Ryan Briscoe returns to IndyCar cockpit

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One day after helping secure a 1-2 class finish for Level 5 Motorsports at an American Le Mans Series race in California, Ryan Briscoe quickly re-embraced the feeling of driving an IndyCar at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

In a one-off effort for Chip Ganassi Racing, Briscoe is running the No. 8 NTT Data Honda this month and is expected to be at or near the front in the 97th Indianapolis 500. He took his first laps of the month this afternoon and was ranked 17th on the time charts at 217.773 miles per hour in his backup “T” car.

But with the speed not being a big priority until later in the week, today was a day for Briscoe to get time in both his primary and backup entries.

“Both cars feel great,” said Briscoe, who earned seven victories in a full-time run for Team Penske from 2008 to 2012 before shifting to sports cars this season in the ALMS.

“The boys have done a great job preparing them both. When I went out tonight, it was like I never left driving IndyCars. It just felt normal. It feels good to be back in the groove of things and looking forward to doing more tomorrow.”

As for next season, Briscoe says he is hopeful that he can come back to IndyCar full-time. Despite losing his former ride with Penske, he maintains a good relationship with the team, which goes along with his philosophy of not burning any bridges in the tight-knit world of IndyCar racing.

“You never know what’s around the next corner,” he said. “You just have to keep with it and stay positive. It’s such a small community of people and so many guys that I worked with at Penske are [now] at Ganassi, as well. And the rest of them I know from having raced at Ganassi in 2005.

“You just have to go out there and be professional and just keep doing what we do. I feel like I have a place in IndyCar, and I just have to go out and do a good job.”

Hamilton: Abu Dhabi ‘the last race with good-looking cars’ in F1

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Lewis Hamilton believes that this weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will be remembered as the last race with good-looking Formula 1 cars ahead of the introduction of the ‘Halo’ cockpit protection for next year.

Officials from the FIA and F1 Strategy Group confirmed earlier this year that the Halo would be fitted to all cars from the 2018 season in a bid to improve safety standards, with the deaths of Justin Wilson and Jules Bianchi putting head protection high on the agenda for the series’ chiefs.

Hamilton has long made his opposition to the Halo clear, believing it will ruin the look of F1 cars, and echoed his thoughts ahead of the final Halo-less race in Abu Dhabi this weekend.

“It’s the last year of looking good I think in the cars. It’s the last race where the cars will look good,” Hamilton said.

“I think next year, it’s all downhill from there in terms of how they look.

“But safety will go up at least, and maybe it could be successful in some way.”

Hamilton’s F1 title rival Sebastian Vettel was less bothered about the change, believing the field will adjust and move on.

“The cars will look different next year. Everything I’ve seen so far looks different, but on the other hand it is something we all get used to,” Vettel said.

“But no doubt the cars look better now, but we’ll get used to it, and we’ll work on the aesthetics so it can be better. It is less of a big deal.”

Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo shared Vettel’s view, saying: “I don’t think it’s gonna be as dramatic as most people make it out to be.”