van der Garde: I’m having a really good year


Being a rookie in Formula One is no easy job. The cut-throat nature of the sport means that it is important to make an impact during your first season in order to turn heads and establish yourself as a mainstay on the grid. Despite failing to set the sport on fire, Giedo van der Garde is pleased with his performances so far this year after making his debut in Australia back in March.

“Going back to the summer reflections, the other thing I’m happy about is that I’m basically having a really good year both in and out of the car,” he explained in his ‘Rookie Diary’ on the official Formula One website. “Sure there have been some tough times, but I’ve used those to learn and improve. What I’ve never done is let anything get me down – I’m the same positive guy I’ve always been, and I think the team likes that, likes having someone driving who’s enjoying every lap.”

van der Garde’s positive demeanor has made him a popular member of the paddock, and he has every right to be cheerful following impressive performances in Hungary and Belgium that saw him finish fourteenth and sixteenth respectively. He also produced a remarkable result in qualifying at Spa by finishing third in Q1 by taking on slick tires early.

“We keep growing together and it’s great to see what things like getting into Q2 for the second time after Monaco do for the whole team,” the Dutchman said That’s a great feeling and I’m sure there will be more of that this year.”

You can read Giedo’s complete rookie diary here.

Ferrari teammates Vettel and Raikkonen fastest in rainy final practice at Australian GP

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MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Ferrari drivers Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen went one-two in the final practice session ahead of qualifying at the water-logged Australian Grand Prix on Saturday.

Vettel set a best-lap time of 1 minute, 26.067 seconds, more than 2.4 seconds faster than his teammate in second.

Both Ferrari drivers switched from their intermediate tires to the super-fast, ultra-soft tires for the final few laps of the session, testing conditions on the track after a day-long downpour left it slick and filled with small puddles.

Mercedes drivers Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton did not opt to try out their soft tires, sticking to the intermediates for the entire session. They had the seventh- and eighth-fastest times, after topping the leaderboard in practice in dry conditions on Friday.

The heavy rains subsided by early afternoon, allowing the track to rapidly dry during the third practice session and making conditions safe for drivers to test their soft tires.

Still, only a few drivers completed a timed lap with the softer compounds, with Mercedes, Red Bull and most of the others staying with their intermediates.

Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson had the third-fastest time of the session on ultrasoft tires, followed by Red Bull’s Max Verstappen on intermediates.

Hamilton remains the favorite to capture his fifth straight pole position at the Australian Grand Prix in qualifying later Saturday. He had the fastest laps on ultrasoft tires in the two practice sessions on Friday, though Verstappen was right behind him.

Verstappen and Vettel both slid on the slick track early in the third practice session, but maintained control and completed their runs without incident.

Verstappen’s teammate, Daniel Ricciardo, had the sixth-fastest time of the session. The Australian’s chances of winning his fifth career Grand Prix on his home track in Melbourne took a hit late Friday when he was assessed a three-place grid penalty for Sunday’s race.

The Australian driver was penalized for driving too fast under red-flag conditions during Friday’s second practice session because of debris on the track.