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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Auto Racing: Rain washes out IndyCar qualifying at GP of Louisiana

Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton took pole for Chinese F1 Grand Prix at Shanghai. (Associated Press)
Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton took pole for Chinese F1 Grand Prix at Shanghai. (Associated Press)
Associated Press

Juan Pablo Montoya got some extra mileage out of his season-opening IndyCar series victory, thanks to a rain out of qualifying Saturday in the inaugural Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana in Avondale.

The grid order for today’s race outside New Orleans was set on points for the season. And because there has been only one race, drivers will start in the order they finished in St. Petersburg, Florida, two weeks ago.

That’s good news for the four Team Penske cars that finished in the top five.

But it’s a frustrating setback for Chip Ganassi Racing driver Scott Dixon, who had the fastest time in Saturday’s practice. Now he’ll have to start 15th.

Fellow Ganassi driver Tony Kanaan, who had Friday’s fastest practice lap, will still have a good grid spot based on his third-place finish in St. Petersburg

Formula One

Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton held off a strong challenge from teammate Nico Rosberg to claim pole position at the Chinese Grand Prix qualifying.

Hamilton’s time of 1 minute, 35.782 seconds was just 0.04 seconds faster than Rosberg.

Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, who surprisingly beat both Mercedes drivers to win the Malaysian GP two weeks ago, qualified third but was nearly 1 second behind Hamilton.

Williams’ drivers Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas will start fourth and fifth in today’s race, respectively.

Rounding out the top 10 were Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen, Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo, Lotus’ Romain Grosjean, and the two Sauber drivers, Felipe Nasr and Marcus Ericsson.

• For a team that got knocked out of the first round of qualifying for the third straight Formula One race, McLaren drivers Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso seemed improbably upbeat at the Chinese Grand Prix.

“We’re enjoying growing up together as a team,” Alonso said. “We can look at each other in a few months and be proud of how far we’ve come.”

McLaren’s new partnership with Honda hasn’t gone as smoothly as either side would have hoped three races into the season. Button and Alonso have had a host of problems with their engines and haven’t managed a top-10 finish between them. At the Malaysian Grand Prix two weeks ago, neither even managed to finish the race.

But both drivers emphasized how much progress they’ve made since Malaysia with the pace of the car, even if they’ve failed to improve their positions in qualifying.

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