Bottas pleased with his performances so far in 2013

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Valtteri Bottas may be yet to score his first points in Formula One, but the young Finn is pleased with how he has fared during the first ten races of his F1 career after debuting at the beginning of the season.

Bottas, who won GP3 back in 2011, spent last season testing for Williams before making the jump to a full-time race seat this year alongside Pastor Maldonado. The team has scored just one point so far this season due to car problems, but Bottas is pleased with his work.

“I think without looking at the car performance, if I analyze myself, I think I can be reasonably happy with the first half because it’s still my first season,” Bottas told Richland F1. “I’ve been matching Pastor more or less. We’ve been very close the whole season so I think it’s been good. He’s a good reference for me as a teammate because everyone knows he’s quick and he’s won a race. But you know, there’s always things I’m learning all the time and when I look back, there’s things you could have done better but that’s part of learning and it’s been okay.”

The Finnish driver also believes that a lack of progress by Williams during the off-season has proved costly.

“I think our car is sometimes quite difficult to drive, a bit unpredictable sometimes. But I think compared to last year we are more or less now on the same level, even could be a bit better. It’s just a fact that everyone else has improved so much in the last year and we kind of didn’t. The base, the start level for this year wasn’t good enough so that’s the problem.”

However, Bottas believes that this form will not carry over into 2014 when a raft of new regulations come into force.

“But you know next year there are going to be big rule changes and hopefully then we have time to catch up with the others.”

Bottas’ junior career led many to believe he would immediately attain success in Formula One, but with the Williams FW35 masking his potential, the Finn is not to be written off yet.

IndyCar 2015 Driver Review: Gabby Chaves

Gabby Chaves
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MotorSportsTalk continues its run through the driver-by-driver field in the Verizon IndyCar Series. In 15th and the rookie-of-the-year for 2015, was Gabby Chaves.

Gabby Chaves, No. 98 Bryan Herta Autosport Honda

  • 2014: Indy Lights champion
  • 2015: 15th Place, Best Finish 9th, Best Start 12th, 0 Top-5, 2 Top-10, 31 Laps Led, 19.3 Avg. Start, 14.4 Avg. Finish

Some drivers finish better than their performances show. Some drivers have performances better than their results show. The latter statement applied to Gabby Chaves in his rookie year, in what was an impressive first season after making the step up from Indy Lights, which deservedly earned him rookie-of-the-year honors.

The best comparison I’d make for Gabby is of Josef Newgarden in 2012 with Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing, a first-year driver on a single-car, newish team to the series.

Chaves rarely dazzled in qualifying but that wasn’t his fault; he and engineer John Dick worked well together and Chaves recounted multiple times this year that a tweak here or tweak there, the wrong way, on the aero kit would send them down the wrong setup path.

Results in races didn’t measure up either but again that was through almost no fault of his own. The only time Chaves looked truly like a rookie was at St. Pete, when he had several collisions. Otherwise he was ahead of eventual winner James Hinchcliffe at NOLA before getting punted off, reliable through the month of May in Indianapolis, finally able to break through for a ninth place in Detroit race two, overachieving in Texas, 11th at Milwaukee after some great wheel-to-wheel racing with series winners and champions, and then phenomenal at Pocono as he was on course for a first career win or podium before late-race engine issues – his first DNF of the season.

For both Chaves and Herta, you’d love to see them together for another season, and the results and confidence for both parties will grow as a result. Those who’ve seen Newgarden’s rise over four years with Fisher and now CFH will note the long-term stability, and that’s what Chaves could do if he gets the time.

He planted the seed of being a great IndyCar driver, and he became pretty versatile during the year too with additional appearances in the DeltaWing prototype, a short-track midget and one of Herta’s Red Bull Global Rallycross cars. To boot, he’s a smart, great kid who is mature beyond his years, and someone you should be buying stock in now. Anyone who saw Chaves in the Mazda Road to Indy should not have been surprised by his rookie season in the big cars.

Off The Grid: Monza preview (premieres Saturday 10/10 on NBCSN)

F1 Grand Prix of Italy
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Having already taken you behind the scenes in Barcelona, Budapest, Singapore, Melbourne and Silverstone, Will Buxton and Jason Swales now head to one of Formula 1’s most iconic venues for the latest episode of Off The Grid.

Monza has appeared in all but one F1 season since the formation of the world championship in 1950, and is a firm favorite among drivers, teams and fans alike.

However, there is far more to the Italian Grand Prix than meets the eye, as we find out in Saturday’s premiere of Off The Grid: Monza at 9:30am ET (follows Russian GP qualifying).

Having honed his talents in go-karts as a kid, Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo is now trying to pass on his knowledge to the next generation of racers. But can he teach Will or Jason a thing or two?

We also catch up with Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg and get a feel for life on the road as he takes us for a tour of his lavish bus in which he travels in for the European F1 races.

Have you ever wondered just how the suits F1 drivers wear are made? We go behind the scenes at Alpine Stars’ factory in Italy and find out.

Off The Grid: Monza premieres on Saturday at 9:30am ET on NBCSN following Russian GP qualifying.