This feels like it could be a Sebastien Bourdais weekend in Detroit

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On paper, neither Sebastien Bourdais nor the No. 11 Mistic KVSH Racing Chevrolet team has had much to show for last year’s Chevrolet Indy Dual in Detroit Presented by Quicken Loans.

But I have a sneaking suspicion this year that things are going to change.

You can’t keep the “bespectacled badass” down for long, and given his pace and comfort level now five races into his tenure with his new team, KVSH Racing, the overall performance level is starting to change.

It was a rough three races to open the season with more penalties incurred than top-10 finishes, but a promising month of May has shifted the momentum. Bourdais ended fourth in the Grand Prix of Indianapolis and a quiet, but solid, seventh in the Indianapolis 500 for his best run yet in the Verizon IndyCar Series’ most prestigious race.

“It was a quiet day, but a bit expected,” Bourdais told MotorSportsTalk on Thursday. “We didn’t feel we had the greatest car and from midpack it would always be a challenge. But we made steady progress. We did what we had to do, getting a top-10 with double points was very important to keep the momentum out of the Grand Prix. It was nothing exceptional but it was relieving to finally get the green flag in a decent spot.”

Bourdais has settled into the overall KV Racing Technology organization, and he looks to carry the success he achieved at the last four doubleheader races into this one this weekend.

He finished on the podium twice in Toronto (second and third) and with eighth and fifth at Houston, joined Scott Dixon as the only two drivers to score four top-10s in the last four doubleheader races.

Yes, this marks Bourdais’ first Detroit start with KVSH, but few expected him to deliver such a dynamic performance at Toronto as he did with Dragon Racing. That was in his first race with a new engineer (Tom Brown), and he’s now had the Olivier Boisson-led crew to work with for five races.

“I think it connected very quickly; we have a baseline setup, but with this car, every time, you unload you never know where you’ll be,” Bourdais explained. “The field is so compressed that you could be nowhere, so you have to be on your best days all the time.”

Bourdais said the team would likely start from a more generic setup this weekend and work from that. But I wouldn’t put it past ‘ol Seabass to pull off his and the team’s first podium finish of 2014 this weekend.

Hamilton: Abu Dhabi ‘the last race with good-looking cars’ in F1

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Lewis Hamilton believes that this weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will be remembered as the last race with good-looking Formula 1 cars ahead of the introduction of the ‘Halo’ cockpit protection for next year.

Officials from the FIA and F1 Strategy Group confirmed earlier this year that the Halo would be fitted to all cars from the 2018 season in a bid to improve safety standards, with the deaths of Justin Wilson and Jules Bianchi putting head protection high on the agenda for the series’ chiefs.

Hamilton has long made his opposition to the Halo clear, believing it will ruin the look of F1 cars, and echoed his thoughts ahead of the final Halo-less race in Abu Dhabi this weekend.

“It’s the last year of looking good I think in the cars. It’s the last race where the cars will look good,” Hamilton said.

“I think next year, it’s all downhill from there in terms of how they look.

“But safety will go up at least, and maybe it could be successful in some way.”

Hamilton’s F1 title rival Sebastian Vettel was less bothered about the change, believing the field will adjust and move on.

“The cars will look different next year. Everything I’ve seen so far looks different, but on the other hand it is something we all get used to,” Vettel said.

“But no doubt the cars look better now, but we’ll get used to it, and we’ll work on the aesthetics so it can be better. It is less of a big deal.”

Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo shared Vettel’s view, saying: “I don’t think it’s gonna be as dramatic as most people make it out to be.”