Brazilians in Brazil: Tony Kanaan seeks result to match passing flare

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Like his countryman Helio Castroneves, Tony Kanaan’s only been able to score one top-five finish in six open-wheel racing starts in his home country of Brazil.

Kanaan never qualified outside the top nine in three starts on the Emerson Fittipaldi Speedway oval in Rio during the CART days. But he only finished once, with fifth place in 1999 his best result in a McDonald’s-sponsored entry for Gerry Forsythe and Steve Horne. He qualified third in his rookie season of 1998.

On the Sao Paulo Sambadromo street circuit, Kanaan’s had less favorable results. Sixth on the grid became 10th, his best result, in 2010 with Andretti Autosport. The last two years with KV Racing Technology, Kanaan was involved in a crash with Castroneves in 2011 and finished 13th this year.

No matter where Kanaan starts, he’s exciting to watch as IndyCar’s most prolific passer. But a better starting position will aid his home race on this occasion in the No. 11 KVRT-SH entry.

F1 2017 driver review: Max Verstappen

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Max Verstappen

Team: Red Bull Racing
Car No.: 33
Races: 20
Wins: 2
Podiums (excluding wins): 2
Pole Positions: 0
Fastest Laps: 1
Points: 168
Laps Led: 133
Championship Position: 6th

Max Verstappen rise as a once-in-a-generation talent continued through the 2017 Formula 1 season, even if reliability issues meant we were made to wait for his best form to arrive.

Verstappen stole the show in a wet-dry Chinese Grand Prix by charging from 16th to seventh in the opening lap before ultimately finishing third for Red Bull, yet he would not grace the podium again until the Malaysian Grand Prix at the start of October.

A combination of power unit problems and on-track clashes saw Verstappen retire from seven of the 12 races in the intermittent period, with incidents in Spain and Austria being avoidable.

Perhaps most embarrassing of all was his stoppage due to a power unit failure in front of a grandstand swathed in orange at the Belgian Grand Prix, a race tens of thousands of Dutch fans had attended to cheer Verstappen on.

But when Verstappen got things right, it was – as he frequently quoted – simply, simply lovely. There was plenty left in the tank, as proven by his sheer domination of the races in Malaysia and Mexico as he took the second and third wins of his career.

Perhaps even more impressive was Verstappen’s victory over Red Bull teammate Daniel Ricciardo in the qualifying head-to-head battle this year, an area the Australian has traditionally been strong in. Verstappen outqualifed his teammate 13-7 – it wasn’t even close…

All in all, Verstappen once again proved that on his day, he is one of the finest talents to grace F1 in recent years. With the right car underneath him next year, a title fight is certainly possible and will be the target – but there is always room for improvement.

And that is the scary part: Verstappen is only going to get better and better.

Season High: Dominating in Malaysia after an early pass on Lewis Hamilton.

Season Low: Crashing out on Lap 1 in Austria.