Lewis Hamilton has called for clarity over Formula 1's "very gray" rules to prevent drivers exploiting uncertainty.

The FIA moved to define two of those gray areas on Saturday ahead of qualifying by issuing updated regulations regarding defensive driving and blue flags.

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Asked if F1 is becoming over-regulated and confusing drivers and fans, Hamilton suggested some areas of the rule remain imprecise and need to be tightened up.

"I don't see the rules being an issue, it's just the rules being very gray," said Hamilton, who used the start of the Japanese Grand Prix two weeks ago as an example.

"We discussed the start of the last race. The rule has always been we've got to be in the grid spot  you can't be half a car out, half a car in. At the last race, because we had water on our side of the grid, Daniel Ricciardo [who was behind Hamilton in fourth] placed his car two wheels out, two wheels in.

"It needs to be clear because if that is now allowed, and common sense is allowed to prevail, all of us will just do that and you'll see cars staggered all down the grid.

"Now it's never been a rule. If I'd known in the last race I would have also put the car there. We had asked and they said no. If it's inconsistent then some people will exploit, while some people may get penalties and may not. It's just about having very, very clear instructions, consistency."

The FIA recently changed the rules regarding double-waved yellow flags after claims of inconsistency. Drivers are now forced to abort a lap if they encounter such flags rather than just lift significantly, as was previously the case.

"It wasn't very clear, so some people have got away with some things and other people have been penalized," added Hamilton. "It should be the same all the time, so the clearer you make it, the easier it is. You won't try and exploit it.

"You know if there's a yellow flag, it's a lift; you know if there's a double yellow flag, you cannot finish your lap. There's no lift a little bit before and accelerating faster through the corner where the danger zone is and get away with it as people have done."

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Williams ran with what chief technical officer Pat Symonds called an "experimental" front wing in preparation for the 2017 season during Friday practice for the United States Grand Prix.

The front wing will be 150mm wider as part of next year's rule changes, and Williams ran a version of its 2016 wing with the number of fences that channel airflow passing between the front wheels increased from two to four.

"Here and in Mexico we are running with an experimental front wing, but it's experimental rather than development, it's a bit of a correlation exercise," said Symonds. "We ran it in practice on Friday and we'll run it again on Friday in Mexico because we need to get a certain amount of data on it. It correlates well with what we are looking to do, so it's not an advantage to us this year, it's just a thing we want do try for next year."

Symonds added that the wide-ranging rule changes for next season mean most of the parts being worked on cannot be tried on a 2016 car, but the front wing is an exception.

"When you have incremental changes to the rules you are always carrying on in the wind tunnel, developing a car," said Symonds. "You might change the model number, but a lot of what you are doing is relevant. If you come up with something that is really good you say, 'Sod next year! We'll get on with that now!' But then this year, what we're doing in the wind tunnel isn't relevant really.

"Funnily enough, about a month ago we did something on next year's car that worked really well and we thought 'Crikey!'

"We had never tried it on this year's model, so we just quickly put this year's model back in [the wind tunnel] but thought 'That doesn't work at all.'


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Renezeder vs LeDuc 0138 RSJChampionship comes down to the final lap and ends in a points tie; LeDuc takes the title on wins.

LeDuc podium 0237 RSJ"It's an all-or-nothing scenario," said Kyle LeDuc after clinching his third straight Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series Pro 4 title, and fourth total. "Literally all or nothing. You either win or lose. I love that. That's what we live for, that pressure. It was no more pressure than Saturday at Reno, It was just a race you can't throw away. You push and risk the best you can, but you just can't throw it away. We battled to the end, and the trucks didn't break. Mine was hot, I'm sure his was hot, and we were just shredding!"

It wasn't looking like LeDuc had much of a shot after qualifying. Coming into the final points race of the season at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park, he and Carl Renezeder (leading LeDuc, top) were tied on points, and Renezeder scored the pole, with LeDuc ending up fifth. There were a couple of tough guys that LeDuc was going to have to pass just to get to Renezeder, much less get around him.

Renezeder jumped out to an early lead, followed by Rob MacCachren and Eric Barron. LeDuc pushed his Monster Energy/Toyo Tires Pro 4 to fourth past Bradley Morris in short order, but Barron was going to be another story.

"I hate to ever say no, but it was like, man, I don't got it. I don't have what I need right now. I kept looking at the back of Barron – he drives drastically different than I do, so it's hard to get in your rhythm," LeDuc said.

He managed to get by Barron by taking a wider line through Turn 2, getting a better run toward Turn 3 and grabbing the inside line in the right-hander. His pass of MacCachren, immediately after the restart following the competition yellow at halfway, was a little more forceful and the two banged hard, but both continued. Then it was down to whoever won between Renezeder and LeDuc. Although Renezeder had gained two points in qualifying and leading at halfway, with a two-point difference between first and second, if LeDuc got around him, they would tie on points and LeDuc would take the title based on wins.

LeDuc tried every which way with no success, until they approached the white flag. Renezeder came off the front-straight tabletop sideways, allowing LeDuc to get a run.

"There's a giant silt hole right at the bottom of the jump on the front straight coming out of Turn 4," Renezeder explained. "You don't really know what's in there, because it's just a bunch of silt. I hit something in there and got squirrelly, and that cost me some time."

"He made that mistake; it didn't give me the win, but it gave me the opportunity to pounce," LeDuc said. "He came out of that rut and the truck flew crooked and that set him up wide for [Turn] 1, and I came down, all hell breaking loose. We banged, smoking down the backstretch. You can't write it better. It was epic!"

LeDuc got alongside out of Turn 1, got a better run out of Turn 2 and completed the pass on the entry into Turn 3 on the final lap of the final points race of the season to tie the points and claim the championship.

Pro 4 wasn't the only tight battle with an improbable outcome. Defending Pro Buggy champion Garrett George had a two-point lead over Mike Valentine, with Darren Hardesty Jr. still in the championship fight seven points behind. But with Hardesty Jr. starting second, George starting fifth and Valentine seventh, anything was possible.

"It was going to be a challenge," Hardesty Jr. said. "We just had to work at it. We worked our way to the top on the third corner of the first lap, and just made it happen."

Hardesty 4043 RSJThen all he could do was keep his Bilstein/Mickey Thompson Alumi Craft out front and wait. When the competition yellow came out at halfway, Hardesty had one more point, and with George still in fifth, the championship was his. Then George found a way around Bud Ward for fourth, a position that would create another points tie. If George picked up on more position, he would retain the title. But he couldn't make any more forward progress, and couldn't even gain ground on Kevin McCullough in third. Hardesty (above) won, followed by Elliot Watson; with the win had three victories to George's two, and thus the championship.

"We took the lead and never looked back. Here we are on the top of the box, got the's the greatest feeling in the world. I can't explain how happy I am right now. It's ridiculous," Hardesty Jr. said.

Brooks podium 0341 RSJJerett Brooks (right) merely had to start the Pro Lite race in his Rigid Industries/General Tire truck to claim the Pro Lite title. Once he did, he was free to go for the win and, no matter what happened, the title was his. So he hounded Brandon Arthur's Competitive Metals Pro Lite as best he could, but couldn't make any headway as Arthur took his third win at Wild Horse Pass in 2016. Ronnie Anderson finished third for his third podium finish of the year.

Hailie Deegan had to do more than start her Dirt Princess Mod Kart, depending on where closest pursuer Trey D. Gibbs finished, but the two ended up battling for the win. It was clear Deegan wanted to wrap up the championship in style, and beat Gibbs to the line. In claiming the Mod Kart title, the daughter of multi-time Pro Lite and Pro 2 champ Brian Deegan became the second, second-generation champion in Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series history. (The first was Myles Cheek, who won the 2013 Mod Kart title following his father Chuck Cheek's 2009 Pro Buggy championship). She also became the first female Mod Kart champion.

With Rob MacCachren having already clinched the Pro 2 title and following a bunch of close championship battles, the final race of the day was bound to be a bit anticlimactic. RJ Anderson probably didn't feel that way when he took the lead and held it to the finish for his first victory of the season in his Rockstar Energy/Polaris RAZR Pro 2. Renezeder pursued him for most of the race and attacked late, but an error let him fall back into the clutches of Rob MacCachren, who took over second position.

With the championships decided, the finale is followed on Sunday by the Lucas Oil Challenge Cup, which culminates in the Pro 4s and Pro 2s going head to head in a handicapped battle that usually turns into a knock-down, drag-out fight. The other classes will have their own races with big prizes on the line.

 R3I6890Jenson Button has backed the FIA's clampdown on defensive driving, although he believes that it is merely a formalization of an understanding that existed between most drivers already.

The FIA issued a notice to teams ahead of tomorrow's U.S. Grand Prix at Circuit of The Americas stating in part that "no car may be a manner which could be potentially dangerous to other drivers," and prohibiting "any maneuver ... liable to hinder other drivers, such as ... any abnormal change of direction."

button esteban"I think there's always been an understanding that it's incorrect to move in the braking zone when somebody's trying to overtake, because when you're trying to overtake, everything is on the limit – you're pushing the boundaries," Button said.

"But as soon as somebody moves in front of you and takes the space you were aiming for, you're screwed – you're either going to go over the top of them, or you're going to end up in the barriers. So it's common sense more than anything else, and in 15 years of racing, I never really had any issues. It's only been the last couple of years. So now they've clarified it, and I'm happy about that."

McLaren teammate Fernando Alonso also welcomed the clarification, although the Spaniard is skeptical about how consistently it will be enforced.

"In football [soccer], when you hit the ball with your hand inside the area, it's a penalty," he said. "And sometimes the referee gives the penalty, and sometimes not. This... it was clear before. And sometimes they'd give the penalty, and sometimes they didn't give anything."

The rule clarification takes effect immediately.

 31I1580 edited

Lewis Hamilton beat Formula 1 title rival Nico Rosberg to pole position for the United States Grand Prix, as Mercedes stretched out an advantage over the opposition in qualifying.

Red Bull looked fast in free practice, but it couldn't live with Mercedes in qualifying, where Hamilton pumped in a stunning 1m34.999s lap to bag pole.

The reigning world champion did his damage through the first sector, where he was almost three tenths faster than Rosberg, who ran wide at Turn 1 on both of his Q3 laps.

Rosberg, who briefly held top spot due to finishing his lap before his teammate, was still fast enough to set the second-quickest time, almost three tenths clear of Daniel Ricciardo in the best of the Red Bulls.

Max Verstappen was fourth, ahead of Ferrari duo Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel. The Mercedes drivers and Verstappen will start the race on soft tires after all making it through Q2 on that compound.

Nico Hulkenberg was seventh fastest for Force India, well clear of the remaining top 10 runners. Hulkenberg was in superb form, lapping inside the top six in the first two segments of the session. He was also the only non-Mercedes, Red Bull or Ferrari driver to break into the 1m36s.

Williams pair Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa headed an impressive performance from the Toro Rosso of Carlos Sainz Jr. in rounding out the top 10.

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Hulkenberg's Force India teammate Sergio Perez missed out on making Q3 by just over a tenth of a second.

Fernando Alonso's McLaren-Honda was six hundredths of a second further back in 12th, ahead of the second Toro Rosso of newly re-signed Daniil Kvyat, Esteban Gutierrez's Haas, and Jolyon Palmer's Renault.

Marcus Ericsson completed a cursory run on old tires in Q2 so wound up 16th fastest, after lapping quicker than both Gutierrez and Palmer in Q1.

Palmer complained about his final Q1 run being a "disaster" as he held up Jenson Button's McLaren on his out-lap, but the Renault still made it through to Q2.

Button was furious to drop out in Q1, after encountering the Renault entering the final corner of his best lap. The 2009 world champion ended up a lowly 19th in his McLaren-Honda, fractionally behind Romain Grosjean's Haas and Kevin Magnussen's Renault, which both also missed the cut.

Pascal Wehrlein recovered from binning his Manor in the gravel in final practice to qualify 20th fastest, ahead of Felipe Nasr  who complained about his Sauber's brakes  and Manor teammate Esteban Ocon.


1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m34.999ss 1m34.999s
2 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m35.215ss 0.216s
3 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull/Renault 1m35.509ss 0.510s
4 Max Verstappen Red Bull/Renault 1m35.747ss 0.748s
5 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m36.131ss 1.132s
6 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1m36.358ss 1.359s
7 Nico Hulkenberg Force India/Mercedes 1m36.628ss 1.629s
8 Valtteri Bottas Williams/Mercedes 1m37.116ss 2.117s
9 Felipe Massa Williams/Mercedes 1m37.269ss 2.270s
10 Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso/Ferrari 1m37.326ss 2.327s
11 Sergio Perez Force India/Mercedes 1m37.353ss 2.354s
12 Fernando Alonso McLaren/Honda 1m37.417ss 2.418s
13 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso/Ferrari 1m37.480ss 2.481s
14 Esteban Gutierrez Haas/Ferrari 1m37.773ss 2.774s
15 Jolyon Palmer Renault 1m37.935ss 2.936s
16 Marcus Ericsson Sauber/Ferrari 1m39.356ss 4.357s
17 Romain Grosjean Haas/Ferrari 1m38.308ss 3.309s
18 Kevin Magnussen Renault 1m38.317ss 3.318s
19 Jenson Button McLaren/Honda 1m38.327ss 3.328s
20 Pascal Wehrlein Manor/Mercedes 1m38.548ss 3.549s
21 Felipe Nasr Sauber/Ferrari 1m38.583ss 3.584s
22 Esteban Ocon Manor/Mercedes 1m38.806ss 3.807s


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The FIA is prepared to punish "potentially dangerous" defensive maneuvers in Formula 1 in a clampdown ahead of the United States Grand Prix.
Red Bull driver Max Verstappen's driving this year, in particular, has been in the spotlight, with many of his rivals unhappy with the way he sometimes moves under braking. While Verstappen has not faced any sanctions for his driving, the FIA has issued a clarification over defending, which applies with immediate effect from Sunday's race at Circuit of the Americas.

In event notes issued to the teams, one section reads: "Article 27.5 of the sporting regulations states ' car may be a manner which could be potentially dangerous to other drivers...'.

"Furthermore, article 27.8 prohibits any maneuver'...liable to hinder other drivers, such as...any abnormal change of direction.

"With this in mind, and with the exception of any move permitted by Article 27.6, any change of direction under braking which results in another driver having to take evasive action will be considered abnormal and hence potentially dangerous to other drivers. Any such move will be reported to the stewards."

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The FIA has also clarified rules governing blue flags, a point that was raised in a lengthy discussion during the drivers' briefing on Friday.

The event notes stated: "Article 27.9 of the sporting regulations requires drivers who are caught by another car about to lap him to allow the faster driver past at the first available opportunity.

"The F1 marshalling system has been developed in order to ensure that the point at which a driver is shown blue flags is consistent, rather than trusting the ability of marshals to identify situations that require blue flags. While this has been largely successful, the way in which teams and drivers use the system seems to have become inconsistent.

"From now onwards the system will be set to give a pre-warning when the faster car is within 3.0s of the car about to be lapped. This should be used by the team of the slower car to warn their driver he is soon going to be lapped and that allowing the faster car through should be considered a priority.

"When the faster car is within 1.0s of the car about to be lapped blue flags will be shown to the slower car (in addition to blue cockpit lights and a message on the timing monitors) and the driver must allow the following driver to overtake at the first available opportunity.

"Additional instructions may also be given by race control when necessary."


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DJ5R7618Daniil Kvyat will remain at Toro Rosso alongside Carlos Sainz Jr for 2017, the team has confirmed.

The Russian's future had been the subject of much speculation following his demotion from Red Bull's main team prior to this year's Spanish Grand Prix, with names such as GP2 frontrunner Pierre Gasly having been connected to the drive.

However the team announced on Saturday that its line-up will remain unchanged next year.

"I'm very happy to stay with a team that feels like home to me," said Kvyat, who made his F1 debut with Toro Rosso in 2014. "I'm really looking forward to continuing the hard work together in 2017 and I'm really aiming high. I will always be fully dedicated, giving my 200 percent, and I will be pushing as hard as I usually do."

Team principal Franz Tost said that continuity on the driver front will be an asset to Toro Rosso as it prepares for a raft of major rule changes next year.

"There are so many new elements coming to Formula 1 in general and to our team specifically, in terms of the change of power unit supplier [switching from Ferrari to Renault], that having the same two drivers gives us stability and a benchmark to work from," he said.

"In recent races, it has been clear that Daniil is back on top form. I always told him that his future with us was in his hands and he has stepped up to the mark and delivered the sort of performances that have ensured his 2017 seat.

"We now have a very talented and strong driver pairing to tackle a season in which we expect to be very competitive. For Carlos, it will be his third year with us, which speaks volumes when it comes to how highly we rate him."


 SLA7344Kevin Magnussen has ruled out a move to IndyCar in 2017, although he admits that he is keeping his options open in case he is unable to find a way to remain in F1.

Renault's option on the Dane is understood to have passed, leaving him free to look elsewhere for next year, although he remains hopeful of staying on with the team alongside Nico Hulkenberg, who will move across from Force India.

One of Magnussen's options was to follow in Alexander Rossi's footsteps by moving from F1 into IndyCar with Andretti Autosport. Asked by RACER whether he would be open to the move, the 24-year-old said that he is in contact with the team, but insisted that IndyCar is not on his horizon for next year.

"I went [to Andretti Autosport] at the beginning of 2015; I went to Indianapolis to visit them and talk to them," he said. "I talk to the guys there because I like them, and I support them, and I follow IndyCar, but there is nothing serious going on, and I don't intend to be in IndyCar next year."


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Several F1 seats remain open for next year, including the one at Force India that will be vacated by Hulkenberg. Magnussen admitted that he is casting a wide net, but insists that remaining with Renault is his priority.

"There are options; there are seats available, and we're talking to all of the options," he said. "There's no reason not to talk to people. But it's no more than talking. I want to be here next year, I hope I will be, and I feel I should be. And that's my target. I'm trying as much as I can to let other people do the work in the background and then I need to do my job on the track.

"Whatever I've been through over the last few years, it has been tough, and right now it's tough again. But I feel like it's worth it. I think this team is a place where I can eventually, in future fight for world championships. So the tough times at the moment will be worth it if it works out. There's no reason to give up. It's probably tougher than it should be, but I'm sure it will be worth it."

Prior to his season with Renault, Magnussen raced with McLaren in 2014 before being demoted to test/reserve driver for 2015, and dropped altogether before the end of the season. He tested a Mercedes DTM car and Porsche's LMP1 over the winter before landing the Renault seat, and said that he is being more aggressive in pursuing opportunities this time around to avoid being left stranded.

"One of the mistakes I did with McLaren was to not talk with anyone else because I thought I had the seat, and I had strong indications from them that I did have the seat," he said. "So I didn't feel like I needed to talk to anyone else.

"This year I've learned from that mistake and I've tried to make sure that I won't be in the situation that I can't race anything. So for sure I'm in a better position than I was back then."

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