Honda Racing Weekend Recap: July 15 and 16
Hondas own Top 10 at IndyCar, Formula 1 struggles continue.
It’s Monday, so let’s take a look at what happened in the motorsports world for Honda last weekend. That included IndyCar, Formula 1, and several different Honda Civic touring cars. Here’s the low-down.
IndyCar Series at Honda Indy Toronto.
Hondas couldn’t overthrow a strong weekend for Team Penske’s Chevys on the streets of Toronto, but Hondas took positions two through four. Hometown hero James Hinchcliffe scored his second consecutive podium in Toronto with third place in the Schmidt Peterson Honda. Ahead of him, Alexander Rossi in the Andretti Autosport challenged Penske-Chevy driver Josef Newgarden. Ultimately, Rossi lacked the pace to close that last bit of gap. Marco Andretti enjoyed his best finish of 2017 with a fourth place finish.
Graham Rahal qualified a strong second place in his Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda, but a tough Safety Car break dropped him back to a ninth-place finish. Ryan Hunter-Reay (6th), Max Chilton (7th), and Scott Dixon (10th) rounded out the Top 10 Honda finishers. Headed to IndyCar’s next round at Mid-Ohio, Dixon leads the championship by just three points of Penske’s Helio Castroneves.
Formula 1, British Grand Prix.
McLaren-Honda recounted their season-long F1 storyline this year again at Silverstone: failures and near-misses. Stoffel Vandoorne started from ninth on the grid and ran in the points for more than half the race. However, his McLaren faded throughout the races second half, causing him to miss out on points in 11th place. Unfortunately for Vandoorne, that marked his best finish of the year.
Vandoorne outqualified Fernando Alonso for the first time all year. The two-time world champion qualified 13th and retired on the races 33rd lap. Naturally, a power-unit failure put the Spanish driver out of the race. To date, Alonso has scored both McLaren-Honda’s season points with a ninth-place finish in Baku.
World Touring Car Championship at Argentina.
Norbert Michelisz wouldn’t have picked the way he won, but he and his Honda Civic will take the main race victory from WTCC Argentina either way. The Hungarian Honda racer inherited the win when Nicky Catsburg suffered a tire puncture while leading big in his Volvo. Teammate and points leader Tiago Monteiro stood next to Michelisz on the podium with a much-needed 1-2 finish. The duo made contact in Race 1 of the weekend with the resulting puncture dropping Michelisz from the points.
Honda now leads the manufacturers’ championship by just eight points over Volvo. The WTCC now takes its three-month mid-season break. The final four rounds all run in Asia from October to late November.
TCR Benelux at Zolder.
Championship leader Benjamin Lesennes struggled this weekend at Zolder Racing Circuit with issues that dropped him from the podium to 8th place in the first race. He scored no points in the second race, but still leads the championship by three points with his Boutson Ginion Racing Honda Civic TCR. Teammate Stephane Lemeret scored a podium in Race 2 of the weekend.
TCR Italy at Mugello.
Like Lesennes in the Benelux series, Honda racer Eric Scalvini suffered through several woes over the weekend in his Honda Civic TCR. A lucky red flag preserved a podium or Scalvini after a punctured tire on his car. The late red flag rolled the final results back to the previous lap, where Scalvini had run a strong second place. For the second race, Scalvini’s Honda received a new engine. The new turbocharged 2.0-liter took him to the front early, but he faded quickly late in the race with an apparent problem.
[Photos: TCR Benelux, TCR Italy]