Chilton replaced by Gonzalez for FP1 in Spain

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Marussia test driver Rodolfo Gonzalez is set to complete his second Formula One practice session at next weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix, deputizing for Max Chilton.

The Venezuelan driver first stepped into the MR-02 car at the Bahrain Grand Prix, where he replaced Jules Bianchi for free practice one. Despite finishing last, Gonzalez’s running was curtailed by a gearbox failure, and he finished within a second of Chilton which was a respectable result.

Running reserve drivers in free practice appears to be a popular tactic for many teams at the moment, with Caterham giving Heikki Kovalainen some track time in Bahrain. With in-season testing banned, this is the most efficient method of allowing testers to get on track. However, it may have a negative effect on the drivers who are forced to sit out. Earlier this week, Chilton spoke about the need to work with the new upgrades which will be brought to the race, yet it seems he will not benefit as greatly as he may have hoped.

For Gonzalez, the Spanish Grand Prix will present a second chance to impress the F1 fraternity, and he will undoubtedly be setting his sights on joining compatriot Pastor Maldonado on the grid in the near future.

F1 Paddock Pass: United States Grand Prix post-race (VIDEO)

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As Lewis Hamilton took another step towards his fourth Formula 1 World Championship Sunday at the United States Grand Prix at Circuit of The Americas, plenty of other topics of discussion emerged in the wake of Round 17 of the season from Austin.

Hamilton’s win came as his Mercedes AMG Petronas team claimed its fourth consecutive Constructor’s Championship, Scuderia Ferrari came up short once again despite a valiant effort in second and third, and Max Verstappen’s penalty after the race was the major talking point.

Elsewhere Valtteri Bottas struggled again, the Sahara Force India twins continued to pick up points, Carlos Sainz Jr. made a major positive impact in his first start with Renault, Brendon Hartley impressed on debut at Toro Rosso and Romain Grosjean and Haas F1 Team endured a tough weekend on Haas’ home soil.

Check out all the recap from the latest USGP in the latest post-race edition of the NBC Sports Group original digital series Paddock Pass with NBCSN pit reporter and insider Will Buxton, below.