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Will Power claims second IndyCar title

Five drivers entered Sunday’s Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey at Laguna Seca with a chance to win the NTT IndyCar Series championship. Only Will Power left with the trophy.

Despite winning just once (Detroit in June), Power’s consistency throughout the season with nine podiums meant he only needed to finish in the top three to secure the title. As Álex Palou took the win, Power placed third to clinch his first crown since 2014. At the age of forty-one, he became the oldest IndyCar champion since Al Unser won in 1985 at forty-six. He is the sixth driver to win multiple IndyCar championships for Team Penske after Unser, Gil de Ferran, Rick Mears, Tom Sneva, and current team-mate Josef Newgarden; when expanded to include titles in other disciplines, the company also includes Power’s colleague Scott McLaughlin‘s three Supercars championships and Brad Keselowski‘s two in NASCAR.

Power qualified on the pole for a record sixty-eighth time in his career, breaking the tie for the most in IndyCar history with Mario Andretti. He led the opening lap to earn a bonus point and thus better his chances at the title, but pit strategy eventually resulted in Palou—who was mathematically out of the championship picture—taking the lead on lap 16 and holding it for much of the race. Running what will likely be his final race for Chip Ganassi Racing depending on how the situation with McLaren plays out, Palou kept his distance from the field, led sixty-seven of ninety-five laps, and easily won over Newgarden and Power by a margin of over thirty seconds.

Newgarden placed second in the standings for the third straight year as he was sixteen points back of Power with 544 to 560. The other drivers still in contention finished seventh (McLaughlin), ninth (Marcus Ericsson), and twelfth (Scott Dixon). Palou’s win promoted him past Ericsson for fifth in the final standings while McLaughlin was up to fourth, fifty points behind Power. Dixon finished third at 521.

“From the beginning, it was just playing the long game, not necessarily going for the big wins and all that,” said Power.

Ferrari’s Mattia Binotto: “There is still work to do when it comes to our performance on Sunday”

It was not the win that Scuderia Ferrari wanted at their home grand prix in the FIA Formula 1 World Championship.

Charles Leclerc started from first position on the grid at the Italian Grand Prix, but it didn’t take long for reigning World Champion Max Verstappen to catch-up and take first. The Monegasque ended up being on a different strategy to the Dutchman, which failed to work due to the championship leader’s superior pace.

It was a completely different day for Carlos Sainz Jr, with the Spaniard taking engine penalties meaning he would start eighteenth, but he raced brilliantly to finish fourth. Sainz made rapid progress through the field, and arguably would’ve been right amongst the victory fight had he not been forced into taking an engine penalty.

Ferrari Team Principal and Managing Director, Mattia Binotto, was pleased with the team’s performance despite not being able to clinch the win the team and fans hoped for.

“I believe our performance this weekend was better than that reflected in the final outcome. After a great qualifying in front of all our tifosi, in the race we tried to make the most of every opportunity, opting to be aggressive with both drivers.

Charles Leclerc: “Our expectations for this track were not very high”

It wasn’t the perfect Italian Grand Prix for Scuderia Ferrari, as Max Verstappen won another Grand Prix with the FIA Formula 1 World Championship at the business end of the season.

Charles Leclerc finished second place on the podium, but the Tifosi would have hoped for so much better with the fan favourite starting on pole position after a storming lap on Saturday. Carlos Sainz Jr. took engine penalties, which meant he started eighteenth on the grid and he had an action packed afternoon, making twenty overtaking moves in total as he limited the damage of the penalties finishing fourth.

Leclerc wanted to win the race but acknowledged that they weren’t sure on how they would cope at the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza.

“Monza is always incredible. Starting from pole, I did want to take the win. However, that’s not how it went today. Seeing our tifosi under the podium made it a lot better.

“Our pace was good and we have to keep in mind that our expectations for this track were not very high.

Mercedes’ Toto Wolff: “We need to catch up” after being only the “third fastest team”

The Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team once again had to settle for being the third fastest team, after failing to come close to the top-two steps of the podium at the Italian Grand Prix.

George Russell had a quiet race, after sitting in second-place in the races opening laps before being easily overtaken by race winner Max Verstappen. Lewis Hamilton had a much more eventful Grand Prix, having started from nineteenth place. The seven-time World Champion managed to work his way up to an impressive fifth-place, ahead of Oracle Red Bull Racing‘s Sergio Pérez.

Hamilton pulled off some great moves along the way, especially in a car that struggles with top speed. After the triple-header Mercedes find themselves thirty-five points behind Scuderia Ferrari, with six races remaining.

Team Principal Toto Wolff discussed his team’s performance, as well as the performance of Mercedes Reserve driver Nyck de Vries, who stepped in for Alex Albon on Saturday morning and managed to score points on his Formula 1 debut sensationally.

“We were clearly the third fastest team today, so third and fifth positions was probably the maximum we could expect. Although the gaps were not as big as in Spa, this was clearly a track that didn’t suit us, so it was a question of maximising our result and doing damage limitation with Lewis. It was enjoyable to watch him fight through the pack – he looked a little bit stuck at the beginning, then once the tyres came together, he was very quick. As for George, he did everything we asked of him, and it was another faultless drive.

“We had to do something different if we wanted to fight” – George Russell

George Russell endured a somewhat quiet Italian Grand Prix, with the British driver securing his second podium finish of the triple-header, which came to a close at the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza.

The Brit made a good start from second-place, but was unable to battle with polesitter Charles Leclerc. It wasn’t long until Russell was down to third, as eventual race winner Max Verstappen rapidly made his way past the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team driver, before starting his pursuit of Leclerc.

From that moment onwards the race was very uneventful for the British driver, who claimed a solid third-place finish. The result moves him to within seven points of Sergio Pérez in the Drivers’ Championship, with the Mexican currently occupying third.

Russell was disappointed with the W13’s pace in Monza, but is “satisfied” to have left a difficult weekend with another podium.

“Unfortunately, this weekend we were not where we wanted to be as a team – but like I said on the radio, it doesn’t matter if we are fast or slow, we keep getting these podium finishes. Over this triple header, two of the three weekends have been very difficult, and I’ve still come away with two podiums and a P4, so we’ve got to be satisfied with that.

Red Bull’s Christian Horner: “I’m not sure if anyone could stop Max today”

Red Bull Racing Team Principal Christian Horner was pleased with Max Verstappen’s strong win at the Italian Grand Prix, though he was disappointed to see a competitive race end under safety car conditions. 

“We would have liked to have seen the race play out today, we certainly didn’t want to win under a safety car. We believe there was enough time to get the race going but the safety car picked up George Russell which delayed proceedings. Despite that, we believe we had enough pace in hand on the one stop strategy.”

Horner said that Perez’s recovery to sixth place from his starting position of thirteenth after a grid penalty was “great”, though he faced troubles related to his brakes in his first stint. He added that Verstappen was essentially unstoppable against home favorites Scuderia Ferrari.

“Checo had to pit early because there was a flat spot, a lot of vibration, then a bit of debris got into the ducts which caused a small fire, but his recovery from there was great. Fastest lap for Checo too, so important points for him and the team.

“Max was yet again so impressive, even if they had the fastest car, I’m not sure if anyone could stop Max today.”

Verstappen takes fifth win in a row with Monza victory: “You have to try and be as perfect as you can be”

Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen took victory at the Italian Grand Prix, quickly overcoming his five-place grid penalty to take his fifth consecutive win. 

Verstappen said that avoiding a first lap incident was at the front of his mind after his seventh place start. He was, however, able to gain up to five positions in the opening lap, putting himself in a stellar position to battle pole-sitter Charles Leclerc for the win. 

“The first lap I had to be careful but we had a good start and were clean through the first chicane and for me that was the most important thing, to stay out of trouble. Then we were very quickly back up to P3 and even into P2, then I could set my sights on Charles and I could see we had better tyre degradation.”

Ultimately, Red Bull’s strategy won out against Ferrari’s in Monza, as Verstappen was leading when a late-race safety car was brought out to recover Daniel Ricciardo’s car after an engine failure. The race ended under safety car conditions, denying Leclerc the chance to fight for a grandstand finish and solidifying Verstappen’s victory. 

Verstappen said that the team was “comfortably the quickest” on Sunday and is proving to be one of the most consistent on the grid. With yet another victory under his belt, the championship is already Verstappen’s for the taking with several races still to go in the 2022 season. 

Verstappen Wins Italian Grand Prix After Charge From Seventh

Max Verstappen has won the sixteenth round of the 2022 FIA Formula 1 World Championship season, held at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza in Italy. This win has extended the reigning champion’s lead to the point where it is mathematically possible for him to win the Drivers’ Championship trophy at Singapore in three weeks’ time.

It didn’t take long for the Dutchman to work his way to the front – as has been the trend in the recent races. Verstappen made his way up to fourth by the end of the first lap and extended his stint, while Charles Leclerc pitted several laps earlier than his rival. The number one driver spent the majority of the race in the lead, and was able to capitalise on a late-race safety car in order to get a free pitstop. Scuderia Ferrari also pitted, hoping for the race to be restarted, but were unable to challenge as the Safety Car would not pit until the end of the final lap.

Sergio Pérez had an eventful race, with his first pitstop resulting in a small fire on his front-right brake disk. The fire would eventually extinguish naturally, but the luck would get worse for the Mexican, who pitted in the latter stages of the race as he was being chased by Lewis Hamilton. However, the deployment of the Safety Car meant he would not get a chance to overtake Hamilton and re-claim his position, resulting in a sixth place finish. Pérez did, however, score the extra point for fastest lap.

We nailed it 👌🇮🇹

We had an amazing start and I was able to quickly get in my rhythm. The car was absolutely flying and really enjoyable to drive all weekend, great work once again team! pic.twitter.com/vx7oTVKRFH

— Max Verstappen (@Max33Verstappen) September 11, 2022

The rest of the podium

Whatever Ferrari threw at them, Oracle Red Bull Racing had an answer, as is expected with the incredible combination of Verstappen and the RB18 this season. Leclerc was unable to close the gap to leader, Verstappen, after his switch to the Soft tyre in the second stint, and would cross the line in second place. Team-mate, Carlos Sainz, made a good recovery to finish fourth after taking an engine penalty and starting eighteenth.

Australian off-road legend Les Siviour dies after cancer battle

Les Siviour, a legendary name in the Australian off-road racing world, died Thursday night after a short battle with cancer. He had been diagnosed in late August.

A rice farmer, Siviour’s racing career began in 1982 when he attended an off-road race in Kempsey and was invited for a hot lap of the track alongside fellow fans. Driving his wife Jan‘s “shopping car” Nissan Patrol, he set such strong times that he was invited to race competitively. He made his début at the Riverland Enduro with the Patrol, which had its rear seats removed and a rollbar attached, and won his class.

The Patrol would become the vehicle of choice, with factory support from Nissan, throughout Siviour’s career in the Australian Off Road Championship (AORC). He won seventeen AORC Production 4WD championships with the Patrol, including fifteen straight years from 1983 to 1998. He also claimed the overall AORC title in 1987.

“We’ve raced Patrols for twenty years and we’ve won seventeen Australian Championships in them,” Siviour said in early 2022. “You can put these things up against any other 4WD, and they won’t match it. They’re built like a bloody tank. If I can’t break them, nobody will.”

He retired from racing in 2003, though he returned for one-offs at the 2005 and 2010 editions of the MTQ Engine Systems Griffith 700. The latter start came as co-driver to his daughter Katie, whose husband Shannon Rentsch is a nine-time AORC overall champion.

Noah Gragson wins rain-shortened Kansas Lottery 300

Winning a race because you were the leader when it started raining is anticlimactic, but Noah Gragson will gladly accept any victory.

Saturday’s Kansas Lottery 300 at Kansas Speedway did not even reach the halfway point when rain struck the track. As the first two stages had already been completed, NASCAR elected to end the event after 93 of 200 laps and awarded the win to Gragson, who was leading at the time as the Stage #2 winner. It is Gragson’s fifth NASCAR Xfinity Series win of the year, which ties him with Ty Gibbs for the most among all drivers in 2022, and second in a row.

Gragson took the lead shortly after the restart on lap 76, which was set up by Jeremy Clements‘ spin. He remained the leader when rain hit on lap 83 and resulted in a caution, but NASCAR elected to resume shortly after as there were only five laps left until the stage’s conclusion.

Gibbs clashed with Gragson’s JR Motorsports team-mate Justin Allgaier in the battle for second, which the latter won.

“I feel like we were just got into a weird restart line, but when the three guys stayed out, I just picked the wrong one,” Gibbs said. The “three guys” referred to Austin Hill, Brett Moffitt, and Ryan Sieg who decided against pitting prior to the late restart. “I thought it was the right one and it wasn’t.

Cottingham and Williamson take Pole at Brands whilst Steller dominate GT4 qualifying

Ian Loggie is going into this weekend’s race as a firm favourite for the Drivers’ Championship title; however, James Cottingham and Lewis Williamson made their intentions known, taking pole position in qualifying for what is the penultimate round of the 2022 season. Steller Motorsport’s Audi of Richard Williams and Sennan Fielding secured the top position in GT4.  

2 Seas Motorsport’s Cottingham and Williamson set the first and second fastest times in their individual sessions, combining to take pole position by 0.396s ahead of the Enduro Motorsport McLaren of Morgan Tillbrook and Marcus Clutton. The Redline Racing Lamborghini rounded out the top three and took pole in Silver Am.

In GT4, Steller Motorsport line up on the front row alongside the R Racing Aston Martin of Jamie Day and Josh Miller whilst the Toyota Gazoo Racing UK GR Supra of Tom Edgar and Jordan Collard starts third. Matt Topham and Darren Turner secured the Pro Am pole position for Newbridge Motorsport, however, their combined time was only good enough for seventh.

GT3

It was an incredibly strong performance from 2 Seas Motorsport, Cottingham and Williamson securing pole position from Enduro Motorsport. Championship leader Ian Loggie combined with Callum Macleod to secure fifth overall. Cottingham set the early pace and remained unbeaten until the end of the first qualifying session. Clutton lowered the gap to 0.091s by the end of the session. Adam Balon and Ian Loggie exchanged positions early in the first session before Andrey Borodin crashed the #24 Greystone GT McLaren on the Cooper Straight, bringing the session to a premature close.

2 Seas Motorsport, Mercedes AMG, GT3, Pro/Am, #4, James Cottingham, Lewis Williamson, Brands Hatch Kent United Kingdom © Craig Robertson

2 Seas held the early advantage moving into Qualifying 2, but were unable to top the session, James Dorlin set the quickest time of 1:22.969, going 0.013s faster than Williamson and within less than a tenth of the GT3 lap record. Dorlin’s performance was enough to move the Redline Lamborghini ahead of Barwell Motorsport and Ram Racing on combined times. Marcus Clutton finished fourth after having his final run impeded but was still quick enough to secure second on combined times.


Ferrari’s Laurent Mekies: “We dedicate this achievement to all our tifosi who never waver in their support for us”

Scuderia Ferrari Racing Director Laurent Mekies said that watching Charles Leclerc take pole position at the Italian Grand Prix was a “special feeling”, with crowds of tifosi on site to support the team in red. 

“Taking pole position in Monza, in front of a full crowd for the first time in two years, is a really special feeling. We dedicate this achievement to all our tifosi who never waver in their support for us.” 

Mekies said that it was not only a quick lap from Leclerc that earned the team pole, but a solid job from Carlos Sainz, who was able to help give his team-mate a tow. 

“Charles did a very good job, because once again he put together the perfect lap. Carlos also went very well, putting in similar times to his team-mate and playing the slipstream game. We had already done the same in France and Belgium and getting it right requires great understanding between the drivers.”

Overall, Mekies said that the result is representative of the work done by the entire team to re-secure their spot at the front of the grid since returning to racing after the summer break. 

Drugovich on ‘Top of the World’ after Clinching 2022 Formula 2 Drivers’ Title

Felipe Drugovich was in jubilant mood after clinching the 2022 FIA Formula 2 Drivers’ Title on Saturday, even if his Sprint race at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza was over before the end of the first lap.

With his one remaining rival, ART Grand Prix’s Théo Pourchaire, failing to secure the top six finish needed for him to take the battle into Sunday’s Feature race, Drugovich had done enough to add his name to the Formula 2 champions roll call.

The MP Motorsport driver made contact with Van Amersfoort Racing’s Amaury Cordeel at the second chicane on the opening lap on Saturday and returned to the pits with a broken suspension, and he watched on hoping Pourchaire would not recover from his lowly grid slot to take the battle onwards.

He would not, and Drugovich became the 2022 champion, and he said he was on top of the world following after a season that has seen him take five race victories, four of them in Feature races.

“It’s amazing, I really have no words for this,” said Drugovich. “When you start as a young driver you only dream about F1, but when you see how difficult it is to win an F2 title, this becomes a dream – and today it became the truth.

Charles Leclerc determined to convert pole in Monza: “I will give it everything”

Scuderia Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc took pole position at the Italian Grand Prix, securing the top slot for the team in Monza. Leclerc was pleased to see improved performance since the similarly high-speed venue of Spa that kicked off the triple-header, which allowed him to beat out rivals at the team’s home venue. 

“I’m very happy. Monza is always a special one and to secure pole position here in front of our tifosi, is an incredible feeling. Even more so after we struggled in Spa, another high-speed track with similar demands. We worked hard to make improvements and it looks like we have become more competitive again.”

With nine drivers taking grid penalties this weekend, Leclerc starts ahead of George Russell and Lando Norris, while Ferrari’s nearest rivals of Red Bull Racing each start further back. With penalties playing into his advantage, the Monegasque driver is optimistic about his chances of taking the win on Sunday, having been pleased with the car’s pace all weekend. 

“I felt confident in the car from the first practice session on and our race pace was strong, so hopefully we can convert this pole into a victory tomorrow. I will give it everything.”

“We can be happy with the performance we have shown today” – Carlos Sainz

Team-mate Carlos Sainz qualified third place in Monza after a strong showing throughout the session, but will start at the back after taking a grid penalty for the replacement of several parts on his F1-75. 

Vips Takes Sprint Race Victory, Drugovich Champion Despite Retirement

Jüri Vips took victory in the Sprint race at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza on Saturday, while Felipe Drugovich became the 2022 FIA Formula 2 champion despite retiring on the opening lap.

With Théo Pourchaire failing to score a top six finish, MP Motorsport’s Drugovich was declared the champion, even though a broken suspension following a first lap, second chicane tangle with Amaury Cordeel ended his afternoon.

Frederik Vesti led the way at the start for ART Grand Prix but contact between Charouz Racing System’s Tatiana Calderón and Campos Racing’s Olli Caldwell brought out the safety car, while Drugovich managed to get his damaged car back to the pit lane.

On the restart, Hitech Grand Prix’s Vips managed to get the jump on Vesti and took over the lead heading into turn one, while DAMS’ Ayuma Iwasa ran third, although the Japanese racer’s afternoon was about to start unravelling.

MP Motorsport’s afternoon ended with retirement for their second driver, Clément Novalak on lap nine, the Frenchman retiring in the pits with a broken front wing, caused after contact at the same place Drugovich suffered, at the second chicane.


RaceScene.com