Vettel pleased for Ricciardo after “horrible winter”

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Sebastian Vettel may not have won today’s Canadian Grand Prix, but he was quick to heap praise on teammate Daniel Ricciardo who claimed his maiden grand prix victory and Red Bull’s first in 2014.

Vettel eventually crossed the line in third place, with his chances of winning the race being lost due to his strategy that caused him to continually run in dirty air. However, Ricciardo managed to pounce upon Mercedes’ reliability problems and pass leader Nico Rosberg with just a few laps remaining.

“Congratulations to Daniel for his first win, which is very, very special, so I’m happy for him and happy for the team, especially after such a horrible winter,” Vettel said after the race, reflecting on Red Bull’s pre-season problems. “It’s nice to be able to finally break through to get a win this year and capitalise on Mercedes having a problem.”

However, the German driver did question the team’s strategy today, believing that a more risky call would have paid dividends and perhaps allowed him to claim his first win of the season.

“I think we could have taken more risk with the strategy today,” Vettel said. “But it’s hard to know exactly what was going on around me when I’m not sitting on the pit wall.

“We have developed the car a lot this year, so we are going in the right direction, but we need to develop it even more for the straights, so there is still a lot of work ahead of us. We are here to keep pushing and to keep doing our best.”

The German driver has moved back up into fifth place in the drivers’ championship, but trails Ricciardo by 19 points after seven races in 2014. His title hopes may have been over for some time now, but beating his teammate across the course of the season will be crucial for Vettel given his prowess as a four-time champion of the world.

Three-time W Series champ Jamie Chadwick joining Andretti in Indy NXT Series for 2023

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Jamie Chadwick, the three-time W Series champion, will drive for Andretti Autosport in the Indy NXT Series next season.

Chadwick will make her debut in an American racing series in March, driving the No. 28 for Andretti Autosport with sponsorship from DHL. The 24-year-old will become the first female driver in 13 years to compete full time in the Indy NXT championship.

Chadwick joined the female free-to-enter W Series in its inaugural 2019 season, winning two races and the first of three consecutive championships. She has been a reserve driver for the Williams Formula One team and will continue in that role in 2023. She also has driven in the Extreme E Series.

Despite her success, Chadwick hasn’t landed a bigger ride in F3 or F2, and her break didn’t come until Michael Andretti contacted her and offered a test in an Indy NXT car.

The final three races of this year’s W Series schedule were canceled when funding fell through, but Chadwick still believes the all-female series was the right path for her.

“W Series has always been and will continue to be an opportunity to be racing for every female driver, so for my side, I looked at it while perhaps I would have liked to step up maybe earlier, at the same time being able to have that chance to race, get that experience, have that development, seat time… I was constantly learning,” Chadwick told The Associated Press.

“In that sense, I wasn’t frustrated at all. But on the flip side of it, now I’ve had that experience testing in the United States in Indy NXT and this is something I’m really excited about.”

Chadwick also is expected to have an enhanced role as a development driver next season with Williams, which chose American driver Logan Sargeant to fill its open seat on next year’s F1 grid.

“Andretti Autosport is proud to be supporting Jamie alongside DHL,” said Michael Andretti. “Jamie’s successful career speaks for itself, but Indy NXT gives Jamie the opportunity to continue her development in a new type of racing.

“We’ve turned out five Indy NXT champions over the years and look forward to continuing our role in developing new talent.”

Indy NXT is the new name of the rebranded Indy Lights Series, the final step on the ladder system before IndyCar.

Andretti will field two drivers next season in IndyCar that were developed in Indy NXT: Kyle Kirkwood, the 2021 champion, will return to Andretti after one season in IndyCar driving for A.J. Foyt Racing, and Devlin DeFrancesco is back for a second season.

Chadwick will be teammates in Indy NXT with Hunter McElrea and Louis Foster. She becomes Andretti’s second full-time female driver alongside Catie Munnings, who competes for Andretti United in the Extreme E Series.