Vettel: Red Bull may be closer to Mercedes this weekend

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Sebastian Vettel was left feeling optimistic about Red Bull’s chances at this weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix following practice today, believing that the team may be a step closer to Mercedes than it has been at recent races.

Mercedes has been the runaway team in the 2014 world championship, with title holders Red Bull failing to put up much of a fight. The RB10 car has been hindered by the troublesome Renault power unit, but Vettel feels that these issues are less noticeable in Hungary, although he does remain wary of the cars behind.

“I think we could be a little bit closer this weekend,” he explained. “At least today it looked a bit better, but then again we saw that people can make a big step from Friday to Saturday, particularly Williams, so we have to be careful.

“We hope we can do a big enough step to keep the pace of today, and to be able to use a little bit more power, but we’ll have to wait and see where we are.”

Vettel finished third in FP2 on Friday afternoon, and his long run pace suggests that he could finish as the best of the rest on Sunday behind the Mercedes drivers.

Red Bull teammate Daniel Ricciardo was less comfortable, echoing Lewis Hamilton’s comments about the lack of grip at the Hungaroring today.

“To be honest we struggled quite a lot today trying to find the grip,” the Australian explained. “This circuit does tend to ramp up a lot over the weekend, this morning’s session the grip was really low for everyone and we saw a lot of people sliding.

“We thought we would find some more this afternoon but we didn’t quite evolve with the track, so we’ve got a bit of work to do tonight to understand that, but that’s what Friday’s are for, you learn, you try things and hopefully you put it all together Friday night in the best way for qualifying.”

Gabby Chaves to sub for Joao Barbosa at Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen

Photo: IndyCar
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Gabby Chaves is set to return to the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship at Watkins Glen International later this month.

The Columbian-American driver, who last competed in IMSA in 2016 – with the DeltaWing outfit – will sub for the injured Joao Barbosa – he hurt his wrist in a cycling accident earlier in June – in the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R in the Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen.

Chaves will partner Filipe Albuquerque and Christian Fittipaldi in the No. 5 Cadillac.

Chaves expressed gratitude for being asked to fill in, but kept his enthusiasm muted, noting that he is getting the opportunity ultimately because another driver got hurt.

“The first thing is of course that you never want to have an opportunity because someone got hurt, so this is an unfortunate circumstance with Joao having his injury,”said Chaves. “But I appreciate the opportunity to join the championship-leading team. Mustang Sampling Racing has had a strong start this year and hopefully I can help the team continue to have those kinds of results.”

Chaves added, “I love Watkins Glen, it is a great track and I am looking forward to racing the Cadillac Prototype there. I’m excited to be going back to endurance racing. With different classes all racing at the same time, there is a lot for the driver to deal with as you work through traffic. So I am looking forward to racing at the Glen again, and I really appreciate this opportunity with Mustang Sampling Racing.”

Chaves’ most recent IMSA event was the 2016 Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen, when he finished seventh in the Prototype class.

The No. 5 Action Express Cadillac currently sits tied with the sister No. 31 Whelen Engineer Racing Cadillac of Eric Curran and Felipe Nasr atop the IMSA standings, though Barbosa’s hopes of a driver’s championship are set to take an enormous hit with him missing Watkins Glen.

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