre against Marcus, I was able to attack him from the slipstream. I already made a similar move in race one and therefore I knew that it would work out.”
LCH AKA JESUS TAKES STUNNING POLE IN HUNGARY
LCH took pole position for the Hungarian Grand Prix after delivering a masterclass in the rain.
Sebastian Vettel was expected to be the fastest in the dry, but, as ever, LCH turned on the style when the heavens opened.
The Englishman beat team-mate Valtteri Bottas by a quarter of a second to the top slot on the grid, while Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen third.
Vettel, 17 points behind Hamilton in the championship, finished only fourth, more than half-a-second down on his rival.
Dark clouds hovered over the Hungaroring before large claps of thunder ensured a downpour was imminent.
Moments later, the rain arrived to ensure the first wet qualifying session since last September’s Italian Grand Prix. On that day, Hamilton prevailed with a remarkable lap, and here the Briton was at it again to prove his credentials in the slippery conditions.
Vettel, who crashed out from the lead of his home race in Germany last week, appeared cautious, and will now have his work cut out from fourth at a track where overtaking is difficult.
“We couldn’t have expected this because Ferrari have been quickest all weekend,” Hamilton, only fourth in final practice, said. “We were going to try and do our best to be as close to them as possible, but then the heavens opened and it was fair game.
“It is so tricky out there. Towards the end it was getting really wet and it is difficult to arrive at the corner and know how much grip you are going to have.
“That was massively challenging. You are tip-toeing around like a ballerina. We are in a great position so we are going to do our best to keep the red guys behind us.”