Valtteri Bottas will start the Sao Paulo Grand Prix from pole position after beating Max Verstappen to sprint victory in Interlagos. Lewis Hamilton, who started at the back of the grid after being thrown out of qualifying with an illegal rear wing, gained 15 places to finish fifth.

Bottas got a great launch with soft tires from second on the grid while polesitter Verstappen struggled on the mediums. By Turn 1 the Finn was easily into the lead, leaving the Dutchman to fend off advances from Carlos Sainz, who slipped into second exiting Turn 4, where the Red Bull ran wide on cold tires.

It took a couple of laps for the medium rubber to warm up in the cool temperature, the track sinking to just 95 degrees F after a warmer morning practice. By the end of lap three Verstappen was sizing up Sainz for second, taking back the place from the Spaniard on the pit straight and into Turn 1, before chipping away to Bottas’s lead, the leaders sprinting around a second a lap quicker than the field.

Continue reading on RACER

Fernando Alonso has topped a warm final practice at the Sao Paulo Grand Prix while stewards investigations into Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen remains unresolved just hours before the sprint.

Alonso was 0.864s quicker than the under-investigation Verstappen at the top of the order, but his best lap of 1m11.238s was substantially off the pace of either session on Friday. FP2 during sprint weekends is run under parc ferme conditions, confining its usefulness to long runs rather than ultimate pace or set-up changes.

Verstappen was summoned to the stewards in the hours before final practice began for touching Lewis Hamilton’s rear wing after qualifying, an apparent breach of the FIA international sporting code, but no decision had been made before the end of practice.

Continue reading on RACER

Lewis Hamilton will head the field for the Saturday sprint at the Sao Paulo Grand Prix after beating Max Verstappen by almost half a second.

The Briton never looked likely to be beaten in qualifying after being comfortably fastest in opening practice. Both his laps in Q3 were quick enough to top the session, and his final attempt, a 1m07.934s was 0.438s better than Verstappen’s scruffy fastest lap.

It was the first time Hamilton has topped qualifying since the Hungarian Grand Prix in August and only the fourth time he’s been fastest this season, though the sprint weekend format and his five-place grid penalty for a new engine mean he won’t be credited with pole position.

Continue reading on RACER

Lewis Hamilton topped title leader Max Verstappen by 0.367s in the crucial first practice session at the Sao Paulo Grand Prix ahead of Friday qualifying.

The Briton, who is running a new internal combustion engine that will cost him five places on Sunday’s grid, was unhappy with his car’s performance for most of the session, particularly on the medium tire, and his team had to make front suspension adjustments to address what he described as a bouncing front end before sending him out on softs.

His first flying lap on soft tires wasn’t enough to get near Verstappen’s one hot lap on the same compound. A second attempt got him 0.069s ahead, and his third run on softs stretched the margin to 0.367s.

Continue reading on RACER

Max Verstappen turned third on the grid into an easy victory at the Mexico City Grand Prix to extend his championship lead over Lewis Hamilton.

The Dutchman used the powerful slipstream on the 880-yard run from the start to the first braking zone to sweep effortlessly around the outside of polesitter Valtteri Bottas and into a lead he would relinquish only during the pit stop window.

It was a sweet start for Red Bull Racing but a disaster for Mercedes. Bottas and Hamilton had shared the front row, but Bottas’s limp defense at the first turn had him passed by his teammate and left him exposed to contact on the Turn 1 apex with Daniel Ricciardo, who had attempted to reserve the space for his McLaren.

Continue reading on RACER

Mercedes has secured a shock front row lockout at the Mexico City Grand Prix, with Valtteri Bottas beating teammate Lewis Hamilton by 0.145s.

The German marque looked down and out throughout practice, but apparent problems with Red Bull Racing’s rear wing set up Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez to underperform through the crucial grid-setting hour.

Black tape appeared on the ends of the rear wing flap on Verstappen’s car in response to apparent structural problems discovered during practice. The team subsequently neglected to engineer a slipstream with Sergio Perez on the first lap, handing Mercedes an opportunity to snatch provisional pole.

Continue reading on RACER

Sergio Perez consolidated Red Bull Racing’s stranglehold on the Mexico City Grand Prix weekend with the fastest time of Saturday practice, while Mercedes struggled to hit the sweet spot ahead of qualifying.

The Mexican ratcheted up expectations among his fanatical home crowd with a lap of 1m17.024s late in the session on a used set of medium tires, taking a 0.193s advantage over the sister car.

Verstappen set only one flying lap in the final four minutes of the hour, — having been waylaid in his garage for apparent damage at the rear of the car — and it was messy, the Dutchman complaining of an unexpected lack of grip.

Continue reading on RACER

Valtteri Bottas bested teammate Lewis Hamilton in a dusty opening practice session at the Mexico City Grand Prix.

The Mercedes pair were split by just 0.076s after an hour on track, the Finn setting the pace with a time of 1m18.341s, but Briton will face a post-session stewards investigation for running wide at Turn 1 and cutting across the grass to rejoin at Turn 3 without driving wide around the traffic cone as required.

Max Verstappen — heavy favorite for victory ahead of the weekend on account of Red Bull Racing’s form at this track — was third and just 0.123s off the headline pace.

Continue reading on RACER

Max Verstappen has confidently topped Friday afternoon practice for Red Bull Racing at the Mexico City Grand Prix while title rival Lewis Hamilton struggled with set-up.

Verstappen’s best time of 1m 17.301s was almost half a second quicker than anyone else. Valtteri Bottas, fastest in the morning session, was next in the order, but the Finn was 0.424s off the pace.

Lewis Hamilton trailed in third and 0.085s further back after a messy session for the reigning champion and 2019 Mexico winner. He had an early lap time deleted for setting a time during double waved yellow flags before destroying a set of hard tires with a lock-up into Turn 1.

Continue reading on RACER

Max Verstappen withstood a late Lewis Hamilton lunge for victory to record a nail-biting win at the United States Grand Prix.

The two title contenders were running different tire strategies that brought them together on track for the final two laps of the race, with Verstappen defending on eight-lap-older tires.

Hamilton clung to the back of the Red Bull Racing car but struggled to break through the DRS threshold ahead of the straights, Verstappen nailing his launches to keep himself just far enough ahead to maintain a gap, taking the flag by 1.3s.

Continue reading on RACER

Max Verstappen will start alongside Lewis Hamilton on the front row of the grid after beating the Briton to pole in a thrilling conclusion to qualifying at the United States Grand Prix.

Red Bull Racing overcame a substantial deficit on Friday to dominate the qualifying hour, but it was Sergio Perez who led the way in the pole shootout, stealing a 0.019s advantage from his teammate after the first laps.

Mercedes looked down and out, and Hamilton’s first lap looked visibly disjointed compared to the hooked-up Bulls, leaving him 0.384s adrift.

Continue reading on RACER

Sergio Perez laid down a final marker ahead of qualifying to lead Carlos Sainz in third practice at the United States Grand Prix.

In a session that featured almost exclusively hot laps on the soft tire, Perez lowered Friday’s benchmark to 1m 34.701s to beat the Ferrari driver by 0.104s. But the Mexican’s way was gilded by Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton having late laps deleted for running off the track, the former at Turn 19 and the latter at Turn 9.

Verstappen’s best effort would have been 0.318s quicker than his teammate’s leading time, while Hamilton would have been 0.243s ahead. Instead they ended their sessions third and sixth, 0.211s and 0.518s adrift respectively, setting up an intriguing picture for qualifying later today.

Continue reading on RACER

Sergio Perez topped second practice at the United States Grand Prix after Lewis Hamilton had his best time deleted for exceeding track limits.

The Red Bull Racing driver’s fastest lap was 1m34.946s on the soft tire, but earlier in the session Hamilton had set a time 0.104s quicker, only to have it erased for driving off the track at Turn 19.

A second lap by the Briton brought him up to third, 0.364s off the pace and a tenth behind Lando Norris, who slotted into a strong second for McLaren.

Continue reading on RACER

Valtteri Bottas led a comfortable Mercedes one-two in first practice for the United States Grand Prix at Austin’s Circuit of The Americas, almost a second ahead of Max Verstappen.

The Finn’s fastest time of 1m34.874s was 0.045s quicker than Lewis Hamilton’s best effort and a substantial 0.932s faster than Max Verstappen’s quickest lap.

Bottas’s lap was built on a particularly impressive second sector, comprising Turns 7 to 12 and the long back straight. He gained half a second on Verstappen through that sector alone, and his 0.2s advantage over Hamilton through the middle split was enough to offset slower times in over the balance of the track.

Continue reading on RACER

Valtteri Bottas dominated a wet Turkish Grand Prix, but Max Verstappen has retaken the world championship lead by finishing second while Lewis Hamilton faded to fifth after rising as high as third from his 11th-place start.

Rain drenched the track in the morning, and although it reduced to barely a drizzle for the race, the track never truly dries, and the entire race was run with wet rubber.

In the tricky conditions Bottas executed the perfect start from pole to hold Max Verstappen in second at the first apex, and from there he wielded his Mercedes to perfection to constantly massage open the gap to the Dutchman until it was effectively insurmountable.

Continue reading on RACER

Lewis Hamilton beat teammate Valtteri Bottas to the fastest time of qualifying at the Turkish Grand Prix, although a 10-place grid penalty for an engine change will promote the Finn to pole position for the race.

Max Verstappen will start alongside Bottas on the front row after finishing the afternoon third.

Mercedes’s superiority at Istanbul Park has been clear from first practice on Friday, and even the jeopardy of a sprinkling of rain at the start of qualifying did little to dampen Hamilton’s position as the favourite for the session.

Continue reading on RACER

Pierre Gasly mastered a soaking Istanbul track to top final practice at the Turkish Grand Prix ahead of Max Verstappen.

The Frenchman was among a group of drivers to set their flying laps on intermediate rubber with around 15 minutes remaining, and though Verstappen embarked on his final flyer with just 20 seconds left, the track drying all the time, he could get to within only 0.164s of Gasly’s benchmark.

Lewis Hamilton finished a lowly 18th after calling it a day with just five laps completed in the inclement weather, the Briton 3.189s adrift.

Continue reading on RACER

Lewis Hamilton ended Friday at the Turkish Grand Prix as the quickest driver while title rival Max Verstappen struggled for pace.

Hamilton bettered his fastest time from morning practice to lower the bar to 1m23.804s, beating the absolute track record for the Istanbul Park circuit by almost a second.

Completing Hamilton’s perfect day was his race-simulation performance, his Mercedes lapping the quickest of all with full tanks, which bodes well for his recovery from a 10-place grid penalty for an internal combustion engine change this weekend.

Continue reading on RACER