More problems today for World Champs Red Bull

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Time may be running out for four-time reigning World Champions Red Bull, who suffered through more issues with their Renault-powered RB10 today during the start of the final F1 preseason test at Bahrain International Circuit.

Daniel Ricciardo had started things off today well enough with a total of 32 laps in the morning. But his afternoon session was marred by an exhaust problem on the car that sent the Australian into the paddock.

He wouldn’t return until late in the session, adding another seven laps for a total of 39 on the day. His fastest lap was a 1:37.908, good for seventh on the time sheets.

Afterwards, Ricciardo tried to keep positive despite the setback.

“The morning was much better for us with a few longer runs,” said Ricciardo. “Behind the wheel, that’s the best I’ve felt so far. The package seems to be coming together better. We still had a few issues today, but at least when the car was on track it was much more useful running and we made progress in the morning.

“It’s getting there. I’d love to keep going, but at least [Sebastian Vettel] has two days after me in the car, so I think we’ll be looking pretty good for the next three days.”

Team race engineering coordinator Andy Damerun said that the plan had been for Ricciardo to increase the length of his runs incrementally.

“We sent Daniel out for a long-ish run, but we had to abort about five laps in, as we noticed some issues on the sensors,” he said. “We brought him in, had a look at the car and discovered that we had a problem with the exhaust. So we had a long afternoon in the garage, but we did manage to get Daniel back out at the end of the session, which was good.

“We have some work to do overnight but hopefully tomorrow, we’ll able to run in a similar style to this morning.”

WATCH LIVE: IndyCar practice and qualifying at Laguna Seca

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For the first time in 15 years, Indy cars will be racing at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, and the stakes have never been higher.

Tomorrow’s Grand Prix of Monterey is the final race of the 2019 NTT IndyCar Series season, and with four drivers mathematically eligible for the series championship, there will be plenty of story lines to follow.

Current series points leader Josef Newgarden enters this weekend with a 41-point lead over second-place Alexander Rossi.

A California native, Rossi attended his first IndyCar race with his father as child at Laguna Seca when he was three years old.

He now hopes to win his first IndyCar championship at the track where he fell in love with the sport, but after suffering a broken bolt in practice 1 yesterday, he will need to find speed in P3 and qualifying today in order to put himself in the best position to fight for the title.

Simon Pagenaud and Scott Dixon are also in contention to win the championship this weekend, and another title would only add to their already illustrious IndyCar careers.

Leigh Diffey, Paul Tracy and Townsend Bell will call today’s on-track action from the booth, while Marty Snider, Jon Beekhuis, Kevin Lee and Robin Miller will report from the pits.

Here is today’s schedule:

(All times are Eastern)

Saturday 9/21, 1 p.m. ET, IndyCar Practice 3, NBC Sports Gold 

Saturday 9/21, 4:30 p.m. ET, IndyCar Qualifying, NBCSN and NBC Sports Gold

Saturday 9/21, 6 p.m. ET, Indy Lights Race 1, NBC Sports Gold 

 

For sessions on NBC Sports Gold, be sure to have your username and password handy so your subscription can be verified.

Once you enter that information, you’ll have access to the stream.