Takuma Sato takes victory after Alonso drops out. Plus Vettel wins Monaco GP and all the weekend motorsport action

Double Formula 1 world champion Fernando Alonso starred on his Indianapolis 500 debut, battling for the lead for much of the race – before eventually retiring with an engine failure.

Former Formula 1 driver Takuma Sato won the race in his Andretti-Honda, after a thrilling late-race battle with three-time Indy 500 winner Helio Castroneves.

Alonso, who skipped the Monaco Grand Prix to tackle the historic event on the 2.5-mile speedway, had qualified fifth in his Andretti-Honda. After a steady start to the event, Alonso moved up the order after the first round of pitstops, taking the lead on lap 39 out of 200.

Mario Andretti on Fernando Alonso and the Indianapolis 500

Despite his lack of prior oval racing experience Alonso traded the lead several times with team-mates Alexander Rossi and Sato.

A red flag and a series of caution periods shuffled the pack heading into the closing stages of the race, dropping Alonso to the lower reaches of the top then. But he was battling his way back to the front when, on the 179th lap, his Honda engine failed.

Alonso received a rousing reception from the Indianapolis crowd when he climbed out of his car.

“It’s a shame, because we deserved at least to finish,” said Alonso. “The racing was fun, and the performance was good. We were up there and leading. It was a nice surprise to come here against the best drivers in the world on ovals and be competitive.”

Asked if he wanted to return to the Indy 500, Alonso added: “I felt competitive. If I came back I’d know how it feels; it would be easier the second time. 

“It was really good to come here. This has been one of the best experiences of my career.”

Sato was also shuffled down the order during the mid-race sequence, and had to battle his way back to the lead in the closing laps. He then held off Castroneves for glory, taking his second career IndyCar Series win.

"It's an unbelievable feeling," said Sato. "It was a tough, tough race. Helio really drives fair, so I could trust him and we had a fantastic race."

Dubai-based British driver Ed Jones finished third on his Indy 500 debut ahead of British ex-F1 racer Max Chilton, who led several laps late in the race before slipping back.

The race was interrupted by a number of large crashes, including one in which four-time IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon was flipped into the air, landing on the inside wall.

Formula 1: Monaco Grand Prix

Sebastian Vettel led home Ferrari team-mate Kimi Räikkönen in Monaco – but was forced to deny that the result was due to the team giving him a favourable pit strategy.

Räikkönen had qualified on pole and led Vettel in the early stages, but was called into the pits first. Vettel pushed hard before making his stop five laps later, vaulting past the Finn in the pits.

After qualifying a lowly 13th, Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton could only recover to seventh, gifting Vettel a 25-point lead in the title battle. Following the race, Hamilton said: “It’s clear to me that Ferrari have chosen their number one driver.”

But Vettel said: “I had a couple of laps where the car was really, really good. I pushed with everything I had because I knew there was a chance to win. There was no plan of any team orders or anything like that.”

Daniel Ricciardo finished third for Red Bull.

Jenson Button, making a one-off return for McLaren-Honda, was forced to start from the pit lane after engine trouble in qualifying and retired following a clash with Sauber’s Pascal Wehrlein. Button was handed a three-place grid penalty for his next race this year – which he will likely never serve.

The next race is the Canadian Grand Prix on 11 June.

FIA World Rallycross Championship: Lydden Hill, Kent

Double champion Petter Solberg won the final round of the FIA World Ralycross Championship to take place at the historic Lydden Hill circuit in Kent. The Norwegian led home PSRX Volkswagen Sweden team-mate Johan Kristoffersson in the final, with Andreas Bakkerud third in a Ford Focus.

Interview: Petter Solberg on World Rallycross and Lydden Hill

British Touring Car Championship star Andrew Jordan made a guest outing in the event, finishing fifth in his semi-final.

Autocar tests a rallycross supercar at Lydden Hill

Round-up: Formula 2, Nurburgring 24 Hours and World Touring Car Championship

  • Brit Oliver Rowland claimed his first Formula 2 victory in the Feature Race at Monaco. Rowland took the lead after a well-timed stop under the safety car, and led home Artem Markelov.
  • McLaren Junior driver Nyck de Vries won Sunday’s shorter F3 Sprint race in Monaco. Rowland finished ninth, despite being hit by a rival late in the race.
  • Audi Sport Team Land claimed a last-lap victory in the Nürburgring 24 Hours after a well-timed late stop for wet tyres. The crew of Kelvin van der Linde, Christopher Mies, Connor De Phillippi and Markus Winkelhock took the fourth win in five years for an R8 LMS.
  • Volvo Polestar driver Thed Bjork and Nicky Catsburg took a win each in the FIA World Touring Car Championship rounds on the Nordschleife. Catsburg now leads the points.

Nürburgring 24: motorsport's more hardcore fan festival in pictures

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Comments
4

28 May 2017
Alonso must be wondering if his run of bad luck will ever end. His ability deserves better.

29 May 2017
But at least he didn't have to witness the podium atmos at Monaco.

29 May 2017
I am not a holy person who profoundly believes that Ferrari didn't interfere with Vettel-Raikonen changing places. But, a lot of Tifosi are saints.

30 May 2017
Impressive Fernando !

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