Sutil delighted with practice pace

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Adrian Sutil showed no signs of rustiness on his official return to Formula One in Melbourne on Friday as he finished both practice sessions inside the top ten.

“It was a very good day and I feel satisfied. The baseline set-up was not too far away from what we needed and the car felt very similar to the way it performed in Barcelona at the final test.

“I had a good feeling all day and enjoyed working with my engineers, who I already know very well.”

The German driver was dropped by Force India at the end of the 2011 season following an incident in a Chinese nightclub which resulted in Sutil being charged with GBH. However, after Nico Hulkenberg left the team to join Sauber for 2013, Sutil was given a second chance in the sport.

Many pundits questioned the move as some drivers have struggled following time out from F1 (most notably Michael Schumacher). Sutil not only out-paced teammate Paul di Resta in practice, but he also finished inside the top ten in what were two very close sessions. The Force India driver underlined the importance of getting used to the new tires in time for the race on Sunday.

“The track is obviously evolving and improving, but we got a good feel for the tires. The main focus tonight is to work on improving the balance on the super-softs.”

Sutil’s pace in practice was indeed competitive, and if he can continue this form on Saturday and Sunday he could quickly establish himself as the number one driver at Force India despite his year out.

Supercross: Talon Hawkins to debut in Houston in relief of Jalek Swoll

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Talon Hawkins, 19, will make his Monster Energy Supercross debut on a 250 this week in Houston, Texas as a fill-in rider for Jalek Swoll.

During the Anaheim 2 weekend, the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna team announced Swoll underwent successful surgery to repair a broken arm suffered in a practice crash.

That same weekend, Hawkins made some noise. He took the lead from teammate Casey Cohran on Lap 2 of the 250 SX Futures Main and led for three laps before he was overtaken by eventual winner Daxton Bennick. Cochran also got around him to push Hawkins to third.

This will not be Hawkins SuperMotocross professional debut, however; he made three Lucas Oil Pro Motocross starts last year with results of 19th at Spring Creek in Millville, Minnesota, 27th at Ironman in Crawfordsville, Indiana and a best finish of 17th in the season finale at Fox Raceway in Pala, California.

Hawkins also has a top-10 finish in the 125 All-Star division at Pala in 2019 riding a Husqvarna.

Speaking with RacerXOnline.com before the Loretta Lynn Amateur Nationals, Hawkins predicted his future with Husqvarna would come down to how he performed in that race.

“It all just comes down to how I perform at Loretta’s,” Hawkins said. “Say I do really well, I get a top three in both classes and do a pretty solid job, I would like to go pro and just kind of finish out the rest of the series. But there’s also the option of waiting a little bit longer, going back out to [Aldon] Baker’s [Factory] or going anywhere and training, and just being prepared. I’m also open to that too. Honestly, it’s whatever the team wants. Whatever we think is the best option is what we’re going to go with. So, I don’t really have a plan right now, just looking into the future.”

Hawkins finished third overall in the 125 B/C and Schoolboy divisions at the Loretta Lynn Amateur Nationals.