Red Bull deems Jerez a success despite minor problems

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In complete contrast to its miserable F1 pre-season in 2014, Red Bull has deemed the first test of the year in Jerez a success despite encountering a number of minor problems across the four days.

Daniel Ricciardo and Daniil Kvyat managed to complete just 164 laps in Jerez, putting Red Bull eighth out of the nine teams in terms of mileage ahead of only McLaren, who suffered teething problems with the new Honda engine.

The pace of the RB11 did not exactly stun in Jerez as Ricciardo finished with the 12th-fastest time of the test, two places ahead of Kvyat. Both drivers suffered issues with the new car, including an embarrassing incident for Kvyat when he damaged the only front wing that the team had brought to Jerez on Monday.

Nevertheless, head of race engineering Guillaume Rocquelin feels that the team is in good shape following the test despite not achieving everything that it set out to.

“This week has all been about establishing reliability and while we’ve had a few niggles the car is pretty much where we want it to be,” Rocquelin said on Wednesday. “We focused on medium and long runs all week and Dany was able to do more of that work this afternoon.

“We did lose track time over the four days and that’s always frustrating, as you inevitably have to scratch some things off the ‘to do’ list, but the major items were covered so I would say we’re leaving Jerez in pretty decent shape.”

Kvyat’s final day in Jerez was cut short by an ERS problem on his car, but the young Russian took the positives out of his first running for Red Bull ahead of his race debut for the team in March.

“We had an issue this morning but we managed to overcome that and we had a clean run in the afternoon, so I’m really happy to have got a lot of laps under my belt today,” he said. “All in all, I think it was a very productive day, with a lot of positives.

“I think we know where we are and where we want to be for the next test in Barcelona. We’ve made good progress this week and hopefully there’s more to come.”

F1 pre-season testing recommences in Barcelona on February 19th.

Lewis Hamilton receives Daytona 500 invitation from Bubba Wallace

Lewis Hamilton Bubba Wallace
Rudy Carezzevoli/Getty Images
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Lewis Hamilton is a fan of the new NASCAR Cup Series team formed by Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan to field a car for Bubba Wallace.

Will the six-time Formula One champion also be a fan in person at a NASCAR race in the near future?

Wallace is hoping so.

After Hamilton tweeted his support Tuesday morning about the news of a Hamlin-Jordan-Wallace team making its debut with the 2021 season, Wallace responded with a sly invitation to the Daytona 500.

Much would need to be worked out, starting with how much garage and grandstand access would be afforded for a 2021 season opener that likely would occur during a still ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

But it would seem fitting given that Hamilton and Wallace have been two of the world’s most outspoken Black athletes about the quest for diversity and racial justice. Hamilton recently reaffirmed his commitment to activism after his donning a Breonna Taylor shirt sparked an FIA inquiry. Time just published a brief piece by Wallace saluting Hamilton as a trailblazer.

The idea of Hamilton attending the NASCAR season opener already had legs, too. The Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 driver has expressed a desire to race the Daytona 500 after he has retired from Formula One.

He was a spectator (with racing legend Mario Andretti) at four-time champion Jeff Gordon’s final Cup race as a full-time in the 2015 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. In 2011, Hamilton swapped cars with three-time champion Tony Stewart at Watkins Glen International.

Having rubbed shoulders with other racing greats so often, it would seem right for Hamilton — who is one victory from tying Michael Schumacher’s career record and also could tie the F1 record with a seventh championship this season — to spend some time with the greatest basketball player of all time.

Jeff Gordon was flanked by Mario Andretti and Lewis Hamilton before the 2015 Cup season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway (Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images).