Ricciardo quickest on day two of Silverstone test

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Daniel Ricciardo has finished the second day of the Young Drivers’ Test at Silverstone fastest during a session that saw him get behind the wheel of the Red Bull RB9 for the first time.

However, the Australian’s run for the defending world champions came to an abrupt stop after a mistake saw him stop in the gravel, bringing out the red flag just seven laps into the afternoon session. Ricciardo soon returned to the track though, finishing the day P1 for Toro Rosso and P3 for Red Bull as the only driver to break the 1:33 barrier.

Between Ricciardo’s times was Carlos Sainz Jr. who finished just 0.044 seconds behind the Toro Rosso driver, with Sainz’s time coming at the wheel of the STR8 in the afternoon session. Sporting a new haircut in P4 was Davide Valsecchi, with the Lotus driver looking to stake a claim for any vacant seat in 2014. He finished just ahead of British pair Oliver Turvey (McLaren) and James Calado (Force India) with the latter impressing many during his second day of running.

Antonio Felix da Costa completed just 19 laps for Red Bull during the morning session, but the Portuguese driver still managed to finish a respectable 7th ahead of Ferrari’s Davide Rigon and Pastor Maldonado for Williams. Nico Hulkenberg shared driving duties with Sauber tester Robin Frijns today with the duo finishing 10th and 12th respectively, separated by DTM driver Daniel Juncadella who took over from Maldonado in the afternoon session.

Formula Renault 3.5 driver Will Stevens took to the wheel of the Caterham CT-03 for the first time and put in more laps than any other driver in 13th, finishing three-tenths ahead of compatriot Paul di Resta. Rodolfo Gonzalez propped up the leaderboard for Marussia down in P15.

Young Drivers’ Test, Silverstone Circuit: Day two result

1 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso 1:32.972 48 laps
2 Carlos Sainz Junior Toro Rosso 1:33.016,39 laps
3 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1:33.187 59 laps
4 Davide Valsecchi Lotus 1:33.554 91 laps
5 Oliver Turvey McLaren 1:33.864 97 laps
6 James Calado Force India 1:33.957 47 laps
7 Antonio Felix da Costa Red Bull 1:33.958 19 laps
8 Davide Rigon Ferrari 1:34.053 97 laps
9 Pastor Maldonado Williams 1:34.116 71 laps
10 Nico Hulkenberg Sauber 1:34.224 52 laps
11 Daniel Juncadella Williams 1:34.631 33 laps
12 Robin Frijns Sauber 1:34.731 17 laps
13 Will Stevens Caterham 1:36.082 98 laps
14 Paul Di Resta Force India 1:36.356 41 laps
15 Rodolfo Gonzalez Marussia 1:37.949 92 laps

Mercedes, Ferrari go conservative on Austrian GP tire picks

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Pirelli has confirmed all 20 Formula 1 drivers’ tire picks for next weekend’s Austrian Grand Prix at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg, with most opting to stack up on ultra-softs.

As it does for every grand prix, Pirelli will bring three compounds to Austria next week, electing for the softest possible combination of ultra-soft, super-soft and soft tires.

In the regular pre-race release of each driver’s tire picks, Pirelli revealed that Force India, McLaren and Red Bull have gone down the most aggressive routes, stacking up on the ultra-soft tire.

Title contenders Mercedes and Ferrari have gone down a more conservative route, favoring additional sets of the super-soft compound.

Ferrari drivers Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen will take seven sets of ultra-softs to Spielberg, while Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas will have eight sets at their disposal through the weekend.

Graham Rahal survives Road America to finish eighth

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Graham Rahal and Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing faced a roller coaster of a race during the Kohler Grand Prix at Road America on Sunday.

He was a rocket off the initial start, jumping from sixth on the grid up to fourth exiting turn 1, but was almost immediately ordered to surrender a position for blocking. He quickly slipped back to sixth, and then began plummeting down the order as he battled an oversteer condition that saw his car chew through its rear tires more quickly than others.

Forced to abandon the planned three-stop strategy, he and the No. 15 Gehl Honda team switched to a four-stop plan that saw him drop well outside the top ten at times.

However, they kept plugging away and rebounded nicely in the second half of the race to eventually finish in eighth. While he would have liked to finish higher up the order, Rahal knows that he and the team got everything they could out of it.

“The car was a handful today. I knew about five laps in that I didn’t have the pace for a three-stop strategy,” Rahal revealed post-race. “We tried as best we could to work with what we had during the race and overcome it. I would have obviously liked to have finished better, but eighth is about as good as we could do today. We struggled with a very loose race car all weekend and just couldn’t put a dent in the problem. We worked awfully hard but just missed it this weekend.”

The eighth-place finish keeps Rahal in the championship hunt. Rahal now sits seventh in the standings, 11 points behind fifth-place Josef Newgarden and 72 behind championship leader Scott Dixon.

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Ed Jones continues steady run with seventh at Road America

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Dale Coyne Racing’s Ed Jones has made waves in the 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series season with a string of solid performances that belie his rookie status.

And Sunday’s Kohler Grand Prix at Road America was no different.

The 22-year-old battled an oversteering car most of the weekend at Road America, and had to navigate a little carnage late in the race as Alexander Rossi and Ryan Hunter-Reay both fell through the field with front wing problems.

However, Jones weathered all storms to finish an impressive seventh, his fifth finish inside the top 10 this year, and his best finish since his third place at the 101st Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade MotorOil.

“It was a really tough race,” Jones said of the effort. “We had a loose car yesterday. It was loose, but fast, for qualifying, and today again the car was really loose. I was hanging on the whole race, but the team had some good pit stops and we were able to move up.

“Obviously, the strategy was pretty similar to everyone else. Everyone was aggressive out there. It was hard racing but we came out with a seventh place and we moved up a little bit in the points.”

The seventh-place run sees Jones maintain his position in the top ten in the championship. He currently sits tenth in the standings, three points ahead of Chip Ganassi Racing’s Max Chilton.

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Vilander replaces Bird at AF Corse for Nurburgring WEC round

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AF Corse has confirmed that Toni Vilander will race the No. 71 Ferrari 488 GTE in next month’s FIA World Endurance Championship round at the Nürburgring in place of Sam Bird, who is tied up with Formula E commitments in New York.

Vilander currently races full-time in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship with Risi Competizione, and appeared at the 24 Hours of Le Mans two weeks ago.

The Finn won the WEC GT drivers’ title in 2014 and last raced full-time in the series in 2015, but will return at the Nürburgring in place of Bird, who confirmed on Monday that he would be prioritizing his Formula E commitments on the July 16 weekend.

Vilander is relishing the opportunity to race alongside Davide Rigon in the No. 71 Ferrari, and is eager to bounce back from an early retirement at Le Mans.

“I’m happy to be able to return to the FIA WEC with the 488 GTE of AF Corse team. This is my chance to cancel the disappointment of the 24 Hours of Le Mans as soon as possible,” Vilander said.

“Car number 71 is in the top places of the championship standings, and I will give all I have to achieve the best possible result at Nürburgring, to help Ferrari in the manufacturers’ championship and Davide Rigon in the drivers’ ranking.”