First-timers Davison, Filippi find problems in IndyCar quals

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Dale Coyne Racing’s James Davison and Barracuda Racing’s Luca Filippi (pictured) – who are both making their IZOD IndyCar Series debut in tomorrow’s Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course (3 p.m. ET, NBCSN) – will have to come from the back of the grid after their Saturday qualifying sessions went sour.

Early in the first round, Davison made contact with Ed Carpenter in Turn 6 while attempting to warm up the tires on his No. 18 Honda. The incident forced Carpenter to pit for a new nose cone and both drivers were unable to advance into the second round.

“He was going to the left to set up for Turn 6 and turned right back in the front of me when I was making a run on him,” Carpenter said. “I’ve been there. There’s a lot going on. But he’s not paying attention to what’s going on.

“If that’s how he’s going to drive in tomorrow’s race, he’s going to end up getting run into.”

Davison would post a time of 1 minute, 6.2839 seconds but will have to start 17th. Carpenter will start on the inside of the final row alongside Filippi, who appeared to have carried over his strong pace from Friday practice.

Unfortunately for him, he lost control of the No. 98 Barracuda Honda while on his first flying lap of the session and hit the tire barriers near Turn 12 to bring out the red flag.

Filippi was running fourth in his qualifying group at the time, but INDYCAR rules state that any driver who causes a red flag during qualifying sessions will have his/her two fastest laps not be counted. With those times wiped away, his third-best lap of 1 minute, 6.8757 seconds put him 24th on tomorrow’s grid.

“We were close to the guys on top and I had a great feeling, so it’s really a shame for the Barracuda Racing team,” said Filippi, who replaces long-time veteran Alex Tagliani this weekend in the No. 98. “We’ve had a great weekend, so we’ll keep working hard and aim for a good finish in the race tomorrow.”

Watch tomorrow’s Honda Indy 200 from Mid-Ohio online and on your mobile device.

F1 2017 driver review: Lance Stroll

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Team: Williams

Car No.: 18
Races: 20
Wins: 0
Podiums: 1
Best Finish: P3 (Azerbaijan)
Pole Positions: 0
Fastest Laps: 0
Points: 40
Championship Position: 13th

Lance Stroll’s arrival in Formula 1 at the start of the 2017 was a far from smooth one despite a significant private testing program being undertaken in the months leading up to his grand prix debut.

Even with older hand Felipe Massa at Williams, Stroll looked uneasy behind the wheel of the FW40 car through the opening run of races as he failed to reach the checkered flag in any of his first three starts.

The Canadian was left deflated after his first decent effort in Bahrain was cut short after a clash with Carlos Sainz Jr., calling it his “rock bottom” moment – but things would turn around on home soil.

Stroll produced a stunning fight through the field to take an excellent P9 in Canada, proving his talent seen in Formula 3 the previous year and shushing many of his critics.

Better would follow two weeks later in Baku when Stroll became the youngest rookie in F1 history to score a podium, dodging a crazy race to finish third. It would have been second had he not lost a drag race against Valtteri Bottas to the line.

Stroll’s form then fluctuated greatly. He was sublime on occasion, the best examples being Monza, when he started a remarkable P2 on the grid and ended as the top midfielder in P7, or Mexico where he took a brilliant sixth.

But there were too many weekends he was a little anonymous. Sure, Williams didn’t have the best car this year, but perhaps a little better was expected from Stroll.

2018 will be an even bigger challenge as he looks to the lead the team when a new teammate arrives – and at only 19, it is a lot to handle. Nevertheless, there are positive signs to be found; you just need to look for them a little.

Season High: Taking a shock podium in Baku after dodging chaos in front.

Season Low: A poor opening two races in Australia and China.