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Tanak wins in Germany, Ogier back on top of standings

BERLIN- Estonian Ott Tanak snatched victory for Ford at the German Rally on Sunday, taking first place ahead of Citroen’s Norwegian Andreas Mikkelsen, as world champion Sebastien Ogier reclaimed top spot in the overall standings.

The 29-year-old Tanak took charge of the asphalt rally on Saturday when Thierry Neuville suffered broken suspension, and held on to his lead to win by 16.4 seconds.

Neuville had arrived in Germany as the WRC leader but dropped out on Saturday morning when his Hyundai’s left-rear suspension and transmission snapped.

It was Tanak’s second rally win of the season after he triumphed in Italy in June.

France’s Ogier, the reigning world champion, finished a further 14 seconds behind in third place for Ford.

The result was good enough to move Ogier, who has won the last four championships, above Neuville and into the overall lead with three races left in the championship.

(Reporting by Karolos Grohmann; Editing by Toby Davis)

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Marc Marquez wins Czech Grand Prix to increase overall lead

BRNO, Czech Republic— Defending MotoGP champion Marc Marquez won the Czech Grand Prix on Sunday to increase his overall lead with a third victory of the season.

Starting on a wet track that was quickly drying out, riders were allowed to swap their bikes for ones with tires suitable for dry conditions.

Marquez was the first to do so, a strategy that paid off for him and secured his second straight victory.

Starting from pole, Marquez had the best start but was overtaken by Jorge Lorenzo on the opening lap and then dropped further down the field.

After the swap, the Spaniard used the speed of his Honda to take the lead with 18 laps to go and cruised unchallenged to victory in 44 minutes and 15.974 seconds on the 5.403-kilometer (3.357-mile) Brno circuit.

“I went in very very early, it was still wet, it was still very difficult,” the three-time MotoGP champion said. “I’m very very happy. This kind of races are very very difficult. This championship will be long, will be hard. But we took these 25 points, very important.”

It was the 32nd victory for Marquez in MotoGP.

His Honda teammate Dani Pedrosa was second, 12.438 seconds behind to become only the third rider to reach the podium 150 times in all categories after Italians Giacomo Agostini and Valentino Rossi.

Maverick Vinales was third on a Yamaha, 18.135 back while his teammate, six-time MotoGP champion Rossi placed fourth. Rossi was leading with 19 laps to go but waited too long to make the swap.

With eight races to go, Marquez leads the overall standings with 154 points from Vinales on 140 in second. Rossi is fourth with 132, trailing Ducati rider Andrea Dovizioso by one point.

The next race is the Austrian Grand Prix next week.
(API)

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Kubica convinced he will return to F1 says Horner

Christian Horner has said that Robert Kubica is convinced he will return to the sport after 6 years out of F1.

With Kubica performing testing duties for Renault today, everything seems to be pointing to one of the most unlikely returns to F1 that there has ever been.

Kubica is said to eying up under pressure Jolyon Palmer’s drive, maybe even before the season is finished, and much will depend on his ability to cope with the 2017 cars over the space of a full run of laps on a twisty circuit which will probably test his hampered hand more than most other places on the calendar. Renault however were coy on when or if Kubica will return, only saying “We want to help Robert on his road back and maybe open a door for him. There is no more”

Kubica was one of the top drivers in F1 before his accident in 2011, having challenged for the championship in 2008 in the third best car on the grid, and dragging a midfield car in the 2010 season to podiums at two of the premier driving tracks on the calendar, in Spa and Monaco. He is also admired by the top drivers of today as one of the premier drivers of the time, with Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton particularly marking him as their equal or even superior.

Christian Horner said in regards to Kubica’s return that he is certain of returning to the grid, saying: “Hungary is one of the toughest circuits, If you can drive here, you can drive anywhere. He seems absolutely committed and firmly convinced about his comeback”

Lewis Hamilton also commented on his return, saying:“I’m really happy that Robert is getting this opportunity and I’ll keep an eye on how he goes, It would be great if he was able to come back. He is one of the most natural talents and fastest drivers I have ever driven against, and if he was able to continue, he probably would have been champion,”

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Vettel takes victory in Formula One Hungarian Grand Prix

Vettel takes victory in Formula One Hungarian Grand Prix Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel claimed victory in the 32nd Formula One Hungarian Grand Prix, round 11 of the 2017 FIA Formula One World Championship. Teammate Kimi Raikkonen made it a Ferrari 1-2 with a second-place finish while Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas completed the podium.

Results of the race:
1. Sebastian Vettel (GER, Ferrari) 1:39:46.713 hours
2. Kimi Raikkonen (FIN, Ferrari) +0.908 sec
3. Valtteri Bottas (FIN, Mercedes) +12.462 sec
4. Lewis Hamilton (GBR, Mercedes) +12.885 sec
5. Max Verstappen (NED, Red Bull) +13.276 sec
6. Fernando Alonso (ESP, McLaren) +1:11.223 min
7. Carlos Sainz Jr. (ESP, Toro Rosso) 1 lap
8. Sergio Perez (MEX, Force India) 1 lap
9. Esteban Ocon (FRA, Force India) 1 lap
10. Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL, McLaren)
1 lap 11. Daniil Kvyat (RUS, Toro Rosso)
1 lap 12. Jolyon Palmer (GBR, Renault)
1 lap 13. Kevin Magnussen (DEN, Haas)
1 lap 14. Lance Stroll (CAN, Williams)
1 lap 15. Pascal Wehrlein (GER, Sauber)
2 laps 16. Marcus Ericsson (SWE, Sauber)

Retired:
Nico Hulkenberg (GER, Renault) after 68 laps
Paul di Resta (GBR, Williams) after 62 laps
Romain Grosjean (FRA, Haas) after 22 laps
Daniel Ricciardo (AUS, Red Bull)
in first lap fastest lap: Fernando Alonso (ESP, McLaren) 1:20.182 min

Standings after 11 rounds (with 9 rounds to go):
Drivers:
1. Vettel 202 points
2. Hamilton 188
3. Bottas 169
4. Ricciardo 117
5. Raikkonen 116
6. Verstappen 67
7. Perez 56
8. Ocon 45
9. Sainz 35
10. Hulkenberg 26
11. Massa 23
12. Stroll 18
13. Grosjean 18
14. Magnussen 11
15. Alonso 10
16. Wehrlein 5
17. Kvyat 4
18. Vandoorne

1 Constructors:
1. Mercedes 357 points
2. Ferrari 318
3. Red Bull 184
4. Force India 101
5. Williams 41
6. Toro Rosso 39
7. Haas 29
8. Renault 26
9. McLaren 11
10. Sauber 5

(Photo: MTI)

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Vettel fastest as Ferrari surge ahead in Hungary

Sebastian Vettel set a searing pace in final practice at Budapest on Saturday morning, setting a new outright circuit record as he lapped half a second quicker than Ferrari team mate Kimi Raikkonen and nearly a second faster than Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas.

PRACTICE THREE RESULTS
Pos. Driver Time Gap Laps
1 Sebastian Vettel 1:17.017 17
2 Kimi Räikkönen 1:17.492 +0.475s 16
3 Valtteri Bottas 1:17.914 +0.897s 15
4 Max Verstappen 1:18.194 +1.177s 25
5 Lewis Hamilton 1:18.434 +1.417s 14
6 Stoffel Vandoorne 1:18.638 +1.621s 18
7 Nico Hulkenberg 1:18.699 +1.682s 20
8 Daniel Ricciardo 1:18.714 +1.697s 7
9 Fernando Alonso 1:18.884 +1.867s 14
10 Jolyon Palmer 1:18.956 +1.939s 19

Running the supersoft tyres Vettel trimmed down to 1m 17.017s, smashing Rubens Barrichello’s 2004 record by 1.4s. Raikkonen was 0.475s slower, on 1m 17.492s, while Bottas was 0.897s back with 1m 17.914s.

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and the other Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton were over a second adrift of the German in fourth and fifth, with the latter looking especially scrappy on the red-marked rubber.

However, both managed considerably more running than Friday pacesetter Daniel Ricciardo who, having stayed put in the garage for the first part of the session, was just beginning to look a bit menacing when his car suffered some sort of shutdown and stopped after he had worked down to 1m 18.714s on supersofts.

McLaren’s Stoffel Vandoorne and Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg continued to impress as they jumped ahead of Ricciardo into sixth and seventh respectively, with their team mate’s Fernando Alonso and Jolyon Palmer completing the top ten.

In contrast to Friday’s sessions, there were relatively few off-track moments, with Haas’s Romain Grosjean the only spinner.

Williams’ Felipe Massa meanwhile, still feeling unwell after suffering symptoms in FP2 on Friday, climbed out of his car after just 12 laps and will take no further part in the weekend.

His seat will be taken by Williams’ reserve driver Paul di Resta who last started a Grand Prix back in 2013.

Now we wait to see whether Ferrari will have it all their own way in qualifying, or whether Mercedes can muster stability and pace and Red Bull can rediscover yesterday’s mojo.

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Hulkenberg set for five place grid drop

Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg is set to take a five place grid drop for this weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix after the team had to change his gearbox out of sequence.

Under the rules a driver has to use a gearbox for six consecutive races, and Hulkenberg had not yet reached that threshold.

This will come as a blow to Hulkenberg, as he had been the best of the midfield runners in Friday practice and had found himself in good form going into the weekend, after an impressive performance in Silverstone. Added to this blow is the fact that the Hungaroring is one of the trickiest places on the calendar to overtake, so he may find it more difficult than usual to make up the lost positions.

It should be a boost for underfire driver, Jolyon Palmer who has yet to outqualify Hulkenberg this season, and gives him the best platform to have a good result with Robert Kubica waiting in the wings to take Palmer’s drive.

The FIA’s statement on Hulkenberg’s penalty read as such:”[Hulkenberg] did finish the last race in Silverstone and this gearbox change was before the six consecutive Events expired. As this is not in compliance with Article 23.5a of the 2017 Formula One Sporting Regulations, I am referring this matter to the stewards for their consideration. The team informed the technical delegate about the gearbox change on Wednesday, 19th July 2017, at 12:11 hours.”

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Vettel smashes lap record to go fastest in FP3

Sebastian Vettel ended the final practice in Budapest on top, obliterating the lap record set by Rubens Barrichello in 2004.

The German set a lap time of 1:17.017 to go much faster than the rest of the field, with teammate Kimi Raikkonen in P2.

Raikkonen was just under half a second down on Vettel, with both Ferrari’s clearing rivals Mercedes on the track. Lewis Hamilton’s fast lap was scruffy meaning he ended practice in fifth place, behind teammate Valtteri Bottas and Max Verstappen.

Bottas himself was eight-tenths of a second down on Vettel. Daniel Ricciardo ending up eighth by was given a massive headache, as he was forced to pull over trackside with a gearbox issue.

McLaren further strengthened its place inside the top ten, with Stoffel Vandoorne and Fernando Alonso completing practice in sixth and ninth. The two were separated by two-tenths of a second and are looking strong for a possible double points finish.

Both Renault’s finished inside the top ten with Jolyon Palmer finally getting through a trouble free session and completing a number of laps. Nico Hulkenberg pulled together a strong lap to go seventh fastest.

Worryingly for Williams, it appears that Felipe Massa may not be fit enough to take part in the rest of the weekend as he fell ill last night. Mechanics were spotted taking away the pedals and seat in apparent preparation for Paul di Resta, the team’s reserve driver. Both Massa and Stroll had an underwhelming session, finishing seventeenth and eighteenth.

Force India’s consistent run of points looks threatened around the Hungaroring, with drivers Esteban Ocon and Sergio Perez only managing twelfth and fourteenth, four tenths away from the top ten. Ocon was sandwiched in between both Toro Rosso’s, who also ended up outside the top ten.

The Haas VF-17 continues to look a handful around the tight and twisty circuit with Romain Grosjean further complaining about the balance. He and teammate Kevin Magnussen found themselves in fifteenth and sixteenth at the chequered flag, with Sauber racers Pascal Wehrlein and Marcus Ericsson rounding out the time sheets.

F1 Technical Sports

Di Resta on standby for Williams after Massa falls ill

Paul di Resta has been placed on standby for Williams after Felipe Massa was taken to the hospital last night.

Di Resta is Williams’ reserve driver, racing in F1 from 2010 to 2013 with Force India.

Massa got through all of Friday’s sessions normally but began to feel queasy after the second practice session. He was taken to the medical centre to be assessed and was then transferred to the MH EK Honvedkorkaz hospital for further checks.

Massa then went through a series of tests which deemed him fit to take part in final practice on Saturday morning, but di Resta also carried out checks in the FW40 in case Massa is soon told he is unfit to drive the car. Di Resta had a career best finish of P4 and was named as Williams’ reserve driver at the start of 2016.

(Fergal Walsh)

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Formula One Hungarian Grand Prix – Practice sessions: Ricciardo is unbeatable

Ricciardo is unbeatable Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull) clocked the best time at both the first and the second free practice session for the 32nd Formula One Hungarian Grand Prix at the Hungaroring racing circuit near Budapest on Friday.

Formula One Hungarian Grand Prix –

Practice session 1

Results:

1. Daniel Ricciardo (AUS, Red Bull) 1:18.486 min

2. Kimi Raikkonen (FIN, Ferrari) 1:18.720

3. Lewis Hamilton (GBR, Mercedes) 1:18.858

4. Max Verstappen (NED, Red Bull) 1:19.162

5. Valtteri Bottas (FIN, Mercedes) 1:19.248

6. Sebastian Vettel (GER, Ferrari) 1:19.563

7. Fernando Alonso (ESP, McLaren) 1:19.987

8. Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL, McLaren) 1:20.005

One Hungarian Grand Prix – Practice session 2

Results:

1. Daniel Ricciardo (AUS, Red Bull) 1:18.455 min

2. Sebastian Vettel (GER, Ferrari) 1:18.638

3. Valtteri Bottas (FIN, Mercedes) 1:18.656

4. Kimi Raikkonen (FIN, Ferrari) 1:18.755

5. Lewis Hamilton (GBR, Mercedes) 1:18.779

6. Max Verstappen (NED, Red Bull) 1:18.951

7. Nico Huelkenberg (GER, Renault) 1:19.714

8. Fernando Alonso (ESP, McLaren) 1:19.815

(Photo: MTI Source: MTI)

 

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Vasseur says Sauber-Ferrari deal does not involve drivers

New Sauber team principal Frederic Vasseur says that Sauber’s newly formed deal with Ferrari does not involve drivers for the 2018 season.

Earlier this week, the Swiss squad announced it had cancelled its deal with Honda, who was set to supply the team with engines in 2018.

Instead, it committed its future to Ferrari, continuing its partnership that has lasted 20 years. Prior to the cancellation of the Honda deal, Sauber confirmed that Formula 2 racer Nobuharu Matsushita, who is backed by Honda, would get a test outing next week,

Despite the announcement that the deal was not going to go ahead, Vasseur confirmed that the Japanese driver would still receive his test in the C36: “We made this commitment to Honda a couple of months ago so we will keep our promise to them and to Matsushita.”

There is ongoing speculation over who will drive the 2018 Sauber. With the team’s new financial backers having links to Marcus Ericsson, it is likely the Swede will stay at the team. However, it is possible that Pascal Whrlein could be replaced by either Antonio Giovinazzi or Charles Leclerc, who are both Ferrari juniors.

“It’s too early to discuss the drivers,” Vasseur insisted. “We only signed the (Ferrari) agreement on Thursday, and the drivers are not part of the contract. We will talk about the drivers in the next weeks,” he added.

(Fergal Walsh)