Magnussen on top as Rossi hits trouble in test

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McLaren’s young driver Kevin Magnussen was quickest on the first day of this week’s test at Silverstone.

Magnussen, who is currently second in the Formula Renault 3.5 championship, posted a best time of 1’33.602 with 15 minutes of running remaining.

But American driver Alexander Rossi was unable to do a quick timed lap at the end of the session as the hydraulics had failed on his Caterham.

“We were still able to complete most of the day’s plan,” said Rossi.

“After the installation lap we were straight into the program, running through a number of test items in both the morning and afternoon sessions that will help the team in the coming races.”

Rossi will hand his car over to Will Stevens for tomorrow’s test.

Daniel Ricciardo was originally scheduled to drive for Red Bull today, but his run has been postponed to tomorrow after the team decided to reorganize its running plan.

Day one times

Driver Team Time Difference
Kevin Magnussen McLaren 1’33.602
Paul di Resta Force India 1’33.774 +0.172
Antonio Felix da Costa Red Bull 1’33.821 +0.219
James Calado Force India 1’33.986 +0.384
Daniel Juncadella Williams 1’34.098 +0.496
Johnny Cecotto Jnr Toro Rosso 1’34.193 +0.591
Robin Frijns Sauber 1’34.236 +0.634
Nicolas Prost Lotus 1’34.810 +1.208
Davide Rigon Ferrari 1’34.874 +1.272
Alexander Rossi Caterham 1’35.651 +2.049
Tio Ellinas Marussia 1’36.676 +3.074
Max Chilton Marussia 1’38.347 +4.745

IndyCar 2017 driver review: Sebastien Bourdais

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MotorSportsTalk continues its annual review of the Verizon IndyCar Series drivers that raced in 2017. A dream start occurred for Sebastien Bourdais and the Dale Coyne Racing team upon their reunion, followed by a nightmare in Indianapolis with a huge crash in qualifying, and ended with a rapid recovery to build confidence for 2018.

Sebastien Bourdais, No. 18 Dale Coyne Racing Honda

  • 2016: 14th Place, 1 Win, Best Start 3rd, 1 Podium, 3 Top-5, 11 Top-10, 24 Laps Led, 11.9 Avg. Start, 11.2 Avg. Finish
  • 2017: 21st Place (8 Starts), 1 Win, Best Start 6th, 2 Podiums, 2 Top-5, 5 Top-10, 74 Laps Led, 12.4 Avg. Start, 11.0 Avg. Finish

The 2017 campaign for Sebastien Bourdais upon his return to Dale Coyne Racing will forever be known as both a year of “what could have been” and a year of “what a comeback it was.”

The abnormal season for Bourdais stretched eight races with a three-month break in the middle owing to his own mistake qualifying for the Indianapolis 500, which left him with multiple pelvic fractures and a fracture to his right hip. His car was a rocket ship; but after two laps at 231 mph, Bourdais appeared to over-correct and destroyed the wall at Turn 2 in Indy in a massive 127G impact. It was a horrific looking accident, but one that also saw Bourdais rather lucky to have not been injured worse.

It set forth in motion an incredible recovery that saw Bourdais back testing the Monday after Mid-Ohio, just over two months since the accident, then in race action just over three months later at the 1.25-mile Gateway Motorsports Park oval, and because Bourdais is a regulation badass, he finished in the top-10 straight out of the box. He worked as hard as he did to return earlier than anticipated to avoid an offseason of questions asking if he’d come back and if he’d be strong enough to do so.

The recovery was a welcome story to end the year after the agony at Indy that stopped a potential title run or certainly top-five in points finish in its tracks. A classic Coyne strategy special vaulted Bourdais from last to first and a popular win in his U.S. hometown of St. Petersburg to kick off the year. A second place at Long Beach backed it up and eighth at Barber kept him atop the standings.

But Indy was shaping up to be an important bounce back weekend after Bourdais got taken out in Phoenix, then incurred an engine failure in the IMS road course race. And then, of course, his loud and violent accident qualifying for the ‘500 changed the course of the season.

After three “almost there” but largely unfulfilling years at KV Racing Technology, Bourdais embraced the family atmosphere back at Coyne along with longtime engineers Craig Hampson and Olivier Boisson, determined to continue punching above the team’s weight. He crafted a remarkable story all season and will be keen to fulfill it over the course of a proper full campaign in 2018.