Kvyat stars on debut despite disrupted session

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Toro Rosso youngster Daniil Kvyat produced an impressive display during the first free practice session for the United States Grand Prix today as he prepares to make his Formula One debut next March.

Kvyat will race for Toro Rosso alongside Jean-Eric Vergne as a replacement for the Red Bull-bound Daniel Ricciardo, but the Russian driver has been handed two run-outs during practice at the end of this season in order to help him prepare.

Despite the Circuit of the Americas being a new circuit for Kvyat and the session being delayed by fog and a problem with the medical helicopter, he performed admirably to finish just two-tenths down on Ricciardo.

“I enjoyed every single moment of driving the track even though there was a delay because of the fog and then a red flag,” Kvyat said after the session. “We didn’t do the full programme of course because the session was shortened, but we still did twenty laps which is important mileage for me and we also managed to do some aero measurements.”

Kvyat also echoed the thoughts of his colleagues and praised the circuit, which has firmly established itself as being one of the best in Formula One.

“Of course I’ve never driven here before and I think the track is very nice. It was good to go out there to try and find the limit of the car and the brakes.

“I’ve finished driving here but for the rest of the weekend I will be attending all the engineers’ briefings, which again will be a very valuable experience.”

Kvyat will also take part in the first practice session for the Brazilian Grand Prix next weekend, replacing Daniel Ricciardo.

Lewis Hamilton receives Daytona 500 invitation from Bubba Wallace

Lewis Hamilton Bubba Wallace
Rudy Carezzevoli/Getty Images
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Lewis Hamilton is a fan of the new NASCAR Cup Series team formed by Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan to field a car for Bubba Wallace.

Will the six-time Formula One champion also be a fan in person at a NASCAR race in the near future?

Wallace is hoping so.

After Hamilton tweeted his support Tuesday morning about the news of a Hamlin-Jordan-Wallace team making its debut with the 2021 season, Wallace responded with a sly invitation to the Daytona 500.

Much would need to be worked out, starting with how much garage and grandstand access would be afforded for a 2021 season opener that likely would occur during a still ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

But it would seem fitting given that Hamilton and Wallace have been two of the world’s most outspoken Black athletes about the quest for diversity and racial justice. Hamilton recently reaffirmed his commitment to activism after his donning a Breonna Taylor shirt sparked an FIA inquiry.

The idea of Hamilton attending the season opener already had legs, too. The Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 driver has expressed a desire to race the Daytona 500 after he has retired from Formula One.

He was a spectator (with racing legend Mario Andretti) at four-time champion Jeff Gordon’s final Cup race as a full-time in the 2015 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. In 2011, Hamilton swapped cars with three-time champion Tony Stewart at Watkins Glen International.

Having rubbed shoulders with other racing greats so often, it only would be fitting if Hamilton — who is one victory from tying Michael Schumacher’s career record and also could tie the F1 record with a seventh championship this season — spent some time with the greatest basketball player of all time.

Jeff Gordon was flanked by Mario Andretti and Lewis Hamilton before the 2015 Cup season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway (Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images).