© Getty Images

Kimi Raikkonen quickest as opening F1 pre-season test ends in Barcelona

Leave a comment

Kimi Raikkonen closed out the first collective Formula 1 test of 2017 at the top of the timesheets after setting the pace on a mixed day of running in Barcelona.

With no rain falling over the first three days of testing at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, teams agreed for the track to be made wet to allow Pirelli to gather data for its intermediate and wet tires.

Sunny conditions meant that the track dried out across the course of the day despite more water being laid down over lunch, with slick running possible in the afternoon session.

Raikkonen turned in a fastest lap of 1:20.872 to finish nine-tenths of a second clear of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, giving Ferrari a second day at the top of the standings. Raikkonen also set the fastest time for the Scuderia on Tuesday.

Following Valtteri Bottas’ impressive Wednesday pace, Mercedes had a quieter day as the Finn only finished eighth-fastest. Teammate Lewis Hamilton opted not to run in the morning as planned after the team found an electrical problem on its car.

Jolyon Palmer led Renault’s charge in third place, running the afternoon after teammate Nico Hulkenberg completed his duties in the morning. Romain Grosjean was fourth for Haas and led the mileage charts with 118 laps under his belt.

Antonio Giovinazzi impressed once again for Sauber while standing in for the injured Pascal Wehrlein, finishing fifth. Sergio Perez was sixth for Force India.

McLaren had a better day after struggles earlier in the week, with Stoffel Vandoorne racking up 66 laps behind the wheel of the MCL32.

Toro Rosso was less fortunate, managing just a single lap due to an engine issue on its STR12 car, while Williams sat out entirely due to damage sustained to its car on Wednesday.

Testing resumes in Barcelona on Tuesday (March 7), with another four days scheduled to take place.

IndyCar star Scott Dixon to test skills on ‘American Ninja Warrior’

Getty Images
Leave a comment

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Scott Dixon will be the latest IndyCar driver to enter the realm of reality TV when he auditions in Indianapolis next week for “American Ninja Warrior.”

The four-time IndyCar champion, nicknamed “The Iceman,” thought it sounded fun when he was approached with the idea of trying out. As the competition has drawn near, Dixon is wondering what he got himself into.

“I feel a lot of pressure on this one,” Dixon told The Associated Press before heading to this weekend’s Honda Grand Prix of Alabama IndyCar race at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama. “When it got to be about a month away, I figured I should start training for it, and it’s pretty hard stuff.”

IndyCar drivers Helio Castroneves, Josef Newgarden and Tony Kanaan all auditioned for the show, which follows competitors as they tackle a series of obstacle courses in qualifying rounds across the country. None of IndyCar’s contestants advanced out of the first round and neither did NASCAR driver Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

Dixon’s appearance comes about the same time the Game Show Network has Sebastien Bourdais as a guest host for “Daily Draw” for the entire week leading into the month of May at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Most recently, Alexander Rossi and Conor Daly teamed to finish fourth on “The Amazing Race,” and James Hinchcliffe was a runner-up last year on “Dancing With The Stars.” Castroneves is a former “DWTS” winner.

Dixon, the 2008 winner of the Indianapolis 500 who ranks fourth on IndyCar’s all-time wins list, is accustomed to success. But the New Zealander not so sure he’s going to become the next great ninja. Most of his fitness work focuses on endurance training, and preparing for the obstacle course has taken Dixon out of his element.

“It’s not my wheelhouse,” he said. “This is agility kind of stuff and I’m looking forward to the process. I’m not looking forward so much to the failure, because it’s going to happen at some point, so I guess I just have to make the most of it and enjoy the experience.”

Dixon was famously robbed at gunpoint in the drive-thru of a Taco Bell last year hours after he won the pole for the Indy 500. Asked if his ninja training will have him better prepared should that happen again, he did not think so.

“I suppose if I run away it would help,” Dixon said. “But I don’t exactly have a ninja toolkit to get me through that situation.”