F1 Young Driver Tests - Silverstone: Day Two

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 set to clinch F1 constructors’ championship in Russia

SOCHI, RUSSIA - OCTOBER 08:  Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes GP speaks with members of the media in the paddock during previews to the Formula One Grand Prix of Russia at Sochi Autodrom on October 8, 2015 in Sochi, Russia.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
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For the second year in a row, Mercedes is poised to wrap up the Formula 1 constructors’ championship in Sochi at this weekend’s Russian Grand Prix.

Mercedes won its first F1 teams’ title in Russia last year, having returned to the sport as a works constructor in 2010. When it last enjoyed such status in the 1950s, there was no championship for the teams.

Just as it did in 2014, Mercedes has dominated proceedings in F1 this season, winning all but three races and sweeping to eight one-two finishes to leave drivers Lewis Hamilton (pictured) and Nico Rosberg battling for the drivers’ title for the second straight year.

Now, Mercedes seeks the knock-out blow in the constructors’ title race by officially wrapping it up in Sochi this weekend.

To do so, the team must simply outscore rivals Ferrari by three points this weekend. The lead currently stands at 169 points, with 215 still on offer. After Sochi, there will be 172 remaining.

“We return to Russia with positive memories from last season, when the team sealed the first constructors’ title for Mercedes-Benz with a one-two finish,” team boss Toto Wolff said.

“A repeat performance in Sochi would be fantastic and this is absolutely the target – but we are under no illusions that it will come easy. The job is not done yet.”

The tire allocation for this weekend’s race could pose problems to Mercedes just as it did in Singapore, potentially allowing Ferrari to spoil the party and delay the victory celebrations at Brackley.

However, if the form book is to be trusted, Sochi could be playing host to another Mercedes party on Sunday night with a second world title in the bag for the Silver Arrows.

IndyCar 2015 Driver Review: Charlie Kimball

Charlie Kimball
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MotorSportsTalk continues its look through the driver-by-driver recaps following the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series season, with a look at Charlie Kimball, who finished 12th this year.

Charlie Kimball, No. 83 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet

  • 2014: 14th Place, Best Finish 3rd, Best Start 6th, 1 Podium, 4 Top-5, 10 Top-10, 0 Laps Led, 16.3 Avg. Start, 12.6 Avg. Finish
  • 2015: 12th Place, Best Finish 3rd, Best Start 6th, 2 Podiums, 3 Top-5, 5 Top-10, 21 Laps Led, 13.3 Avg. Start, 13.1 Avg. Finish

“Super Chuck” – as NBCSN’s Townsend Bell has called him in the past – had another typically “Super Chuck” season. He produced some dizzying heights, made a few mistakes, and posted a lot of consistent runs in the middle that ultimately netted him 12th in points for the season.

We wrote last year that one of the areas where Kimball most needed to improve was his qualifying, and a three-spot year-to-year gain from 16.3 to 13.3 delivered that improvement. Problem was, in a Chevrolet top-heavy grid, Kimball might have been qualifying better, but he was qualifying behind at least seven or eight more fancied Chevrolet runners. In a Honda, you worry if Kimball’s grid positions this year would have dipped into the low teens or high 20s, rather than only just missing advancing into Q2 as was often the case.

While Barber and Mid-Ohio had served as his standout races in the past, the undoubted highlight of Kimball’s 2015 season was his quiet early – then dynamic late – drive to third in the Indianapolis 500. It was a performance that was particularly impressive given he was up against past series champions Juan Pablo Montoya, Will Power and Scott Dixon, who were all vying for the win. Another podium at Sonoma was his first on a road or street course since Detroit race two in 2014, and put him third in points in the two double points races for the year.

But mistakes occurred all too regularly in the 14 standard points events, where he ranked 14th among all drivers. Contacting Dixon in Detroit, surviving a nightmare weekend in Iowa with multiple incidents, and coming together with Graham Rahal in St. Petersburg – even though Rahal was assessed a penalty for avoidable contact – were all moments he’d like to have back.

Kimball’s five years into his IndyCar career and there’s enough evidence to suggest now his breakout 2013 season was an outlier, not the norm. But seasons like 2014 and 2015 prove he still has plenty in hand to cut it at this level, and together with his entire Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing team, an overall asset to the sport.