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

F1 2017 driver review: Lewis Hamilton

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Following on from the driver reviews from the Verizon IndyCar Series, MotorSportsTalk kicks off its Formula 1 recaps by looking back on Lewis Hamilton’s championship year.

Lewis Hamilton

Team: Mercedes AMG Petronas
Car No.: 44
Races: 20
Wins: 9
Podiums (excluding wins): 4
Pole Positions: 11
Fastest Laps: 7
Points: 363
Laps Led: 527
Championship Position: 1st

Lewis Hamilton may have wrapped up his fourth Formula 1 world title with two races to spare, but his margin of victory was far from representative of what was arguably his greatest championship victory yet.

Mercedes entered 2017 bidding to become the first team to defend its titles across a seismic regulation change, and appeared to be on the back foot early on after Ferrari impressed in pre-season testing and won the opening race through Sebastian Vettel.

Hamilton was left wrestling with a “diva” of a car, as coined by Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff, but was able to get on top of it by the second race of the year in China, taking a dominant win in wet-dry conditions.

The win was representative of Hamilton’s form through the first portion of the season. When he won, he won in style – as in Spain, Canada and on home soil in Great Britain – but the off weekends saw him struggle.

Heading into the summer break, Vettel’s championship lead stood at 14 points, with the pair’s on-track rivalry having already spilled over in Baku when they made contact behind the safety car.

But Hamilton then produced the form that propelled him to titles in 2014 and 2015, breaking the back of the season through the final flyaways. As Vettel and Ferrari capitulated over the Asian rounds, picking up just 12 points when a full score of 75 for three wins was certainly in reach, Hamilton capitalised and put himself on the brink of the title.

While Hamilton’s run to P9 in Mexico was a messy way to wrap up his hardest-fought title to date, getting across the line and the job done was a significant result.

Unlike his last two titles, Hamilton was tasked with an enemy outside of the team in this title race and a car that arguably wasn’t the fastest on the grid.

But his unquestionable talent and ability to dig deep to get himself out of tough situations – Singapore and Brazil being two key examples where the result was far from expected – proved crucial once again.

Hamilton is now in the annals of F1 history as one of its all-time greats. The pole record is his, and only two drivers can boast more world titles than him (Michael Schumacher and Juan Manuel Fangio).

Depending on how long he wants to continue racing, going down as F1’s statistical all-time great is certainly not out of the realm of possibility.

Season High: Charging from the pit lane to P4 in Brazil, a race he could have even won.

Season Low: Dropping out in Q2 in Monaco, only recovering to P7 in the race.