USA’s Conor Daly scores Valencia victory in GP3

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After taking part in his first Indianapolis 500 last month, American young gun Conor Daly has netted his first victory this season in the GP3 series in Race 1 at Valencia, Spain.

“We got the job done! P1 in Valencia race 1. And yes I DID indeed do big smokey donuts after the checkered! I was a happy American,” tweeted Daly, who added the hashtag #yeehaw.

Daly claimed pole for Race 1 and led wire-to-wire, with ART Grand Prix teammate Facu Regalia coming home behind him in second (1.2 seconds back) to make a 1-2 finish for the outfit. However, he may be in trouble with race stewards, as Autosport passes along word that his post-race celebration of “driving the wrong direction after the checkered flag” was under review.

“It was hard to keep [Regalia] behind at the beginning but when we got to the halfway point, I was able to establish a bit of a gap for the rest of the race,” Daly said afterwards in a post-race press conference. “Our tires held up really well so I was happy with that. I thought at the start, I may have been pushing too hard, but I had to do that to keep in front of [Regalia].

“It was a tough game, but at the end, the tires were still there and very happy to have a strong pace all the way through.”

Daly followed up his win in Race 1 with an eighth-place effort in Race 2, which puts him second in the GP3 championship at four points off of leader Tio Ellinas (55-51). Ellinas finished sixth and fourth in the two races at Circuit Ricardo Tormo.

F1 2017 driver review: Kimi Raikkonen

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Kimi Raikkonen

Team: Scuderia Ferrari
Car No.: 7
Races: 20
Wins: 0
Podiums: 7
Best Finish: P2 (Monaco, Hungary)
Pole Positions: 1
Fastest Laps: 2
Points: 205
Laps Led: 40
Championship Position: 4th

While this may have statistically been Kimi Raikkonen’s best campaign since his first year back in F1 in 2012, there is a good case for it being one of his most disappointing to date.

Raikkonen’s continued role at Ferrari has been questioned on a number of occasions, but the Finn looked capable of answering his critics heading into 2017 after impressing through pre-season testing as he appeared to get to grips well with the new-style cars.

But we soon grew accustomed to the same old story: flashes of potential, but otherwise an underwhelming, unsatisfactory campaign that saw Raikkonen be dwarfed by his teammate, Sebastian Vettel.

Raikkonen’s charge to his first pole position for over eight years in Monaco gave hope of a popular win, only for Ferrari to play its strategy in favor of title contender Vettel – why wouldn’t the team do so? – to leave him a disgruntled second.

While Vettel was able to impress at the majority of circuits, Raikkonen only looked strong at tracks that were unquestionably ‘Ferrari’ tracks, such as Hungary and Brazil. Like Vettel, Raikkonen should have racked up a good haul of points in Singapore, only for the start-line crash to sideline both Ferraris before they even reached Turn 1.

Again there is the question of ‘what could have been?’ in Malaysia had it not been for the spark plug issue on the grid, yet in Japan, Raikkonen was nowhere, finishing behind the Mercedes and Red Bulls.

Finishing just five points clear of Daniel Ricciardo despite having a much faster car for the best part of the season and the Red Bull driver’s own reliability issues sums up the disappointment of Raikkonen’s campaign.

He should have been an ally for Vettel in the title race by nicking points of Lewis Hamilton, much as Valtteri Bottas was doing for his Mercedes teammate. Instead, Raikkonen seemed to be tagging along for the best part of this season.

Season High: Pole in Monaco, his first since the 2008 French Grand Prix.

Season Low: Finishing a distant P4 at Spa – a circuit he made his own in the 2000s.