Ricciardo relishing buzz of Spanish GP as F1 hits Europe

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Daniel Ricciardo is relishing the start of the European season in Formula 1 at next weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix as he goes in search of his first top five finish of 2015.

Ricciardo has endured a difficult start to the new season thanks to a number of problems with the Red Bull RB11 car. The Australian currently ranks seventh in the drivers’ standings with a best finish of sixth in Australia and Bahrain.

The Spanish Grand Prix takes place at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, one of F1’s more traditional venues, and Ricciardo is relishing the atmosphere of the race.

“We have a great atmosphere for the race,” Ricciardo said. “The circuit cuts into the hillside so there’s lots of good viewing areas and, so long as [Fernando] Alonso’s on track, it’s pretty crazy.

“That’s great for all of us, not just Fernando. It’s going to be good with three Spanish drivers in this year’s race. There’ll be a real buzz.”

Ahead of the race, Ricciardo explained how he thinks the controversial drag reduction system (DRS) that is fitted to each car works well at the Spanish circuit, making for some close racing.

“I think it’s one where DRS is a big plus point,” the Australian said. “In the past, because everyone knew the track and their setup so well, races tended to be a bit stale.

“I think the DRS means that you don’t get dull races any more. You can still defend though – it’s a good track for that – but in a way that’s going to make the race exciting for spectators.

“It’s fun to drive. The first two sectors have a really good flow to them, which is pretty cool. The last sector is a bit more about tyre management on the modern layout but the rest is exhilarating.”

The Spanish Grand Prix is live on NBCSN on May 10.

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.