Raikkonen pleased with progress made by Ferrari

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Kimi Raikkonen has said that there is a noticeable improvement in the Ferrari F14 T ahead of this weekend’s Malaysian Grand Prix after struggling to find pace last time out in Australia.

The Finnish driver spoke on Thursday about the need to make a big step forwards, and his words appeared to have had the required effect as he finished both practice sessions in second place on Friday at Sepang.

“This was definitely a positive day and I had a better feeling compared to Friday in Melbourne,” Raikkonen said after the session. “I was more comfortable with the F14 T today and even if we had no problems whatsoever, we know there’s still a long way to go and a lot to do.”

Raikkonen did express a concern about the high degradation of the Pirelli tires at Sepang, although this was a problem felt by all teams and drivers due to the extreme heat in Malaysia.

“Our programme concentrated on car set-up and on testing the compounds that Pirelli has brought here,” the Finn said. “The handling seemed to be good even if, as we found on the race simulation, we will have to pay very close attention to degradation, which is particularly high here.

“Now we will spend the evening carefully analysing all the data we gathered over the day, to try and work out how to improve.”

The Finn is chasing a third Malaysian Grand Prix victory this weekend, and if his practice pace is anything to go by, he may stand a good chance of stopping both Mercedes cars on Sunday.

Steve Torrence takes NHRA points lead with Gatornationals victory

NHRA Gainesville Steve Torrence
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Two-time defending NHRA Top Fuel champion Steve Torrence took the points lead Sunday in the AMALIE Motor Oil Gatornationals, beating his father, Billy, in the final round at Gainesville Raceway.

Torrence had a 3.809-second run at 322.11 mph to win for the third time this year and 39th overall. He is now on track for another championship despite missing the season opener.

“We’ve got some good momentum and to be in the points lead, it’s a testament to how hard these guys work,” Steve Torrence said after the NHRA Gainesville victory. “We’ve just got to stay focused and concentrate on what the task at hand is, and that’s trying to win a championship. These guys give me an unbelievable race car and you just try not to screw it up.”

Ron Capps won in Funny Car, Alex Laughlin in Pro Stock and Matt Smith in Pro Stock Motorcycle.

Capps raced to his second win this year and 66th overall, beating Tim Wilkerson with a 3.937 at 323.12 in a Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat.

Laughlin topped Aaron Stanfield with a 7.068 at 204.76 in a Chevrolet Camaro for his first win this season and fourth in his career. Smith rode to his first victory in 2020 and 25th overall, topping Andrew Hines with a 6.843 at 196.99 on an EBR.