Ricciardo sets sights on maiden F1 podium in Spain

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Daniel Ricciardo has set his sights on claiming his first podium finish in Formula 1 this weekend after qualifying in third place for the Spanish Grand Prix.

The Red Bull driver finished as ‘best of the rest’ behind the Mercedes duo of Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg, but his best time was some eight-tenths of a second slower than that of the Silver Arrows’ in front. Without considering this gap, Ricciardo is pleased with his performance today.

“Without putting too much attention on Mercedes, I’m happy with what I’m doing, so I think today was pretty good and I wasn’t too disappointed with the lap,” he explained. “I don’t really see how I could have improved much more today, so I think we’re doing the best we can, but now that we’re around third or fourth I want to close the gap to the silver cars!”

Ricciardo was the sole Red Bull running in Q3 after Sebastian Vettel was sidelined by a gearbox problem. However, without taking team ties into consideration, this could in fact aid the Australian as he vies for his first podium in Formula 1.

“Sorry for Seb, he’s had a pretty rough weekend,” he said. “I prefer it when we are both able to compete. Looking to tomorrow, I think third is the best we can do.

“If Mercedes continue at the pace they had today then realistically we won’t catch them, so then third, although it wouldn’t be a victory, it would be really satisfying.”

Ricciardo did finish the Australian Grand Prix in second place at the beginning of the year, but he was duly disqualified after the team was found to have exceeded the fuel flow limit on his car. Tomorrow’s race could be a golden opportunity for him to make up for this in great fashion and secure his first top three finish.

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

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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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