Bianchi and Ferrari close out Silverstone test fastest

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Jules Bianchi has finished fastest on the second and final day of testing at Silverstone after jumping into the Ferrari F14 T for today’s session.

Full-time driver Kimi Raikkonen was due to take part, but the team instead chose to rest him and allow him to fully recover from a 47g impact at the British Grand Prix last weekend. Bianchi drives for Marussia, and ran for the Anglo-Russian team yesterday at Silverstone, but is also a member of the Ferrari Driver Academy.

His lap of 1:35.252 went unbeaten at the top of the standings, finishing ahead of Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat and McLaren’s Kevin Magnussen. Kvyat led for much of the day before being toppled by the Frenchman.

Giedo van der Garde finished fourth for Sauber, while Lewis Hamilton bounced back from a spin in the first 30 minutes of the day to finish fifth ahead of Williams’ Valtteri Bottas. Max Chilton continued Marussia’s good form to finish seventh, with Force India’s Daniel Juncadella in P8. Defending world champion Sebastian Vettel finished ninth for Red Bull.

Charles Pic may only have finished tenth fastest, but his laps were important. For the first time, Pirelli’s concept 18-inch rimmed tires were tested, and gained widespread approval in the paddock.

Caterham’s day did not go to plan as Julian Leal’s car came to a halt just one lap into his run. It was later diagnosed as being an electrical problem which took the team several hours to fix. The team had planned to run GP2 driver Rio Haryanto in the afternoon, but instead kept Leal behind the wheel to make up for his lost running in the morning.

The test came to an end with 20 minutes left in the day after Giedo van der Garde crashed hard, damaging the barrier. The teams will now turn their attention to the German Grand Prix at Hockenheim in eleven days’ time.

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.