IndyCar: Jones produces podium-threatening pace on stellar IndyCar debut with Dale Coyne Racing

IndyCar: Jones produces podium-threatening pace on stellar IndyCar debut with Dale Coyne Racing

Ed Jones

14 March, 2017– Ed Jones proved to be immediately at home on his Verizon IndyCar Series bow around the Streets of St. Petersburg last weekend, as the talented Dubai, UAE-based ace graduated to the pinnacle of US open-wheel competition in fine style by running firmly up at the sharp end ‘en route’ to his maiden top ten finish.

Jones has stepped up to the fiercely-disputed IndyCar Series with Dale Coyne Racing in 2017 after sprinting to the Indy Lights laurels last season. Following a productive winter testing programme, he arrived in Florida – scene of an eye-catching double victory on his US racing debut two years earlier – ready to showcase his skill in an extremely high-calibre, 21-strong pack comprising some of the very best single-seater exponents on the planet.

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As the only full-time rookie in the field, the 22-year-old Brit adopted a mature approach throughout practice, taking care not to try to run before he could walk around the bumpy and narrow, notoriously unforgiving street circuit that caught out a number of his rivals – all the while edging consistently closer to the outright pace.

Jones proceeded to line up 18th on the starting grid in his 720bhp Dallara-Honda, just four spots and barely a tenth-of-a-second behind defending title-holder Simon Pagenaud – but when the lights went out in the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg the next day, the former European F3 Open Champion found himself tagged and pushed into the car in front in an opening lap mêlée, prompting an unscheduled pit visit to check for damage.

Happily, the #19 entry was still fully intact and once the action resumed, Jones began working his way up the order. Confidently holding his own in illustrious company of the ilk of three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Hélio Castroneves, former IndyCar Champion Ryan Hunter-Reay and his ultra-experienced, multiple title-winning DCR team-mate Sébastien Bourdais, he proved to be completely unawed by his adversaries’ formidable reputations.

His first planned refuelling stop on lap 25 fortuitously coincided with a full-course caution period for debris on the track, elevating the Williams-Harfield Sports Group protégé to fourth. Shortly after the re-start, he superbly snatched third place from Marco Andretti into Turn One and maintained that position right through to his next pit-stop more than 20 laps later.

Jones continued to run impressively inside the top five until he pitted for the final time with 26 laps to go. Rejoining the fray down in 11th, he fought back into the top ten before the chequered flag to cap an excellent performance in what was a long, mentally gruelling and physically punishing encounter – in so doing, consummately demonstrating that he unequivocally belongs at the highest level.

“Pre-season testing went pretty well and I felt very comfortable in the car arriving in St. Petersburg, even though I hadn’t had that much seat time,” he reflected. “I’ve been working well with the team and get along with everyone there. Until the first race, it’s always hard to know where you stand against the opposition because there are so many variables, so we had no solid expectations for the weekend but what was clear was that Dale Coyne Racing had taken a massive step forward from where they were last year.”

“I’ve always loved street circuits and St. Petersburg is a great track. It’s where I made my debut in American racing and it was a perfect debut, so I have good memories there. The infield section is very technical and quite tight and then it opens up a bit towards the main straight.

“Practice went well; it was challenging, but I learnt a lot. Everything is a bit better compared to what I’ve been used to in an Indy Lights car. You’re faster, you’re braking a lot later and there’s more corner speed. On a street circuit, it’s tough to manage that at first because the margin for error is so small. As much as you want to push as hard as you can and find the limit, you also don’t want to lose any track time by putting it in the wall. That’s a difficult situation, but I think we handled it well.

“I was really excited for my first IndyCar qualifying session, though it was a little frustrating that the red flag came out early on. That meant I didn’t get to have an initial go on the Firestone Reds, so I didn’t really have time to adapt and had to go straight out again on a new set and push from there. For me, it was a bit of an unknown how the jump was going to be and by the time I realised how much deeper I could go, the tyres had already started falling off their best.

“That said, the car was really good and I felt like I was finally there. I just felt at home, which was the most important thing – and it was the same in the race. It was fantastic to run inside the top five for so long and to finish tenth first time out was a really promising result. That underlines what a tremendous effort the whole team has put in over the winter months to develop this car and make it stronger, which is all credit to Dale, the DCR boys and Honda. With Seb winning, we now have great momentum moving forward and I already can’t wait for the next race at Long Beach!”

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11 hrs ago

CircuitProDigital

Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport win fifth consecutive FIA Formula One Constructors' World Championship!

Lewis Hamilton took his 72nd career victory today, his tenth of the 2018 season and second in Interlagos
Valtteri set the fastest lap of the race - his tenth fastest lap in Formula One - and finished the race in P5
Today's result marks the 50th win of the hybrid era for Lewis, which means that he won more than 50 percent of the 99 races since 2014

The result also marks the tenth win for the Mercedes-AMG F1 W09 EQ Power+, a championship-winning car that has now earned its designation as a true Silver Arrow
Lewis (383 points) leads the Drivers' Championship by 81 points from Sebastian Vettel (302 points), with Valtteri (237 points) in P4

Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport (620 points) lead Ferrari (553 points) by 67 points in the Constructors' Championship - an unassailable lead with 43 points still to be scored in the 2018 season

Andrew Shovlin, Trackside Engineering Director, accepted the Constructors' trophy on behalf of the team

Lewis Hamilton
That's real history in the making for the team. If I were to stop today with Mercedes, I would always remember this day and that I was a part of it and that's so cool. This has been a seriously tough year and everyone on this team has fought so hard, harder than we've ever fought and we're the most united that we've ever been - which is not expected when you've had success in previous years and could easily drop the ball. The guys have been continuing to raise the bar. Today was such a tough race for me, but I really wanted to deliver and win this for the team. It has such a big knock-on effect; everyone on the team can now go into the last race and into the winter, knowing that they won the world title and that they're legends. I am so grateful for all the hard work - here at the track, back home at the factories, at PETRONAS and all of our partners - I'm so proud to be part of this team. I'm actually kind of nervous to go back to the factories and hear the roar - I think the atmosphere is going to be incredible. I didn't expect the Red Bulls to be in the race like that today, I thought they'd be in a similar pace to us, but they were quite a bit quicker. We struggled with the tyres in the first stint and they were able to manage the tyres better than us. In the second stint, I was on the Medium tyre and had an issue with the engine, so I was really just trying to bring the car across the line. Max passed me which was painful, but then they had an issue and all of a sudden I was back in the lead. I was on the radio, telling my engineers "I don't want to give it up, tell me what I need to do" - I was pushing so hard at the end, taking every risk to bring it home with a win. This is a high, but I want to stay on that wave and win the next race as well.

Valtteri Bottas
I'm really happy and proud to be part of this team. This is down to hard work by every single team member, both back at the factories in Brackley and Brixworth as well as here at the race track - they really deserve this title! It's usually only a few people who are in the spotlight all the time, but there are many, many hidden heroes in our team - thank you all! We kept everything together even under immense pressure, minimised our mistakes and did a great job developing the car - huge congratulations to everyone. The race today was a bit tricky; everything went as planned at the start and we could gain the lead at the beginning, but after that it got more difficult. In the first stint, I was struggling with overheating the tyres, in the second stint, I was struggling with blistering on the Mediums, so we had to stop a second time. I think we didn't quite have the pace today. It was a slightly tougher race than I expected, I was a bit more optimistic before the race, but overall it is a great day for Mercedes.

Toto Wolff
We just wrote Championship history - but winning the fifth double World Championship feels so surreal. Who would have thought this would be possible when we embarked on this mission eight years ago? If anyone had mentioned this record back then, we would have told them they are crazy. And yet, here we are today, having just equalled the Ferrari record from the Schumacher years. It's a great honour to represent Mercedes on the track and I can't thank everyone enough for their great work, both here at the track and in Brackley and Brixworth, and also for the continued support from Daimler in Stuttgart and PETRONAS in Kuala Lumpur and Turin. None of this would have been possible without their contributions and without the hard work and the passion of everyone on the team. I had a conversation with Lewis on Sunday night in Mexico; he had just won his fifth world championship, but both of us were not fully satisfied - because our objective was to win both titles. That's why he was fighting so hard today because he wanted to finish this on a high, win the race and win the constructors' championship for the team. Valtteri had a trickier season than Lewis, but he has improved his performance this year and played a vital role for this championship success. Five consecutive titles - I'm immensely proud of this amazing achievement.
... See Less

Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport win fifth consecutive FIA Formula One Constructors World Championship!

Lewis Hamilton took his 72nd career victory today, his tenth of the 2018 season and second in Interlagos
Valtteri set the fastest lap of the race - his tenth fastest lap in Formula One - and finished the race in P5
Todays result marks the 50th win of the hybrid era for Lewis, which means that he won more than 50 percent of the 99 races since 2014

The result also marks the tenth win for the Mercedes-AMG F1 W09 EQ Power+, a championship-winning car that has now earned its designation as a true Silver Arrow
Lewis (383 points) leads the Drivers Championship by 81 points from Sebastian Vettel (302 points), with Valtteri (237 points) in P4

Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport (620 points) lead Ferrari (553 points) by 67 points in the Constructors Championship - an unassailable lead with 43 points still to be scored in the 2018 season

Andrew Shovlin, Trackside Engineering Director, accepted the Constructors trophy on behalf of the team

Lewis Hamilton 
Thats real history in the making for the team. If I were to stop today with Mercedes, I would always remember this day and that I was a part of it and thats so cool. This has been a seriously tough year and everyone on this team has fought so hard, harder than weve ever fought and were the most united that weve ever been - which is not expected when youve had success in previous years and could easily drop the ball. The guys have been continuing to raise the bar. Today was such a tough race for me, but I really wanted to deliver and win this for the team. It has such a big knock-on effect; everyone on the team can now go into the last race and into the winter, knowing that they won the world title and that theyre legends. I am so grateful for all the hard work - here at the track, back home at the factories, at PETRONAS and all of our partners - Im so proud to be part of this team. Im actually kind of nervous to go back to the factories and hear the roar - I think the atmosphere is going to be incredible. I didnt expect the Red Bulls to be in the race like that today, I thought theyd be in a similar pace to us, but they were quite a bit quicker. We struggled with the tyres in the first stint and they were able to manage the tyres better than us. In the second stint, I was on the Medium tyre and had an issue with the engine, so I was really just trying to bring the car across the line. Max passed me which was painful, but then they had an issue and all of a sudden I was back in the lead. I was on the radio, telling my engineers I dont want to give it up, tell me what I need to do - I was pushing so hard at the end, taking every risk to bring it home with a win. This is a high, but I want to stay on that wave and win the next race as well. 
 
Valtteri Bottas 
Im really happy and proud to be part of this team. This is down to hard work by every single team member, both back at the factories in Brackley and Brixworth as well as here at the race track - they really deserve this title! Its usually only a few people who are in the spotlight all the time, but there are many, many hidden heroes in our team - thank you all! We kept everything together even under immense pressure, minimised our mistakes and did a great job developing the car - huge congratulations to everyone. The race today was a bit tricky; everything went as planned at the start and we could gain the lead at the beginning, but after that it got more difficult. In the first stint, I was struggling with overheating the tyres, in the second stint, I was struggling with blistering on the Mediums, so we had to stop a second time. I think we didnt quite have the pace today. It was a slightly tougher race than I expected, I was a bit more optimistic before the race, but overall it is a great day for Mercedes. 
 
Toto Wolff 
We just wrote Championship history - but winning the fifth double World Championship feels so surreal. Who would have thought this would be possible when we embarked on this mission eight years ago? If anyone had mentioned this record back then, we would have told them they are crazy. And yet, here we are today, having just equalled the Ferrari record from the Schumacher years. Its a great honour to represent Mercedes on the track and I cant thank everyone enough for their great work, both here at the track and in Brackley and Brixworth, and also for the continued support from Daimler in Stuttgart and PETRONAS in Kuala Lumpur and Turin. None of this would have been possible without their contributions and without the hard work and the passion of everyone on the team. I had a conversation with Lewis on Sunday night in Mexico; he had just won his fifth world championship, but both of us were not fully satisfied - because our objective was to win both titles. Thats why he was fighting so hard today because he wanted to finish this on a high, win the race and win the constructors championship for the team. Valtteri had a trickier season than Lewis, but he has improved his performance this year and played a vital role for this championship success. Five consecutive titles - Im immensely proud of this amazing achievement.

11 hrs ago

CircuitProDigital

Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport win fifth consecutive FIA Formula One Constructors' World Championship!
Lewis Hamilton took his 72nd career victory today, his tenth of the 2018 season and second in Interlagos
Valtteri set the fastest lap of the race - his tenth fastest lap in Formula One - and finished the race in P5
Today's result marks the 50th win of the hybrid era for Lewis, which means that he won more than 50 percent of the 99 races since 2014
The result also marks the tenth win for the Mercedes-AMG F1 W09 EQ Power+, a championship-winning car that has now earned its designation as a true Silver Arrow
Lewis (383 points) leads the Drivers' Championship by 81 points from Sebastian Vettel (302 points), with Valtteri (237 points) in P4
Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport (620 points) lead Ferrari (553 points) by 67 points in the Constructors' Championship - an unassailable lead with 43 points still to be scored in the 2018 season

Andrew Shovlin, Trackside Engineering Director, accepted the Constructors' trophy on behalf of the team

-----------------------

Lewis Hamilton
That's real history in the making for the team. If I were to stop today with Mercedes, I would always remember this day and that I was a part of it and that's so cool. This has been a seriously tough year and everyone on this team has fought so hard, harder than we've ever fought and we're the most united that we've ever been - which is not expected when you've had success in previous years and could easily drop the ball. The guys have been continuing to raise the bar. Today was such a tough race for me, but I really wanted to deliver and win this for the team. It has such a big knock-on effect; everyone on the team can now go into the last race and into the winter, knowing that they won the world title and that they're legends. I am so grateful for all the hard work - here at the track, back home at the factories, at PETRONAS and all of our partners - I'm so proud to be part of this team. I'm actually kind of nervous to go back to the factories and hear the roar - I think the atmosphere is going to be incredible. I didn't expect the Red Bulls to be in the race like that today, I thought they'd be in a similar pace to us, but they were quite a bit quicker. We struggled with the tyres in the first stint and they were able to manage the tyres better than us. In the second stint, I was on the Medium tyre and had an issue with the engine, so I was really just trying to bring the car across the line. Max passed me which was painful, but then they had an issue and all of a sudden I was back in the lead. I was on the radio, telling my engineers "I don't want to give it up, tell me what I need to do" - I was pushing so hard at the end, taking every risk to bring it home with a win. This is a high, but I want to stay on that wave and win the next race as well.

Valtteri Bottas
I'm really happy and proud to be part of this team. This is down to hard work by every single team member, both back at the factories in Brackley and Brixworth as well as here at the race track - they really deserve this title! It's usually only a few people who are in the spotlight all the time, but there are many, many hidden heroes in our team - thank you all! We kept everything together even under immense pressure, minimised our mistakes and did a great job developing the car - huge congratulations to everyone. The race today was a bit tricky; everything went as planned at the start and we could gain the lead at the beginning, but after that it got more difficult. In the first stint, I was struggling with overheating the tyres, in the second stint, I was struggling with blistering on the Mediums, so we had to stop a second time. I think we didn't quite have the pace today. It was a slightly tougher race than I expected, I was a bit more optimistic before the race, but overall it is a great day for Mercedes.

Toto Wolff
We just wrote Championship history - but winning the fifth double World Championship feels so surreal. Who would have thought this would be possible when we embarked on this mission eight years ago? If anyone had mentioned this record back then, we would have told them they are crazy. And yet, here we are today, having just equalled the Ferrari record from the Schumacher years. It's a great honour to represent Mercedes on the track and I can't thank everyone enough for their great work, both here at the track and in Brackley and Brixworth, and also for the continued support from Daimler in Stuttgart and PETRONAS in Kuala Lumpur and Turin. None of this would have been possible without their contributions and without the hard work and the passion of everyone on the team. I had a conversation with Lewis on Sunday night in Mexico; he had just won his fifth world championship, but both of us were not fully satisfied - because our objective was to win both titles. That's why he was fighting so hard today because he wanted to finish this on a high, win the race and win the constructors' championship for the team. Valtteri had a trickier season than Lewis, but he has improved his performance this year and played a vital role for this championship success. Five consecutive titles - I'm immensely proud of this amazing achievement.

James Allison
This is an amazing, amazing group of people built up over many years. The skill and the dedication in a sport that is famously complicated - to get all those ducks lined up in a row, not just once or twice but season after season - is just incredible. What was difficult about this season is that the opposition were that quick. We came to the races not knowing if we were going to win, not having any idea whether they were going to smash us. It ebbed and flowed all through the year. We thought we had them punched down so many times - only for them to bounce back up and give us a really tough time, and it's still happening now. The fact that this year has been so desperately close shows that the difference between the teams is utterly tiny - and it was Lewis who made the difference for us this year. He keeps putting it on pole, in the races we can make mistakes and he'll recover it by doing something unlikely on the track that no-one sees coming and he's spent the whole year not making mistakes. He's just the consummate racing driver. We're very lucky with the driver partnership that we have. Valtteri had a lot of bad luck at the start of the year when he might have had some race wins and has not had the same success that Lewis has had. Valtteri has been stronger this year than he was last year, he's been a brilliant team-mate to us all and a huge asset.
... See Less

Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport win fifth consecutive FIA Formula One Constructors World Championship!
Lewis Hamilton took his 72nd career victory today, his tenth of the 2018 season and second in Interlagos
Valtteri set the fastest lap of the race - his tenth fastest lap in Formula One - and finished the race in P5
Todays result marks the 50th win of the hybrid era for Lewis, which means that he won more than 50 percent of the 99 races since 2014
The result also marks the tenth win for the Mercedes-AMG F1 W09 EQ Power+, a championship-winning car that has now earned its designation as a true Silver Arrow
Lewis (383 points) leads the Drivers Championship by 81 points from Sebastian Vettel (302 points), with Valtteri (237 points) in P4
Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport (620 points) lead Ferrari (553 points) by 67 points in the Constructors Championship - an unassailable lead with 43 points still to be scored in the 2018 season

Andrew Shovlin, Trackside Engineering Director, accepted the Constructors trophy on behalf of the team

-----------------------

Lewis Hamilton 
Thats real history in the making for the team. If I were to stop today with Mercedes, I would always remember this day and that I was a part of it and thats so cool. This has been a seriously tough year and everyone on this team has fought so hard, harder than weve ever fought and were the most united that weve ever been - which is not expected when youve had success in previous years and could easily drop the ball. The guys have been continuing to raise the bar. Today was such a tough race for me, but I really wanted to deliver and win this for the team. It has such a big knock-on effect; everyone on the team can now go into the last race and into the winter, knowing that they won the world title and that theyre legends. I am so grateful for all the hard work - here at the track, back home at the factories, at PETRONAS and all of our partners - Im so proud to be part of this team. Im actually kind of nervous to go back to the factories and hear the roar - I think the atmosphere is going to be incredible. I didnt expect the Red Bulls to be in the race like that today, I thought theyd be in a similar pace to us, but they were quite a bit quicker. We struggled with the tyres in the first stint and they were able to manage the tyres better than us. In the second stint, I was on the Medium tyre and had an issue with the engine, so I was really just trying to bring the car across the line. Max passed me which was painful, but then they had an issue and all of a sudden I was back in the lead. I was on the radio, telling my engineers I dont want to give it up, tell me what I need to do - I was pushing so hard at the end, taking every risk to bring it home with a win. This is a high, but I want to stay on that wave and win the next race as well. 
 
Valtteri Bottas 
Im really happy and proud to be part of this team. This is down to hard work by every single team member, both back at the factories in Brackley and Brixworth as well as here at the race track - they really deserve this title! Its usually only a few people who are in the spotlight all the time, but there are many, many hidden heroes in our team - thank you all! We kept everything together even under immense pressure, minimised our mistakes and did a great job developing the car - huge congratulations to everyone. The race today was a bit tricky; everything went as planned at the start and we could gain the lead at the beginning, but after that it got more difficult. In the first stint, I was struggling with overheating the tyres, in the second stint, I was struggling with blistering on the Mediums, so we had to stop a second time. I think we didnt quite have the pace today. It was a slightly tougher race than I expected, I was a bit more optimistic before the race, but overall it is a great day for Mercedes. 
 
Toto Wolff 
We just wrote Championship history - but winning the fifth double World Championship feels so surreal. Who would have thought this would be possible when we embarked on this mission eight years ago? If anyone had mentioned this record back then, we would have told them they are crazy. And yet, here we are today, having just equalled the Ferrari record from the Schumacher years. Its a great honour to represent Mercedes on the track and I cant thank everyone enough for their great work, both here at the track and in Brackley and Brixworth, and also for the continued support from Daimler in Stuttgart and PETRONAS in Kuala Lumpur and Turin. None of this would have been possible without their contributions and without the hard work and the passion of everyone on the team. I had a conversation with Lewis on Sunday night in Mexico; he had just won his fifth world championship, but both of us were not fully satisfied - because our objective was to win both titles. Thats why he was fighting so hard today because he wanted to finish this on a high, win the race and win the constructors championship for the team. Valtteri had a trickier season than Lewis, but he has improved his performance this year and played a vital role for this championship success. Five consecutive titles - Im immensely proud of this amazing achievement. 
 
James Allison 
This is an amazing, amazing group of people built up over many years. The skill and the dedication in a sport that is famously complicated - to get all those ducks lined up in a row, not just once or twice but season after season - is just incredible. What was difficult about this season is that the opposition were that quick. We came to the races not knowing if we were going to win, not having any idea whether they were going to smash us. It ebbed and flowed all through the year. We thought we had them punched down so many times - only for them to bounce back up and give us a really tough time, and its still happening now. The fact that this year has been so desperately close shows that the difference between the teams is utterly tiny - and it was Lewis who made the difference for us this year. He keeps putting it on pole, in the races we can make mistakes and hell recover it by doing something unlikely on the track that no-one sees coming and hes spent the whole year not making mistakes. Hes just the consummate racing driver. Were very lucky with the driver partnership that we have. Valtteri had a lot of bad luck at the start of the year when he might have had some race wins and has not had the same success that Lewis has had. Valtteri has been stronger this year than he was last year, hes been a brilliant team-mate to us all and a huge asset.
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