Felipe Massa on top in first post-Silverstone test

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Felipe Massa has finished fastest on the first day of the post-British Grand Prix test at Silverstone today.

Following a miserable weekend of racing, the Williams driver recorded a fastest lap time of 1:35.242 to finish ahead of Daniel Ricciardo and Nico Rosberg at the top of the timesheets.

With few major updates expected to be brought to the cars until after the summer break, this week’s two day test was about drivers ironing out any minor issues with their cars and allowing the teams to try out junior members of their racing team.

GP2’s Stoffel Vandoorne and World Series by Renault driver Will Stevens both got a chance to try out some F1 machinery at Silverstone today for McLaren and Caterham respectively. Vandoorne ran well to finish 6th, while Stevens put in 95 laps at the bottom of the standings. Both will hope that this experience will put them in the frame for an F1 call-up in the next two to three years.

Marussia’s Jules Bianchi put in a strong display to finish fifth for the Anglo-Russian team, although his day did end early after a fire on his car. Max Chilton will take over the MR03 tomorrow, with Bianchi stepping in at parent team Ferrari for the rested Kimi Raikkonen.

Adrian Sutil finished fourth for Sauber, with Sergio Perez coming seventh for Force India. Jean-Eric Vergne had a disastrous day, finishing eighth and bringing out three red flags due to a variety of problems. Perez was also responsible for one of the stoppages, with there being five in total.

Pastor Maldonado came home in ninth for Lotus ahead of Ferrari test driver Pedro de la Rosa, who was over 2.5 seconds off the pace in tenth. Will Stevens propped up the timesheets.

The teams will be back at Silverstone tomorrow for the final day of in-season testing in 2014.

Silverstone Wednesday line-up

Mercedes – Lewis Hamilton
Red Bull – Sebastian Vettel
Ferrari – Jules Bianchi
Williams – Valtteri Bottas
Force India – Daniel Juncadella
McLaren – Kevin Magnussen
Toro Rosso – Daniil Kvyat
Lotus – Charles Pic
Marussia – Max Chilton
Sauber – Giedo van der Garde
Caterham – Julian Leal (morning); Rio Haryanto (afternoon)

IndyCar 2017 driver review: Ed Carpenter

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MotorSportsTalk continues its annual review of the Verizon IndyCar Series drivers that raced in 2017. The 2017 season behind the wheel was better for Ed Carpenter than either of the last two years, but still wasn’t ideal results-wise in his six oval starts.

Ed Carpenter, No. 20 Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet

  • 2016: 25th Place (5 Starts), Best Finish 18th, Best Start 5th, 0 Top-5, 0 Top-10, 1 Lap Led, 11.2 Avg. Start, 21.8 Avg. Finish
  • 2017: 22nd Place (6 Starts), Best Finish 7th, Best Start 2nd, 0 Top-5, 1 Top-10, 5 Laps Led, 11.3 Avg. Start, 12.3 Avg. Finish

Ed Carpenter’s 2017 season was largely one of frustration, both behind the wheel and as a team owner.

While a respectable turnaround in results occurred – Carpenter finished between seventh and 12th in five of his six oval races after a nightmare season of ending 18th or worse in each of his 2016 starts – this is still not what he sets out to strive for in the races he does. Lost opportunities loomed larger than any official result he or the Ed Carpenter Racing team achieved.

Carpenter and new teammate JR Hildebrand, in for the departed Josef Newgarden, dominated preseason testing in Phoenix but Hildebrand could only muster third in the race, Carpenter a season-best seventh. Then at Indianapolis, Carpenter (second) and Hildebrand (sixth) flew the flag for Chevrolet in qualifying and practice pace, but they fell to 11th and 16th on race day owing to a front-wing change and late-race penalty for passing before a restart.

Both drivers got collected in incidents at Texas. Hildebrand qualified and finished a season-best second in Iowa but that result came only after the ECR crew rebuilt his car from a crash in practice. Then Carpenter had a practice crash in Pocono and despite a rapid rebuild, they missed the clock to qualify by mere minutes and were unable to do so. Carpenter’s spin on a slick Gateway track at the start of the race sent him over Will Power’s nose assembly in one of the scarier looking incidents of the year, although fortunately he was OK.

In a similar refrain as we often write, it’s not that Carpenter’s lost his ability to drive and he remains one of the series’ savviest and smartest people in the paddock. There have been a lot of extenuating circumstances of late, and it almost felt as though this team had “empty nest” components. Since September, Carpenter has had to secure his team’s future with a move away from its Speedway, Ind. shop, line up Spencer Pigot for a full-time drive replacing Hildebrand in the No. 21 car, find a new road/street course driver in the No. 20 car, and manage both driving and owning himself.