Vettel still looking for improvements in Austin

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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.

Ferrari signs Callum Ilott to young driver academy

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Ferrari has confirmed the signing of rising British racer Callum Ilott to its prestigious driver academy ahead of the 2018 season.

Ilott, 18, is a former member of Red Bull’s junior program, and has spent the last three years racing in the FIA European Formula 3 series, taking eight race wins.

After finishing the 2017 season fourth in the championship with Prema Powerteam, Ilott has now linked up with the Ferrari Driver Academy in the next step of his racing career, becoming its first British member.

“Ferrari Driver Academy is pleased to announce that British driver Callum Ilott is the latest promising young driver to be selected for its development program,” an announcement from Ferrari reads.

“18 years old, Ilott joins the FDA in his third season in car racing, having just finished the FIA F3 European Championship. He comes with a strong pedigree in international Formula 3 racing, having made the jump directly from karting as reigning European Champion.

“Ilott joins Charles Leclerc, Antonio Fuoco, Guan Yu Zhou, Giuliano Alesi, Marcus Armstrong and Enzo Fittipaldi in the programme, which supports talented young drivers on their career path in motorsport.”

Besides its existing roster, the Ferrari Driver Academy also played a part in the careers of Sergio Perez, Lance Stroll and the late Jules Bianchi.