Vettel and Ricciardo both looking for areas to improve

Leave a comment

Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo have both come away from the first two practice sessions for the Canadian Grand Prix feeling that there is more to come from Red Bull.

Vettel finished fourth in FP1 and third in FP2, but his lap time in the second session was limited due to a gearbox problem. The German driver was pleased to rank so highly on the timesheets, although he feels that the gap to Mercedes is still ominous.

“It was a bit of a shame to lose some laps,” he said. “We had something with the gearbox, but fortunately we got it checked and went out again. It meant that we were maybe a bit off the rhythm compared to some of the others, but it seemed to be alright and we still got some good laps completed.

“I think there’s still a lot if improvement we can do, the Mercedes is very quick, but it was okay as a start to the weekend.”

His lap times during his long run were just a few tenths shy of Nico Rosberg’s efforts in the Mercedes, but teammate Daniel Ricciardo was less fortunate. He finished FP2 down in 12th place, some 1.5 seconds down on Hamilton at the top.

“The driving was good today, but looking at the time sheets we’ve got some work to do,” he admitted. “We got some good references to go by and we need to put some work in tonight.

“I enjoy driving around here and there are a lot of fans in the grandstands. It seems that we’re close to some of the other teams, so we’ve just got to extract as much from the cars as we can over the weekend.”

Ricciardo’s pace during the long run was not quite on a par with Vettel’s, and he may face an uphill struggle to extend his podium streak to three races in Canada.

Despite their struggles, both of the Red Bull drivers appear to be well-placed for this weekend’s race, and a top three finish for the defending world champions is certainly on the table.

Al Unser Jr. back in IndyCar after a decade away: ‘Life is very good’

Getty Images
Leave a comment

There’s been somewhat of a hole in Al Unser Jr.’s heart ever since he retired from racing in 2007.

It was a void, something was missing.

But now, after a decade away from racing, Unser has found the right medicine to fill that hole in his heart: he’s back in the racing game again.

No, he’s not driving again (although he does participate occasionally in vintage races), but the two-time Indianapolis 500 (1992 and 1994) winner is definitely back in the IndyCar world.

And he couldn’t be happier.

“For me, it’s a dream come true,” Unser told IndyCar.com. “Since I stepped out of the race car and retired from racing, there’s been something missing from my life, and it’s racing.”

Unser has hooked up with Harding Racing. The team competed in three races last season as a ramp-up for a full 17-race effort this season. While Unser’s official title with the team is “consultant,” he’s involved in so much more.

His main role is as a driving coach to 2015 IndyCar Rookie of the Year Gabby Chaves. But he’s also involved in so many other areas, including helping the team obtain sponsorships and much more.

He then added, “I’m involved in every sense of the word except actually driving the car. And I’m happy about that because I’m too old to drive the car.”

Unser, who won CART championships in 1990 and 1994, is now 55. He’s so involved with his new job that he even moved from his native New Mexico and has relocated to suburban Indianapolis.

Not only is it a new start for Unser, it also is for Chaves. After running all 16 races in 2015 for Bryan Herta Autosport with Curb-Agajanian, he competed in just seven races for Dale Coyne Racing in 2016 and only three races for Harding Racing last season.

But he definitely impressed the team, with a fifth- (Texas) and ninth-place (Indianapolis 500) finish in the first two races and 15th (Pocono) in the team’s final run of the season.

That’s why when Harding Racing decided to go fulltime in 2018, Chaves was their pick for behind the wheel. And Unser was their pick to help guide him to potential stardom in the series.

“(Team owner) Mike Harding is definitely a person that when he decides to do something, he does it right,” Unser told IndyCar.com. “The potential for this organization is through the sky. We’re all working really hard here and we see the potential.”

And as for Unser?

“Life is good, life is very good,” he told IndyCar.com. “We’re back full force, eager and better than ever.”

Click here for the full story about Unser from IndyCar.com.