Vettel identifies room for improvement at Monza

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Despite closing out practice with a commanding lead, Sebastian Vettel believes that there is still room for improvement at Red Bull as the team prepares for this weekend’s Italian Grand Prix at Monza.

The German driver headed up a one-two finish for the team in the second free practice session at Monza today, finishing a full six-tenths clear of his teammate and closest challenger, Mark Webber. However, Vettel still believes that there is more time to be gained.

“It will be very tight this weekend, as we saw in the first practice,” he explained. “It will be close tomorrow in qualifying with quite a few cars separated by only a few hundredths of a second.

“There are a few things we still need to do to optimise the car, as there are two or three corners where we are sliding more than we would like. It’s positive today, but it’s only a Friday.”

Even with these issues, Vettel’s lead is certainly a commanding one. Six-tenths of a second is a sizeable margin at any circuit, but with Monza being the fastest track on the calendar, the German driver’s championship rivals have cause for concern as he looks to extend his forty-six point lead heading into his favored Asian leg of the calendar.

Fernando Alonso confirmed for Toyota LMP1 test in Bahrain

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SAKHIR, Bahrain – Fernando Alonso will take his first step towards a possible entry to the 24 Hours of Le Mans when he tests an LMP1 car for Toyota on Sunday at the Bahrain International Circuit.

McLaren Formula 1 driver and two-time world champion Alonso is hoping to appear at Le Mans next year as part of his bid to become just the second man in history to complete the ‘Triple Crown of Motorsport’.

Alonso has already completed one leg by winning the Monaco Grand Prix twice, and made his debut at the Indianapolis 500 in May with McLaren-Honda-Andretti, retiring late on due to an engine failure.

Momentum is building for Alonso to make his Le Mans debut with Toyota in 2018, starting with a first sports car run-out in the FIA World Endurance Championship’s end-of-season rookie test in Bahrain on Sunday.

Alonso arrived in Bahrain on Saturday to watch the six-hour WEC race as an invited guest of the Bahraini royal family, with his participation in the test being confirmed after the race.

“We are very excited that Fernando will test our car. When he visited us in Cologne everyone who met him could sense his enthusiasm and passion for our sport; he is a true racer,” Toyota Gazoo Racing team president Hisatake Murata said.

“We very much respect his interest in different forms of motorsport and it is a pleasure to offer him this chance to drive a hybrid LMP1 car. It will be interesting to hear his feedback on the TS050 Hybrid.”

Alonso will share running in the Toyota car with 19-year-old Thomas Laurent, who received a test as a prize for his star display during his rookie WEC campaign this year, while regular Toyota racer Mike Conway will also complete laps.