MRTI: Matthew Brabham out for a third ‘Road to Indy’ series title

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Last year’s Pro Mazda champion, Matthew Brabham, continued his acclimation to Indy Lights earlier this week by taking part in the series’ two-day test session at Sebring International Raceway.

In just his second major outing in an Indy Lights car, Brabham was solid, posting the third-fastest time across all sessions – only beaten by Andretti Autosport teammate Zach Veach and Gabby Chaves.

Getting used to new equipment has been an interesting exercise for Brabham, who comes to Lights after storming to the Pro Mazda title in 2013 on the strength of 13 wins. But he believes he is making progress there.

“It’s definitely a step up compared to Pro Mazda,” he said recently. “So far it’s been challenging to get used to more power and more grip, but fun to drive. I’m slowly getting there, and it should be a good year for us.”

Brabham was a relatively early addition to the 2014 Lights grid, when he was announced to join Andretti Autosport’s Lights team during the 2013 IndyCar season finale weekend in October.

To him, that’s made things a little bit easier as he focuses in on conquering yet another stop on the Mazda Road to Indy (he also won the USF2000 championship in 2012).

“It gives us a jump up on everybody, and that definitely helps,” he said. “That’s what we did last year [in Pro Mazda]. We got ahead and managed to sort things out before everybody else did.

“It’s great to get out early and nice to have everything signed so I can just focus on testing and getting comfortable before we go out and start getting ready for the racing season.”

As the son of former 24 Hours of Le Mans winner Geoff Brabham and grandson of three-time Formula One World Champion Sir Jack Brabham, the third-generation racer has a lot to live up to.

But from what we’ve seen out of him so far, Matthew looks like he’s capable of making his own mark in the years ahead.

Formula 1: Ricciardo on Monaco pole, Verstappen to start last

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Red Bull Racing’s Daniel Ricciardo has dominated all weekend long at the Monaco Grand Prix, leading every single practice session prior to qualifying.

And qualifying was more of the same for the Australian driver, whose quick lap in Q3 came in at 1:10.810, a new track record, to take the pole by more than two tenths of a second over Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel.

Meanwhile, Ricciardo’s teammate Max Verstappen endured a much more difficult day, which started with a hard crash in FP3.

Verstappen’s Red Bull RB14 suffered extensive damage to the right side, and even more damage was later found in the car’s gearbox. Such repairs ultimately proved too time consuming, and Verstappen will start Sunday’s Monaco Grand Prix from last.

Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton filled out the top three by qualifying third, with Ferrari and Mercedes also taking the fourth and fifth spots on the grid, with Kimi Raikkonen in fourth and Valtteri Bottas in fifth.

Force India’s Esteban Ocon, McLaren’s Fernando Alonso, and Renault’s Carlos Sainz Jr. take up spots six, seven, and eight on the grid. Sergio Perez made it two Force Indias in Q3, qualifying ninth, while Toro Rosso’s Pierre Gasly qualified tenth.

Full qualifying results are below. Sunday’s Monaco Grand Prix kicks off at 9:00 a.m. ET.

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