St. Petersburg flashback: 2003 race debut

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The 2013 Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg marks 10 years since the first open-wheel race on the streets of St. Pete. The Champ Car series raced here in February, 2003.

A bespectacled young Frenchman named Sebastien Bourdais made his debut on the U.S. shores that race. He took to the track and Lola-Ford Cosworth car like a duck to water, scoring the pole position for Newman/Haas Racing. His race was less successful, ending in 11th place after issues in the pits.

Meanwhile, Paul Tracy romped to the victory that kick-started his championship winning season. Michel Jourdain Jr. and Bruno Junqueira, who each had a one-off drive in IndyCar last year, completed the podium.

Bourdais (right, last year), is one of only four drivers from the inaugural St. Pete running who will also race here this year. Veterans Oriol Servia and Alex Tagliani were in the field, as was Ryan Hunter-Reay, in his Champ Car series debut. Hunter-Reay drove as teammate to KV Racing Technology co-owner, Jimmy Vasser.

Daniel Ricciardo would relish being Lewis Hamilton’s teammate

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BAKU, Azerbaijan (AP) — Daniel Ricciardo says he would relish the challenge of having Lewis Hamilton as his teammate if he joins Mercedes next year.

Ricciardo is out of contract at Red Bull at the end of the season and expressed interest in joining teams like Mercedes or Ferrari to help him challenge for the championship.

The Australian says he would “love to obviously be challenged against the best and Lewis is obviously up there.”

He adds: “I don’t want to say it’s just Lewis I’m looking for but that would be a good challenge.”

Ricciardo says he won’t accept a faster car if it means playing second fiddle to an established star.

He says “there’s always been really good clarity and fairness (at Red Bull) … and I would expect that environment everywhere.”