Star turn by James Davison in his second start for Coyne

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Late-season one-off opportunities provide a chance for new talent to emerge, and Australian James Davison did everything he could to maximize his chance in his second straight IZOD IndyCar Series start for Dale Coyne Racing.

Davison had an engine change prior to the race which dropped the No. 18 Sonny’s BBQ Honda from 21st to 25th and last on the grid.

But from there, by a mix of avoiding the carnage in front of him, some great passes and solid pit stops from the crew, Davison made it into the top 10 for most of the second half of the race, running as high as sixth or seventh.

Contact with old Indy Lights sparring partners Charlie Kimball, and later, Sebastian Saavedra, halted Davison’s chances of securing his first top-10 finish. He was classified an unrepresentative 18th by the checkered flag.

“Absolutely shattered. Drove my (expletive) off & pulled some mega lunges to come from 25th to 10th and got chopped with 2 laps to go. Way it goes..” Davison tweeted. “Thank you everyone for your messages, mean a lot. Not sure when my next race is but I’ll be back. @IndyCar is my home.”

It’s easy to forget but Davison finished second in the Indy Lights standings in 2009, behind only JR Hildebrand and ahead of more than half a dozen drivers who went onto make their IndyCar debuts before Davison did.

After a four-year layoff from open-wheel racing, these have been two highly impressive drives from “Davo” that should turn heads and make team owners aware of his ability level. Stefan Wilson takes over the No. 18 at Baltimore for his IndyCar debut, in what will be a newly liveried car with sponsorship from Nirvana Tea.

F1 2017 driver review: Sebastian Vettel

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Sebastian Vettel

Team: Scuderia Ferrari
Car No.: 5
Races: 20
Wins: 5
Podiums (excluding wins): 8
Pole Positions: 4
Fastest Laps: 5
Points: 317
Laps Led: 286
Championship Position: 2nd

2017 was supposed to be the year Sebastian Vettel finally fulfilled his ambition of emulating Michael Schumacher by returning Ferrari to its championship-winning heyday.

Instead, it ended in disappointment and frustration – once again.

Ferrari arguably made a greater step across the change in technical regulations for 2017 than any other team, living up to its pre-season tag as favorite by winning the opening round in Australia in fashion.

Vettel and Ferrari led their respective championships following the Monaco Grand Prix as the German ended a 16-year win drought for the Prancing Horse in the principality, and even heading into the summer break, a shot at both championships was looking good.

However, cracks had started to appear. Vettel’s remarkable antics behind the safety car in Baku sparked controversy after driving into Hamilton, suggesting the tension of the title fight was beginning to take its toll on the German.

The final run of flyaways was where things really fell apart for Vettel, though. Singapore looked to be a slam-dunk win, only for a start-line crash also involving teammate Kimi Raikkonen and Max Verstappen to put 25 free points in Hamilton’s pocket.

Reliability woes then struck in Malaysia and Japan – two more races Vettel could realistically have won – to make it game over in the title race, with Hamilton wrapping things up in Mexico.

Vettel only finished the year 46 points back from Hamilton, proving the impact the three bad races in Asia had. Realistically, this was a title race that should have gone down to the wire in Abu Dhabi. Instead, Vettel remains a four-time champion, level with Hamilton, who had just one to his name back in 2013 when his rival secured his fourth.

Ferrari’s internal issues will come under the microscope over the off-season, and Vettel himself knows there is plenty to work on. Staying cool under pressure and not letting things boil over as in Baku is the most obvious area for improvement.

But there is reason for hope. If Ferrari can keep up with Mercedes and repeat its impressive step into 2017 through the upcoming off-season, we may well be treated to another Vettel/Hamilton scrap at the front of the field, perhaps settling once and for all who is the greatest driver of the post-Schumacher era.

Season High: A crucial win in Hungary despite battling with a broken steering column.

Season Low: Letting tensions flare in Baku and hitting Hamilton behind the safety car.