Rest of Toronto’s Sunday top 10 post under-the-radar, but successful days

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A few news and notes on the days of those who finished in fourth through 10th in the Honda Indy Toronto second race of the IZOD IndyCar Series doubleheader weekend are below:

  • Fourth-placed Dario Franchitti recovered from opening lap contact with Will Power going into Turn 3 and an early pit stop after the first lap. He switched from Firestone red alternate tires onto blacks, which he was able to run the remainder of the day. The first caution on Lap 65 was a godsend for him, as he could afford to make his final stop of the day and not lose track position.
  • Fifth-placed E.J. Viso was best of the four-car Andretti Autosport quartet, ending a rough weekend for that group. It’s Viso’s first top-five finish on a road or street course in 2013, and second in total this year.
  • Charlie Kimball wasn’t able to match his runner-up finish scored at Toronto last year, or his runner-up at Pocono last weekend, but a solid, consistent 15thh to sixth run kept him on the verge of the top 10 in points. He’s 11th, and just one point behind Will Power at race end (273-272).
  • Mike Conway surged from 23rd on the grid to 13th just in the opening three or four laps, and enjoyed a more casual climb from there to end in seventh for the second day running for Dale Coyne Racing. Conway, who has started only five IndyCar races all season, has just three fewer points than Sebastian Saavedra of Dragon Racing, who’s run all 12…
  • Justin Wilson wasn’t a factor although he tended to run longer on fuel stints. Respectable if unspectacular, eighth for Coyne’s lone full season driver keeps him ninth in the standings.
  • Marco Andretti ended a relatively anonymous ninth, but still improved eight spots from a tough grid position of 17th. At 70 points back of points leader Helio Castroneves, he needs a late surge and some wins to stay in title contention.
  • Last in the top 10 but certainly not least, a needed, needed 10th place for Alex Tagliani and the Barracuda Racing/Bryan Herta Autosport team. Tagliani started eighth and avoided the pitfalls or poor luck that have often plagued his season. It’s hardly a monumental result, but here’s hoping that his and the team’s first top-10 finish since the St. Petersburg season opener can be the momentum kick for the rest of 2013.

F1 2017 driver review: Nico Hulkenberg

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Nico Hulkenberg

Team: Renault
Car No.: 27
Races: 20
Wins: 0
Podiums: 0
Best Finish: P6 (Spain, Great Britain, Belgium, Abu Dhabi)
Pole Positions: 0
Fastest Laps: 0
Points: 43
Championship Position: 10th

Expectations were hard to peg for Renault heading into its second full season back in F1 with a factory team, but Nico Hulkenberg was surely expected to be the man spearheading its charge.

With teammate Jolyon Palmer severely underperforming, Hulkenberg did exactly that, bringing home all but 14 of the team’s points in the final standings. However, consistency was never something he truly found.

Many of Renault’s issues were down to reliability issues, sidelining Hulkenberg for six races – four coming in a five-race stint from Singapore to Mexico – yet he only scored points in consecutive races on three occasions.

When Hulkenberg and Renault were on form, they proved to be a potent combination, often topping the midfield fight and even looking faster than Force India come the end of the season. His run to sixth at the final race in Abu Dhabi was crucial for the constructors’ championship as Renault jumped Toro Rosso, securing an extra slice of prize money in the process.

But for a driver who was so often tipped as being a future star in F1, Hulkenberg still has a lot to prove. Renault is set to offer a good platform for the German moving forward with factory support, yet if he cannot beat new teammate Carlos Sainz Jr. through 2018, concerns will surely be raised.

Season High: Charging to sixth in Abu Dhabi despite a penalty.

Season Low: A tough run to 16th in Malaysia.