Williams signs Felipe Nasr as official reserve and test driver

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Williams has doubled its quota of Brazilians named Felipe, with overnight news emerging ahead of the final day of testing in Bahrain.

The legendary team confirmed the signing of Felipe Nasr as its official reserve and test driver behind race drivers Felipe Massa (his countryman) and Valtteri Bottas. Nasr will be in the FW36-Mercedes for Saturday’s fourth day of Bahrain testing. He’ll also partake in five free practice one sessions during the course of the 2014 season.

“I am very happy to be part of the Williams family,” Nasr said. “They have a great history in the sport and some of Brazil’s greatest pilots of all time spent by staff, so it is an honor to join names as Piquet, Senna and Massa. This is a fantastic opportunity for this next step in my career and can not wait to drive an F1 car for the first time in Bahrain on Saturday. ”

Added team principal Frank Williams, “Felipe has a strong record of success in his career so far, and we’ve watched closely for a while. We have a history in Williams to bring new talent and give them a chance to show what they can do on the biggest stage in the world. When driving in FP1 five sessions this season, Felipe will have the perfect opportunity to show his skills, and I am confident he will be a strong addition to our squad of pilots.”

The 21-year-old finished fourth in his second season of GP2 in 2013. Nasr won the 2011 British F3 title and has also made a single start at the Rolex 24 at Daytona, finishing third overall in a previous generation Ford Riley Daytona Prototype in 2012 for Michael Shank Racing.

Williams is yet to confirm whether Susie Wolff will have a continued role in the team. She joined up as a test and development driver for the team starting in 2012.

F1 2017 driver review: Max Verstappen

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Max Verstappen

Team: Red Bull Racing
Car No.: 33
Races: 20
Wins: 2
Podiums (excluding wins): 2
Pole Positions: 0
Fastest Laps: 1
Points: 168
Laps Led: 133
Championship Position: 6th

Max Verstappen rise as a once-in-a-generation talent continued through the 2017 Formula 1 season, even if reliability issues meant we were made to wait for his best form to arrive.

Verstappen stole the show in a wet-dry Chinese Grand Prix by charging from 16th to seventh in the opening lap before ultimately finishing third for Red Bull, yet he would not grace the podium again until the Malaysian Grand Prix at the start of October.

A combination of power unit problems and on-track clashes saw Verstappen retire from seven of the 12 races in the intermittent period, with incidents in Spain and Austria being avoidable.

Perhaps most embarrassing of all was his stoppage due to a power unit failure in front of a grandstand swathed in orange at the Belgian Grand Prix, a race tens of thousands of Dutch fans had attended to cheer Verstappen on.

But when Verstappen got things right, it was – as he frequently quoted – simply, simply lovely. There was plenty left in the tank, as proven by his sheer domination of the races in Malaysia and Mexico as he took the second and third wins of his career.

Perhaps even more impressive was Verstappen’s victory over Red Bull teammate Daniel Ricciardo in the qualifying head-to-head battle this year, an area the Australian has traditionally been strong in. Verstappen outqualifed his teammate 13-7 – it wasn’t even close…

All in all, Verstappen once again proved that on his day, he is one of the finest talents to grace F1 in recent years. With the right car underneath him next year, a title fight is certainly possible and will be the target – but there is always room for improvement.

And that is the scary part: Verstappen is only going to get better and better.

Season High: Dominating in Malaysia after an early pass on Lewis Hamilton.

Season Low: Crashing out on Lap 1 in Austria.