Four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel may have finished fastest in the second free practice session for this weekend’s United States Grand Prix, but he still believes that there is room for improvement heading into qualifying on Saturday.
Vettel failed to bother the front-runners in FP1 as he opted to run with heavy fuel and focus on his long runs, and subsequently finished down in eighteenth place. However, he and Red Bull teammate Mark Webber were in a class of their own during the second session, easily finishing P1 and P2. Nevertheless, Vettel is still looking for more.
“The circuit was quite slippery today; I was happy with the car, but you always know you can improve here and there,” Vettel said after practice. “I think we got through the programme we were able to test some things, some were good and some not so good, but we will see.”
Vettel has highlighted four teams as being in contention, although his seven race winning streak heading into this weekend suggests that it will take a retirement or incident during the race to deny the German driver.
“Ferrari looked quick this morning and McLaren could be a surprise here, and Lotus and Mercedes will be strong as normal. The track will improve now unless it rains, the car worked well on the tires, so we’ll see what we can do on Sunday.”
The United States Grand Prix is one of just two races on the current calendar that Vettel is yet to win, with the other being the Hungarian Grand Prix.
MotorSportsTalk continues its review of the Verizon IndyCar Series field, driver-by-driver, with a look at Ryan Briscoe. Despite not having a ride to start the year, Briscoe ended strongly courtesy of a series of strong runs at Schmidt Peterson Motorsports.
Ryan Briscoe, No. 5 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda
- 2014: 11th Place, Best Finish 4th, Best Start 4th, 1 Top-5, 11 Top-10, 5 Laps Led, 12.8 Avg. Start, 10.6 Avg. Finish
- 2015: 18th Place (8 starts), Best Finish 5th, Best Start 2nd, 1 Top-5, 4 Top-10, 10 Laps Led, 17.8 Avg. Start, 12.0 Avg. Finish
For those who slag on Briscoe as being undeserving of top level equipment, his 2015 second half provided a friendly reminder of his overall ability level in what might be less than the best machinery.
Briscoe was thrust into the No. 5 car under trying circumstances to begin with, getting all of an hour’s worth practice replacing the injured James Hinchcliffe ahead of the Indianapolis 500. But subsequent drives on the ovals there, Texas, Fontana, Milwaukee and Iowa – even if the results were less than ideal – showcased a driver determined to show to the paddock he still had it, and then some. His defense against Juan Pablo Montoya in Sonoma was nothing short of brilliant, and courtesy of double points he actually finished ahead of full-season driver Stefano Coletti.
The Australian immediately gelled with the SPM team, engineer Allen McDonald and race strategist Robert Gue. He continues to prove he’s an asset, as he has enjoyed multiple opportunities to extend his career in various arenas of motorsport in both open-wheel and sports cars, the latter of which he won at both the Rolex 24 at Daytona and the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring with Corvette Racing this year.
Following an early retirement for Mercedes AMG Petronas teammate Nico Rosberg, Lewis Hamilton has closed even more on his third Formula 1 World Championship.
View it above in the race recap from the 2015 Russian Grand Prix.