Felipe Nasr stars on debut to finish fifth for Sauber

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Sauber F1 Team ended a difficult week in Australia with an outstanding double-points score as Felipe Nasr and Marcus Ericsson finished fifth and eighth respectively in Melbourne on Sunday.

There had been some uncertainty surrounding the team’s entry into this weekend’s Australian Grand Prix due to an ongoing court case with former reserve driver Giedo van der Garde.

On Saturday, a ceasefire was called by the Dutchman in the best interests of the sport, allowing Sauber to focus on its participation in the race on Sunday.

After making a good start in the race, Nasr produced a superb display for Sauber to finish fifth in his very first Formula 1 grand prix ahead of Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo.

“I am very happy with fifth position in my first ever Formula 1 race,” Nasr said. “It is such a big relief for the team and myself that we are able to score points, and I am very pleased about this achievement.

“It was a tough race. Right after the start it was quite messy in turn one, as another driver hit my wheel. I thought the car was damaged a bit, but after a few laps I noticed everything was fine.

“After that, the race went according to plan. There was pressure from behind during the whole race, which was not easy. That was an emotional race for me and everyone in the team.”

Nasr’s result was backed up by Sauber teammate Marcus Ericsson, who scored his first ever points in F1 by finishing eighth in Melbourne.

“First of all, the team has done a great job over the winter,” Ericsson said. “It is amazing for everyone in the team here in Melbourne and also back home in the factory to get this result in the first race weekend of the 2015 season.

“We have seen good progress during pre-season testing, and with this achievement I am really happy for everyone. For me as a driver, I have scored my first points in Formula 1, which is a big goal achieved. Now, we can build on this for the next race.”

This double score will come as a huge relief to Sauber, given that the team failed to pick up a single point in the entirety of last season, which went down as its worst in F1.

2015 appears to hold better on-track prospects, and once the legal wranglings with van der Garde are resolved, Sauber can look to push on and continue to improve throughout the season.

Steve Torrence takes NHRA points lead with Gatornationals victory

NHRA Gainesville Steve Torrence
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Two-time defending NHRA Top Fuel champion Steve Torrence took the points lead Sunday in the AMALIE Motor Oil Gatornationals, beating his father, Billy, in the final round at Gainesville Raceway.

Torrence had a 3.809-second run at 322.11 mph to win for the third time this year and 39th overall. He is now on track for another championship despite missing the season opener.

“We’ve got some good momentum and to be in the points lead, it’s a testament to how hard these guys work,” Steve Torrence said after the NHRA Gainesville victory. “We’ve just got to stay focused and concentrate on what the task at hand is, and that’s trying to win a championship. These guys give me an unbelievable race car and you just try not to screw it up.”

Ron Capps won in Funny Car, Alex Laughlin in Pro Stock and Matt Smith in Pro Stock Motorcycle.

Capps raced to his second win this year and 66th overall, beating Tim Wilkerson with a 3.937 at 323.12 in a Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat.

Laughlin topped Aaron Stanfield with a 7.068 at 204.76 in a Chevrolet Camaro for his first win this season and fourth in his career. Smith rode to his first victory in 2020 and 25th overall, topping Andrew Hines with a 6.843 at 196.99 on an EBR.