Hamilton full of praise for Daniel Ricciardo

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Lewis Hamilton has become the latest figure within Formula 1 to heap praise upon Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo following the Australian driver’s superb start to the 2014 season.

After moving up from Toro Rosso at the beginning of the year, Ricciardo has claimed two race wins and currently lies third in the championship behind the all-dominant Mercedes drivers.

Few expected him to establish himself as a front-running driver so quickly with Red Bull, and even fewer predicted that he would enjoy a 43-point lead over teammate and four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel after eleven races of the season.

Hamilton may have lost out to Ricciardo at the Hungarian Grand Prix, but he showed no signs of sour grapes and had nothing but good to say when speaking about the Australian to the BBC.

“He’s been driving fantastically well from the beginning of the year,” Hamilton said. “He’s shown his capability and is going from strength to strength.

“He’s not only one of the nicest guys in the paddock, but also one of the best drivers here, for sure.”

Ricciardo has made a big impression on the Formula 1 community in 2014, proving himself to be more than up to the challenge of racing for the world champion team.

With two grand prix victories now under his belt, the target for the Australian will be to keep up his good form and finish the year as the ‘best of the rest’ behind Hamilton and Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg in the drivers’ championship.

Zach Veach splits with Andretti Autosport for rest of IndyCar season

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Zach Veach will be leaving his Andretti Autosport ride with three races remaining in the season, choosing to explore options after the decision was made he wouldn’t return for 2021.

In a Wednesday release, Andretti Autosport said a replacement driver for the No. 26 Dallara-Honda would be named in the coming days. The NTT IndyCar Series will race Oct. 2-3 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and then conclude the season Oct. 25 on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida.

Veach was ranked 11th in the points standings through 11 races of his third season with Andretti. Since a fourth in the June 6 season opener at Texas Motor Speedway, he hadn’t finished higher than 14th.

“The decision was made that I will not be returning in 2021 with Andretti Autosport in the No. 26 Gainbridge car,” Veach said in the Andretti release. “This, along with knowing that limited testing exists for teams due to COVID, have led me to the decision to step out of the car for the remainder of the 2020 IndyCar season. I am doing this to allow the team to have time with other drivers as they prepare for 2021, and so that I can also explore my own 2021 options.

“This is the hardest decision I have ever made, but to me, racing is about family, and it is my belief that you take care of your family. Andretti Autosport is my family and I feel this is what is best to help us all reach the next step. I will forever be grateful to Michael and the team for all of their support over the years. I would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for a relationship that started many years ago with Road to Indy. I will also be forever grateful to Dan Towriss for his friendship and for the opportunity he and Gainbridge have given me.

“My love for this sport and the people involved is unmeasurable, and I look forward to continuing to be amongst the racing world and fans in 2021.”

Said team owner Michael Andretti: “We first welcomed Zach to the Andretti team back in his USF2000 days and have enjoyed watching him grow and evolve as a racer, and a person. His decision to allow us to use the last few races to explore our 2021 options shows the measure of his character.

“Zach has always placed team and family first, and we’re very happy to have had him as part of ours for so many years. We wish him the best in whatever 2021 may bring and will always consider him a friend.”

Andretti fields five full-time cars for Veach, Alexander Rossi, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Marco Andretti and Colton Herta.

It also has fielded James Hinchcliffe in three races this season.