Vergne ecstatic with best-ever result in F1

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Jean-Eric Vergne is delighted to have recorded his best-ever finish in Formula One at the Canadian Grand Prix, taking the checkered flag in 6th place which was made all the better for the Frenchman as the race was run in dry conditions.

“Incredible! I’m very happy. The best result for me of course, but also the highest finishing position since Vettel’s results for the team in 2008,” Vergne explained in a team statement. “It is even more satisfying, because it was a normal race in the dry, with no one going out in front of me so we achieved this position fair and square.”

Vergne feared that he would not even finish in the top sixteen yesterday in qualifying, but his record as a wet-weather specialist meant that many expected him to drop back during the dry race. Instead, he ran strongly to pass Bottas early on and hold it together to pick up eight valuable points.

“It’s a great result for the team as we are making progress race by race and it’s very encouraging for the rest of the season. It wasn’t too complicated, because we had the pace to maintain that position, although we did not have the speed of those ahead.”

Despite scoring such a great result, Vergne is confident that Toro Rosso can do even better in 2013.

“We must continue to push hard on the development of the car, starting with the next race at Silverstone, so that we can aim even higher than this.”

As well as aiding Toro Rosso’s cause, Vergne may have put himself in pole position to join Sebastian Vettel at Red Bull next season thanks to this result.

IndyCar 2017 driver review: Ed Carpenter

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MotorSportsTalk continues its annual review of the Verizon IndyCar Series drivers that raced in 2017. The 2017 season behind the wheel was better for Ed Carpenter than either of the last two years, but still wasn’t ideal results-wise in his six oval starts.

Ed Carpenter, No. 20 Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet

  • 2016: 25th Place (5 Starts), Best Finish 18th, Best Start 5th, 0 Top-5, 0 Top-10, 1 Lap Led, 11.2 Avg. Start, 21.8 Avg. Finish
  • 2017: 22nd Place (6 Starts), Best Finish 7th, Best Start 2nd, 0 Top-5, 1 Top-10, 5 Laps Led, 11.3 Avg. Start, 12.3 Avg. Finish

Ed Carpenter’s 2017 season was largely one of frustration, both behind the wheel and as a team owner.

While a respectable turnaround in results occurred – Carpenter finished between seventh and 12th in five of his six oval races after a nightmare season of ending 18th or worse in each of his 2016 starts – this is still not what he sets out to strive for in the races he does. Lost opportunities loomed larger than any official result he or the Ed Carpenter Racing team achieved.

Carpenter and new teammate JR Hildebrand, in for the departed Josef Newgarden, dominated preseason testing in Phoenix but Hildebrand could only muster third in the race, Carpenter a season-best seventh. Then at Indianapolis, Carpenter (second) and Hildebrand (sixth) flew the flag for Chevrolet in qualifying and practice pace, but they fell to 11th and 16th on race day owing to a front-wing change and late-race penalty for passing before a restart.

Both drivers got collected in incidents at Texas. Hildebrand qualified and finished a season-best second in Iowa but that result came only after the ECR crew rebuilt his car from a crash in practice. Then Carpenter had a practice crash in Pocono and despite a rapid rebuild, they missed the clock to qualify by mere minutes and were unable to do so. Carpenter’s spin on a slick Gateway track at the start of the race sent him over Will Power’s nose assembly in one of the scarier looking incidents of the year, although fortunately he was OK.

In a similar refrain as we often write, it’s not that Carpenter’s lost his ability to drive and he remains one of the series’ savviest and smartest people in the paddock. There have been a lot of extenuating circumstances of late, and it almost felt as though this team had “empty nest” components. Since September, Carpenter has had to secure his team’s future with a move away from its Speedway, Ind. shop, line up Spencer Pigot for a full-time drive replacing Hildebrand in the No. 21 car, find a new road/street course driver in the No. 20 car, and manage both driving and owning himself.