Sutil wants to see the checkered flag in Spain

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Simply finishing a race may not seem like much of an achievement in Formula 1, but after three straight retirements, Sauber’s Adrian Sutil is focusing on doing exactly that at next weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix.

The Swiss team has made a poor start to the season, scoring zero points and has rarely looked capable of a top ten finish. Both Sutil and teammate Esteban Gutierrez will be already feeling the pressure given that Sergey Sirotkin, Simona de Silvestro and Giedo van der Garde have all been testing in recent weeks with aims of a full-time seat. However, the German driver remains focused on his own performances at the start of the European season.

“We will be travelling to Barcelona with some car updates, which I hope will help us to improve our performance,” Sutil explained. “Obviously, I expect more than in the last races. After three retirements in a row, we need to finish this race.

“I am looking forward, and I think that our performance will be stronger than in the previous races.”

Like all of the other teams, Sauber will be bringing its first major upgrade package to the race on the outskirts of Barcelona, and having reduced the weight of the car, it should be easier to work with for both the drivers and the engineers.

The circuit is a mix of fast straights and more technical sections, meaning that a well-balanced setup is key to doing well in Spain.

“The Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya is a nice track with high aerodynamic demands on the car,” Sutil said. “We have to find a compromise in terms of the car’s aerodynamic set-up and, with one setting the first and second sectors will be good, but the last sector will be a disadvantage, or vice versa.”

Sutil has recorded a top ten finish at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya just once before, and unless Sauber has a particularly significant upgrade package in store, perhaps just finishing the race is the best that he can expect.

Power, Newgarden, Dixon fastest in first of 2 IndyCar practices today at Barber Motorsports Park

Photo: IndyCar
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Will Power was fastest in Friday’s first of two IndyCar practice sessions at Barber Motorsports Park.

Power covered the 2.3-mile permanent road course in 1:07.5987 minutes at 122.488 mph in the 45-minute practice session.

Even though he spun off the course during his session, Phoenix winner Josef Newgarden still managed to be second-fastest (121.919 mph at 1:07.9141 minutes), followed by Scott Dixon (121.296 mph/1:082627), Max Chilton (121.251 mph/1:08.2882) and Ed Jones (121.215 mph/1:09.5692).

 

Sixth through 10th were Simon Pagenaud (121.208 mph/1:08.3122), Jordan King (121.113 mph/1:083661), Graham Rahal (121.059 mph/1:08.3964), St. Petersburg winner Sebastien Bourdais (121.029 mph/1:08.4131) and rookie Zach Veach (121.014 mph/1:08.4216).

Here’s the full speed chart:

Incidents:

* Early in the session, Long Beach winner Alexander Rossi ran off the track and into the grass, striking a small sign, but was able to get back on-track. However, Rossi was only able to complete 10 laps, relegating him to 20th-fastest in the 23-car field.

* Moments later, it appeared the rear brakes locked up on Newgarden heading into Turn 5, spinning him into the gravel trap. He was able to get going and returned to the pits for service and was back on-track with less than four minutes remaining in the session.

ALSO OF NOTE:

* The second practice session of the day will begin at 3:50 p.m. ET. A third practice will take part Saturday morning at 10:50 a.m. ET, followed by qualifying beginning at 4:05 p.m. ET. The race, to be televised live Sunday on NBCSN, is slated to start at 3:30 p.m. ET.

* However, weather forecast does not look promising for Sunday’s race. As of 1 p.m. ET today, the forecast calls for 100 percent rain throughout the day.

* Dixon has had an incredible record at Barber Motorsports Park, with seven podium finishes in eight starts there. Except for one thing: he has yet to win a race there. But he does have five runner-up and two other third-place showings on the permanent road course.

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