Qualifying for the French F1 Grand Prix was won by the leader of the Verstappen championship

Qualifying for the French F1 Grand Prix was won by the leader of the Verstappen championship

Francois Mori, ČTK / AP

Verstappen finished 1: 29.990 for the second pole position of the season. Hamilton, who is losing four points to him in the second place in the standings after six races so far, was defeated by 258 thousandths of a second by the Dutch pilot.

The Red Bull driver, who also started from the first place in the inaugural race of the year in Bahrain, ended Hamilton’s dominance in France. The seven-time world champion at the Le Castellet circuit won the qualification and the race in 2018 and 2019. Last year there was no race due to a pandemic.

Valtteri Bottas from Mercedes took third place with a loss of 386 thousandths to Verstappena and Sergio Pérez from Red Bull was fourth. The winner of the previous two qualifications, Charles Leclerc of Ferrari, finished seventh.

“Pole position is great, mainly because we are doing well on the track, where we usually don’t do well,” said Verstappen. “But the main thing will come tomorrow, when we have to get 25 points, which we lost in Baku,” he recalled last race, in which a defect deprived him of victory.

“So far, it’s a very demanding weekend. Mainly because we can’t get the power we need from the car. And we’ve made a lot of changes here since the first practice,” said Hamilton, 36. “The racing pace of the Red Bull is a tenth or two faster, but we will try to attack after the start and then it could be an interesting tactical battle. I think it could even rain tomorrow,” the British pilot added.

Qualification for the French GP, F1 race at Le Castellet:
1. Verstappen (Niz./Red Bull) 1:29,990
2. Hamilton (Brit./Mercedes) -0,258
3. Bottas (Fin./Mercedes) -0.386
4. Pérez (Mex./Red Bull) -0.455
5. Sainz (Šp./Ferrari) -0,850
6. Gasly (Fr./Alpha Tauri) -0,878
7. Leclerc (Mon./Ferrari) -0,997
8. Norris (Brit./McLaren) -1,262
9. Alonso (Šp./Alpine) -1,350
10. Ricciardo (Austr./McLaren) -1,392.

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Pech dominated the Hustopeče Rally, Kopecký is still leading the championship

Pech dominated the Hustopeče Rally, Kopecký is still leading the championship

The reigning Czech champion Václav Pech won for the fourth time in the career of the Hustopeče Rally, the third part of the Czech Republic Championship. Jan Kopecký, who is still at the top of the series, finished second, six seconds apart. The third place was won by the defending champion from last year’s Filip Mareš, who was 27 seconds behind Pech.

Václav Šálek, ČTK

Pech, starting with a special WRC category, was at the Moravian rally between vineyards at the head from the first special stage and finally won seven of the ten timed tests. The second and third place did not change either. Kopecký, who won the rally seven times, lost at least after the third stage, when he was 1.3 seconds behind Pech. After the eighth test, however, the later winner gained a lead of over ten seconds and the 16th year of the competition became his prey.

Jan Černý finished fourth with a gap of more than a minute. Dominik Stříteský won the battle for fifth place, overtaking Miroslav Jakeš by nine tenths of a second in the last test.

The Czech championship continues with the Rally Bohemia, which will take place on July 10 and 11.

Agrotec Petronas Rallye Hustopeče, MČR race in car competitions:
1. Pech, Uhel (Ford Focus WRC) 1: 16: 54.0
2. Kopecký, Hloušek -6.1
3. Mares, Bucha -27.1
4. Černý, Černohorský (all Škoda Fabia Rally2 Evo) -40.4
5. Stritesky, Hovorka -1: 20.3
6. Jakes, Machu -1: 21,2
7. Březík, Krajča (all Škoda Fabia R5) -1: 44.8
8. Odložilík, Tureček (Škoda Fabia Rally2 Evo) -1: 56.8.

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Mercedes opens political attack on Red Bull’s fast pit stops

Mercedes opens political attack on Red Bull’s fast pit stops

This year Mercedes and Red Bull are engaged in a fierce title battle. Both teams are evenly matched and the game may eventually be decided on the details. An important detail in which Red Bull excels is the work in the pit lane.

Max Verstappen’s team has been in top form in that area for years and leaves the competition far behind. No other team has been able to record such quick pit stops as often and as consistently as Red Bull. In recent years, that was not the deciding factor due to the relatively large difference with Mercedes, but now it has become an important weapon of the Austrian racing stable.

Meanwhile, Mercedes is doing everything it can to slow down Red Bull, while occasionally shooting itself in the pit lane this year. In conversation with RTL Helmut tells Marko that this is because the team is sitting with their buttocks squeezed. “Yes, Mercedes is nervous. You can tell by their reaction, but we are not stooping to their level.”

Mercedes has launched an attack on Red Bull’s rear wing that they believe is too flexible in recent months, after which the FIA ​​tightened its tests to measure flexibility. Marko, however, does not want to know about such games. “We continue to focus on real things. The whole rear wing story was also just a storm in a teacup.”

Meanwhile, the team of Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas has opened a new attack, says Marko. According to the Red Bull advisor, Mercedes is targeting the pit stop equipment with which the team is able to carry out the super-fast pit stops. “Now they have also marked our pit stop material as illegal. That is also all hot air,” he sighs.

Marko reiterates that Red Bull does not want to lower itself to that level and continues to focus on winning races. “We are therefore concentrating on racing and we want to be optimally prepared for that. We do not concern ourselves with these peripheral matters. The uncertainty that Mercedes has shown, the psychological war they are waging, says enough. Max has had it before. said, but we let ourselves speak on the track.”

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Rinus VeeKay involved in an accident while cycling

Rinus VeeKay involved in an accident while cycling

The day after the race weekend in Detroit, where Rinus VeeKay achieved mixed results with a podium and eighteenth place, he jumped on his bike for a training trip.

During that trip he was involved in an accident, his team Ed Carpenter Racing reported on Twitter. He sustained an injury to his collarbone. It is not known whether it is broken or not.

He is being treated by IndyCar medical personnel, is in good spirits and thankfully has no other injuries. It is not yet clear whether VeeKay can participate this weekend at Road America, where the IndyCar circus will land.

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Veekay rewards strong IndyCar race with podium in Detroit

Veekay rewards strong IndyCar race with podium in Detroit

Pole position was for Arrow McLaren SP driver Pato O’Ward, who will test for the Formula 1 team of McLaren in December. Rinus ‘Veekay’ van Kalmthout, for whom the Belle Isle Park street circuit is completely new, will start in twelfth place on the red, soft tires.

At the start, Veekay loses one spot to Felix Rosenqvist, but he comes in right after two laps. It’s his way, like many others, to say goodbye to the right before the rest of the race reds. In the subsequent rounds, more and more people follow suit.

At the front is a huge train of cars that don’t have the pace on red tires. It is grist to Veekay’s mill, who can join that train in the midst of the leading group, only to see everyone fall away from him one by one. Due to his early stop, he climbs up to eleventh place after all the first pit stops, but once there, he immediately goes back in for new hard tires. He falls back to sixteenth place.

At the front it is Scott Dixon who shows his muscles on his hard tires from the start. If Veekay has already made two stops, the champion is still on his first stint, as are James Hinchcliffe (hard) and Santino Ferrucci (soft). Shortly after Veekay’s second pit stop, the race is halted. Felix Rosenqvist crashes heavily when throttle sticks in heavy braking zone. When he is freed from his car, the Swede is happily conscious and approachable.

Because you are not allowed to change tires or refuel in IndyCar during a code red, we already see a lot of people coming in during the warm-up laps. That’s pure gain for Veekay, who had pulled out just before the code red. He climbs in one go from P14 to fifth place. At the actual restart, Veekay immediately outwits Simon Pagenaud. A few laps later, Takuma Sato is his next victim and he is halfway through the race on the podium, at times less than a second from race leader Will Power.

In third position he makes his last pit stop, indicating that nothing needs to be changed on his Ed Carpenter Racing car. He falls back to P8, but as he pulls away he runs over one of the wheelguns. The team will be fined. Pit stops remain a thing with that team.

When everyone has made their last stop, Veekay is ‘just’ third again. He has one lap of fresher tires, a fuel advantage and more overtake seconds left. But Will Power and former Formula 1 driver Marcus Ericsson before him are not the least and in the end Veekay just doesn’t manage to hook up. Instead, he has to look in the mirrors, where Sato grows bigger and bigger. Sato makes short work of the Dutchman when Veekay is terribly held up by straggler Dalton Kellett. However, blue flags do not have to be honored in America.

O’Ward also reports under Veekay’s wing, but with six laps to go Romain Grosjean crashes. Again there is a code red. When the race is restarted a few minutes later, Penske can’t get leader Power’s car to start. Veekay thus wins a spot and is again third. The new race leader is then called Ericsson. At the start, Veekay throws his car in turn one right next to and past Sato’s car: P2!

Sato is then seen, but the new pursuer of Veekay is then again called O’Ward. However, he holds the Mexican behind, as he sees Ericsson drive to his first IndyCar win ahead of him. Veekay takes second, O’Ward third. This is how Veekay keeps everyone ahead of him in the championship, moving him up to P4 in the standings. The top ten in Detroit is completed by Sato, Rahal, Ferrucci, Rossi, Dixon, Jones and Newgarden.

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Verstappen: “If you don’t do that, you might as well stop”

Verstappen: “If you don’t do that, you might as well stop”

It’s very simple: a racing car has a steering wheel and two pedals, that’s all you need to know. Of course, driving a Formula 1 car is much more complex, but the thinking behind it is quite simple, says Max Verstappen in conversation with BBC Radio 1 Newsbeat.

“As a driver you always have to believe that you are the best. Whether I do that? Of course,” says the Dutchman resolutely. “You have to believe that you can beat anyone. If you really don’t think that’s possible, it’s better to stop. Because otherwise it won’t work.”

Who is currently the best is hotly debated almost daily. One will say Lewis Hamilton, the other Max Verstappen. The Red Bull driver himself is not so concerned with that. He focuses more on other things. “We’re racing each other at the limit. That’s exactly what everyone wants to see, right?”

When asked if Verstappen and Hamilton would ever grab a beer after the race, he responds with a chuckle: “You know, we are from two different generations. But of course, off the track we get along very well.”

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Red Bull adjusts car development program Verstappen and Perez

Red Bull adjusts car development program Verstappen and Perez

Red Bull fully intends to continue development of Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez’s RB16B as long as the world title claims remain. To this end, Verstappen recently urged the team again, to avoid a gross error of judgment.

Red Bull is flexible enough to change the program when circumstances require it. Last weekend such a circumstance made that Red Bull had to adjust its plans. Helmut Marko spoke on behalf of Red Bull about a ‘critical change’.

“The disappearance of the Singapore Grand Prix is ​​a crucial change with a view to the development of the car. After all, that circuit requires something completely different from the other circuit,” said the Austrian team advisor in conversation with Car, motor and sport.

The circuit in Singapore is a typical high downforcecircuit, similar to Monaco. The Hungaroring is too, but not as extreme as the two examples mentioned earlier: “But luckily we got the confirmation early so that we can adjust our development plan accordingly.”

Red Bull therefore estimates that they have enough time to adjust the program, but that does not alter the fact that Marko regrets that the Singapore Grand Prix has been cancelled: “That was an excellent circuit that suited the car well.” But hey, it’s no different.”

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Verstappen’s strategic options limited in Azerbaijan GP

Verstappen’s strategic options limited in Azerbaijan GP

With Pirelli’s choice to bring the softest tires to Azerbaijan this year, there was some hope that they might deviate from the traditional one-stop, all the more so as the time loss in the pit lane is limited compared to some other circuits. However, Pirelli has once again dashed that hope by stating that everyone will probably go for a one-stop.

Looking at the individual drivers’ remaining sets of tires, Pirelli seems to be right. After all, for the drivers who start in the top ten, Pirelli assumes one stint on the soft tires on which they start, and then finish the race on the hard tires. The pit stop window is quite limited. The less long life of the red tires leaves little room to drive much longer than the rest.

Polesitter Charles Leclerc as well as Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen have kept a new set of hard tires on hand. Hamilton even has two more, while Verstappen and Leclerc still have a set of medium tires left. However, Pirelli makes no mention of the possibility of a one-stop where you switch from soft to medium tires (see below).

Text continues below the image.

The ‘soft-hard’ strategy is therefore obvious for the top three, but in Baku there is a big ‘but’. The chance of a safety car is huge. The chance of a red flag is even life-sized. And if the race is neutralized to a greater or lesser extent and the mutual differences leave room for a ‘free’ pit stop, then the set of medium tires can suddenly be very valuable at a later stage in the race.

It is very possible that Red Bull and Ferrari have bet on that for Verstappen and Leclerc respectively. Smart, but in Monaco we saw that the drivers are all able to avoid a safety car period. And if the strategic advantage doesn’t fall in Verstappen’s way, he can always try to overtake Hamilton and Leclerc on track. In Monaco such a thing might have been almost impossible, in Azerbaijan certainly not.

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Verstappen sees opportunities during the race in Azerbaijan

Verstappen sees opportunities during the race in Azerbaijan

Unlike the race in the streets of Monaco, it is possible in Azerbaijan to overtake during the race. Max Verstappen’s third starting place on Sunday is therefore not a major disaster. However, after qualifying, the Dutchman was disappointed in conversation with, among others, RacingNews365 of the course of Saturday, because in his own words he could certainly have competed for pole.

“It was about building confidence, because it’s not easy here in Baku on the brakes. The whole qualifying, with all those red flags, didn’t make it easy for us. But yeah, the car felt good, despite the qualifying was a bit messy especially in Q3 the lap I did was pretty good but I would have liked a tow had on the way to the finish line. We were a bit slow on the straights, but so be it.”

The Dutchman never managed to make a second run in Q3 due to the red flag waved after Tsunoda’s crash. Sin, he judges himself. “I was really confident that we could definitely fight for pole position. During the weekend, but also during qualifying itself, I thought that. After I couldn’t practice my fast lap in the third practice, I had to slowly build up the speed in qualifying. That went well, but in Q3 we were unhappy”

However, third place is not the end of the world, the Red Bull driver also knows, who wants to make up for two places on Sunday. “We can fight from third place. I think we have a good race car and here in Azerbaijan it’s mainly about the tires, we have to keep them alive. That seemed to work well in the training sessions, so I’m looking forward to the race,” said Verstappen, who says he was not seriously affected by his crash in the third practice session.

“No,” he answers when asked. “Maybe in Q1 a little bit. Then you have to get a little feel for your braking points on the soft tyres, but I hadn’t used them on Saturday. However, from Q2 I just felt comfortable, so I don’t think the crash in the training has worked against me a lot.”

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Perez speaks of breakthrough: “Had the pace to go for pole”

Perez speaks of breakthrough: “Had the pace to go for pole”

Sergio Perez’s P7 is partly due to the code red at the end of Q3 which prevented him from improving his time. According to the Mexican, however, there was more to it, he says in conversation with, among others, RacingNews365.

“The Leclerc lap (polesitter, ed.) was maybe a bit too fast, but other than that we had the pace to fight for pole position. It wasn’t like in Monaco when we were really far from it. Today we really had the pace to get higher,” says Perez.

“I was doing a good lap until I locked up in turn four,” the Mexican continues. “I was a little too close to Lando (Norris, ed.) when the wind picked up and I blocked and lost my lap. But I was sure I could get a good lap out of it.”

However, chaotic Q3 meant that Perez didn’t get much further than P7, while his teammate Max Verstappen qualified in P3. “Today’s bad luck ruined our day. I think we should have been much further up front,” said Perez, who is not worried for Sunday. “It will be a long race where anything can happen.”

The fact that Perez can now keep up with the rest is because he has immersed himself more in the car. “We have analyzed a lot, weekend after weekend. It has been a long day for me, because I try to understand the differences here and there. Also my feedback and communication with the engineers are improving”

Still, the Mexican would have liked to be higher on the grid. “A lot of positive things, but I’m disappointed because we should have been at least in the top two on the front row. But we can drive a good race on Sunday.”

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