Ricciardo relishing return to site of first F1 victory

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Daniel Ricciardo is relishing his return to Montreal for the Canadian Grand Prix next weekend one year on from his shock maiden Formula 1 victory at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.

In just his seventh grand prix for Red Bull Racing, Ricciardo claimed his first win after overtaking an ailing Nico Rosberg in the dying stages of the race.

The Australian’s victory was one of three he scored across the course of the season, finishing as the only non-Mercedes driver to win a race.

Speaking ahead of next weekend’s race, Ricciardo admitted that the event has always been one of his favorites and that winning in Canada only made him love Montreal more.

“Possibly winning has made me love it a little bit more but really I’ve loved it since my first lap, back when I was driving for Toro Rosso,” Ricciardo said.

“I remember coming back into the pits and saying ‘what a circuit,’ I was amazed at how good it was – and I’d only done an install.

“It’s just a ridiculous amount of fun. You can jump across the kerbs and really get the car bouncing around. It’s like getting back to go-kart days, you really feel like you own it – and I love that.

“You can get aggressive with it, and aim to just brush the wall. There’s a lot of risk but that brings a lot of adrenaline with it. It’d be wonderful if you were doing it in isolation but with 100,000 screaming fans urging you on, it’s just mega.”

In the wake of his maiden win, Ricciardo admitted that there were some celebrations that night in Montreal, but he didn’t go too crazy.

“I was very restrained and in bed by 1.30am,” he said. “There’s a point where the adrenaline wears off and suddenly you’re absolutely exhausted. I remember falling into bed, thinking ‘wow, crazy day,’ and out went the lights.

“Fortunately the crew are made of sterner stuff and kept the party going. They were not a pretty sight at breakfast the following day…”

With Red Bull falling down the pecking order in 2015, it is unlikely that Ricciardo will be in the mix for a second win in Montreal next weekend. However, the team does appear to be on the fightback after its best result of the year in Monaco, and could yet fight inside the top five once again in Canada.

Rinus VeeKay to drive for Ed Carpenter Racing in 2020

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Ed Carpenter Racing has signed 2019 Indy Lights runner-up Rinus VeeKay to drive the full 2020 NTT IndyCar Series season, the team announced Wednesday.

VeeKay will drive the No. 21 Chevrolet previously occupied by Spencer Pigot.

“I’m so happy!” the 19-year-old driver from the Netherlands said in a press release. “It’s a dream come true and something we have worked extremely hard for over the last couple of years. To step up from USF2000 to the NTT IndyCar Series in three years is really special.”

In his maiden Indy Lights season this year, VeeKay collected six race victories and seven pole potions. VeeKay previously won the 2018 Indy Pro 2000 championship, and finished second in the 2017 USF2000 standings.

VeeKay’s success in the ladder series caught the attention of Carpenter, who gave VeeKay the opportunity to first test for the team at Portland International Raceway in August.

“I have been following Rinus’s path through the Road to Indy, especially the past two years,” Carpenter said. “It was clear to me that he deserves to be in an Indy car. After his first day in a car at Portland this past season, that feeling became even more apparent. His pace, feedback and demeanor inside the car was very impressive for such a young driver.”

As a driver, Carpenter will be VeeKay’s teammate during the five oval races in 2020, once again returning to the team’s No. 20 entry. An announcement on which driver will pilot the No. 20 on the road and street circuits will be made at a later time.

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