Sebastian Vettel takes first laps around Sochi F1 track (VIDEO)

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Formula One’s inaugural Russian Grand Prix isn’t until October, but Sebastian Vettel got a look at the Sochi Autodrom circuit today as the first F1 driver to take laps there.

Driving an Infiniti road car, Vettel whipped through the 18-turn, Tilke-designed circuit that winds through Sochi Olympic Park.

For those that watched the Winter Olympic Games this past February on NBC, there are several familiar venues along the course such as the Bolshoy Ice Dome, Shayba Arena, and the Olympic cauldron site.

“It is great to be back in Sochi and the venue has been transformed since I was last here when it was really just a construction site,” Vettel said in a statement.

“Having driven the full circuit for the first time…It’s an interesting layout with a good mix of high speed corners and technical sections.

“It’s going to be a huge challenge in a Formula One car for sure and I’m really looking forward to coming back in October.”

You can check out Vettel’s run around the Sochi course in the clip above.

MRTI: Telitz gets creative to help racing career

Photo: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC Photography
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To say that Belardi Auto Racing’s Aaron Telitz has endured a difficult start to the 2018 Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires season would be an understatement. The Wisconsin native only completed four corners through the first three races – Races 1 and 2 at St. Petersburg, and Race 1 at Barber Motorsports Park – with St. Pete being especially problematic.

He took the pole for Race 1, but a crash during qualifying for Race 2 prevented him from actually starting. What’s more, the damage was so severe that the Belardi team needed a brand new chassis, with Telitz’s Dallara IL-15 damaged beyond repair.

They also had to borrow a car from Carlin for Race 2, but Telitz’s race ended after he got tangled up with Victor Franzoni in Turn 2 on Lap 1.

With the damage bill well into the six figures as a result, Telitz has taken to some unique, or rather, creative ways to raise money in the aftermath to help cover the costs. “Creative,” in this case, meaning Telitz is using his art skills.

An artist in his spare time, Telitz has begun selling his own original paintings to help raise money.

 “I’ve been to a lot of art shows and I see stuff and I go, ‘Holy cow, someone’s going to pay a thousand dollars for that thing?’” Telitz quipped in a story posted on the Milwaukee Journal.

In discussing his artistic abilities, Telitz added, “I’m working at getting better. I’d like to be able to paint some animals, those types of things. I got a request from Alexander Rossi to see if I could paint his dog. Unfortunately I can’t do that yet.”

Further, in a partnership with The Styled Garage, Telitz is selling his own merchandise, and accepting donations, to help his cause.

Telitz finished fourth in Race 2 at Barber on Sunday, and sits seventh in the Indy Lights championship, 59 points behind leader Pato O’Ward.

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