Verstappen’s F1 debut ends in disappointment after retirement (VIDEO)

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Max Verstappen’s much-heralded Formula 1 debut ended in disappointment on Sunday when the Dutch youngster was forced to retire from the Australian Grand Prix after 34 laps.

The 17-year-old set a new record for the youngest driver to start an F1 race in Melbourne, smashing Jaime Alguersuari’s existing record by 18 months.

After starting on the medium compound tire, Verstappen had been due to score points in his very first race. The Toro Rosso driver emerged from the pits on the soft compound tire in ninth place, with his sights set on the drivers ahead after making his final stop.

However, he soon reported that there was smoke in the car after exiting the pits, and eventually had to park up at the side of the track with 24 laps remaining in the race.

Verstappen has plenty of time to break the record for the youngest driver to score points in F1, but the Dutchman will be disappointed to have ended his grand prix debut in such fashion.

In contrast, fellow debutants Felipe Nasr and Carlos Sainz Jr. both managed to score points in Australia, finishing fifth and ninth respectively.

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.