Ricciardo: “Great relief” to beat Gutierrez for point

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Daniel Ricciardo said he only just managed to keep Esteban Gutierrez behind for tenth place – and a point – in the Spanish Grand Prix.

“We had to really scramble to hold on to tenth,” he told Toro Rosso’s website.

“I wasn’t happy with the balance of the car in that first stint – in fact I was angry because I knew the car had more potential and we just weren’t using it,” he explained.

“Then, the next two stints were really good. The car started working better, I was passing people instead of being passed. At that point I thought we were looking like scoring quite heavily. Then on the last two stints the pace dropped away again.”

He came under attack from the Sauber driver in the final laps of the race: “With a few laps left, the team said Gutierrez was about three seconds behind me – but a couple of corners later he was right on my gearbox. Three seconds! Where did that go?”

“Initially, because he caught me so quickly, I thought he’d be able to walk around me – but I was able to just tick the laps off one-by-one and cover him in the areas where he might be able to pass.

“I just got it – but that last lap was tight. Coming out of turn ten he got nearly alongside me and we were both sideways out of there. I was desperately trying to hold on to it. It was a great relief when I crossed the line in front.”

Here’s who were picking to win the Indy 500 — who are YOU picking?

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Several members of the NBC Sports motorsports staff have made their predictions on who will win Sunday’s 102nd Running of the Indianapolis 500.

Of the six voters, two are going with 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series champ Josef Newgarden, while two others are going with Helio Castroneves to win a fourth 500, which would tie him with A.J. Foyt, Al Unser and Rick Mears.

Here’s our picks. Who are YOU picking?

Leigh Diffey: Helio Castroneves — He drives the place better than anyone else. For me (for what its worth) he deserves a fourth 500 ring for the frustration he went through never getting the IndyCar title!

Townsend Bell: Josef Newgarden

Nate Ryan: Simon Pagenaud — All of his 2018 misfortune on the track has disappeared in May, and it culminates in the biggest victory of his career.

Jerry Bonkowski: Helio Castroneves – There’s no pressure as he pursues his fourth Indy 500 win. All Helio has to do, as late NFL owner Al Davis would say, is “Just win, baby!” (But if Helio falls short, watch for Marco Andretti)

Kyle Lavigne: Josef Newgarden — I think he has everything he needs to get it done this year.

Dan Beaver: Robert Wickens – Has driven like anything except a rookie and his second-place finish at Phoenix proves he’s just as good on an oval as the road courses.

Follow: Jerry Bonkowski