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BC-CAR--Race Day-The Latest

May 26, 2019
It’s halfway through the Monaco Grand Prix and Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton is still in the lead as he chases the 77th win of his career. After 39 0f 78 laps, the Mercedes driver is less than one second ahead of Max Verstappen’s charging Red Bull.

MONACO (AP) — The Latest on motorsport’s busiest day (all times local):

4:10 p.m.

It’s halfway through the Monaco Grand Prix and Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton is still in the lead as he chases the 77th win of his career.

After 39 0f 78 laps, the Mercedes driver is less than one second ahead of Max Verstappen’s charging Red Bull. Verstappen has five seconds to add onto his time after earlier receiving a time penalty for an unsafe release from the pits.

Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel is about 2 seconds behind Hamilton in third place and Valtteri Bottas is fourth.

Vettel and Bottas are within five seconds of Verstappen and, as things stand, would move above him overall.

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10 a.m.

One of the heartwarming stories of the Indy 500 is that of tiny Juncos Racing and young driver Kyle Kaiser, who bumped mighty McLaren from the field on a shoestring budget and without a primary sponsor.

Upon hearing that last part, more than 20 fans donated $100 apiece earlier this week to help fund the effort. Touched by the sentiment, the team then allowed them to sign the left side of the car in black Sharpie, just behind where Kaiser sits in the cockpit. Those signatures were left even after Juncos Racing landed a couple of corporate backers this past week.

“It’s awesome,” Kaiser said with a bright smile Sunday. “Might make the left side of the car a little heavier, though.”

Kaiser is making his second Indy 500 start. He dropped out with a mechanical problem just past the halfway point in last year’s race.

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3:50 p.m.

Max Verstappen has got off rather lightly with a five-second time penalty by race officials after his unsafe release from the pits.

Verstappen’s Red Bull was released too soon and he clipped the side of the Mercedes driven by Valtteri Bottas.

The incident bumped Verstappen up to second place, Sebastian Vettel into third, and Bottas down to fourth.

Since Monaco is usually a one-stop race, Verstappen may not need to go back to the pits and so is likely to have the five seconds added onto his time after the race.

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9:45 a.m.

Large crowds are once again descending on Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the biggest one-day sporting event in the world, and most of those fans are bringing along umbrellas.

There was plenty of rain on the radar Sunday morning, though none over the racetrack. And if that stays the case, the 103rd running of the Indianapolis 500 is scheduled to begin 12:45 p.m. Eastern time.

Yet the chance of rain remains about 80 percent, and that means teams are preparing for anything.

Simon Pagenaud will lead the field to green for Team Penske.

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3:30 p.m.

Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc is out of the Monaco Grand Prix.

He punctured his right rear tire, sending carbon debris from his shredded tire onto the track, after a bold overtaking move backfired early in Sunday’s race. Leclerc tried to get past Nico Hulkenberg’s Renault on the outside heading into the La Rascasse turn, one turn after making the same move to overtake the Haas car of Romain Grosjean.

The incident prompted a safety car to come out as debris was removed. Leclerc retired from his hometown race on lap 19 of 78.

Drivers profited from the safety car to come into the pits for new tires and as they emerged, there was a near miss as Max Verstappen’s car was released too soon and he almost hit the Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas. Verstappen was under investigation by race officials.

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3:20 p.m.

Lewis Hamilton has made a good start from pole position at the Monaco Grand Prix.

The defending Formula One champion had little trouble holding position heading into the first turn at Sainte Devote.

Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen were unable to find a gap to squeeze through on the narrow 3.3 kilometer (2-mile) street circuit.

Starting from 15th place on the grid after Ferrari bungled his qualifying on Saturday, home favorite Charles Leclerc jumped up a couple of places in the first five laps.

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2:10 p.m.

Drivers are wearing red caps with Niki written on them ahead of the race in memory of Niki Lauda.

The three-time F1 champion died on Monday at the age of 70, less than one year after a lung transplant.

Lauda, who suffered third-degree burns and lost most of his right ear after being rescued from a burning car at the German GP in 1976, was hugely popular in F1. He often stood out when walking around the paddock with his distinctive red cap on.

Further tributes were to be held for Lauda with a minute’s silence at 2:53 p.m.

Fans watching from the stands and those on yachts in the harbor were also encouraged to express their support.

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1:10 p.m.

From his giant hilltop palace perched over the streets of the tiny Principality’s winding streets, Prince Albert has seen many races at the Monaco Grand Prix.

But he’s never seen anyone from Monaco actually winning.

The last — and only time — the Monaco national anthem celebrated a home driver was when Monegasque driver Louis Chiron won in 1931.

Prince Rainier III, Albert’s father and husband to the American actress Grace Kelly, was only a young boy when Chiron won.

Hopes are high that Charles Leclerc can become the second driver from Monaco to win the race, and Albert has a close bond with Leclerc.

But the 21-year-old Ferrari driver may have to wait until next year because he is starting from way back in 15th place on the grid after his team botched qualifying on Saturday.

Monaco is famed for its glittering casino, however, and Leclerc is prepared to gamble to have a chance of winning.

He says: “I’ll have to take a lot of risks I think, even risking to crash.”

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1:05 a.m.

One of the busiest days in motorsports will get underway on the French Riviera.

Formula One kicks it all off with the Monaco Grand Prix on Sunday, when the dominant Mercedes team will look for a sixth straight win this season.

The Silver Arrows are well placed to do so with defending F1 champion Lewis Hamilton on pole position and teammate Valtteri Bottas second on the grid.

Ferrari is struggling — again — with Sebastian Vettel starting from fourth and Charles Leclerc down in 16th after a baffling strategical team error during qualifying.

Simon Pagenaud starts from the pole for the Indianapolis 500 in a car owned by Roger Penske, who is celebrating the 50th anniversary of his first race at Indy.

Penske has won the 500 a record 17 times, and has defending race winner Will Power in his stable.

The field is the tightest in Indy 500 history based on qualifying speeds from first to 33rd.

William Byron starts up front at the Coca-Cola 600 after becoming, at 21 years old, the youngest driver to capture the pole for NASCAR’s longest race.

Aric Almirola will start second with defending race champion Kyle Busch in third.

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