Ricciardo pleased to rack up mileage in Barcelona

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Daniel Ricciardo is pleased to have finally racked up a large amount of mileage in a single day of testing after completing 142 laps in Barcelona on Friday.

The Australian driver posted the fastest time of the day with a best lap of 1:24.574, edging out Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen by 0.010 seconds at the top of the timesheets.

However, the more impressive stat was that he was able to complete a full race simulation on Friday afternoon, managing a full 66-lap run that included pit stops, just as he would do in a grand prix.

For Ricciardo, getting a large amount of mileage under his belt was the priority in Barcelona, and he was encouraged by the pace that the RB11 showed.

“It was good,” he said. “We wanted to get a day with a 100-plus laps on the board and we did that and more today. It was very solid.

“We also got through some pit stop practice and some good long runs, which is very positive. I know it’s just testing but it is encouraging seeing us on top or at least in that front group. Obviously you have no idea what everyone is doing, but it is encouraging.

“The car feels good. It has similar characteristics to RB10 in terms of how the chassis feels but that’s a good thing, as I think we had a pretty good car last year. All in all a really good day’s work.”

Red Bull’s head of race engineering Guillaume Rocquelin was pleased with the team’s showing on Friday after a truncated Thursday of running, and also explained that the issue which caused Ricciardo to stop at the end of the pit lane in the morning was a minor one.

“Day one was all about tuning the new elements we had brought here and it was always going to be a bit stop-start but by the end of yesterday we were on top of that and running well and today was the reward for all that hard work,” Rocquelin explained.

“We had a small issue on Daniel’s installation lap, again caused by a software gremlin, but that was quickly sorted and we could get to work on the programme we had in place.

“In the morning that meant a lot of pit stop practice first thing, giving way to some tire work in advance of our afternoon programme. We switched over to long runs in the afternoon and by the close of play we’d got through everything we wanted to on the day.”

Ricciardo will hand the RB11 over to his teammate, Daniil Kvyat, for the next two days of testing in Barcelona.

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.

The idea of Hamilton attending the 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 only would be fitting if 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 — spent 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).