Getty Images

Red Bull F1 hoping for more rain in Malaysia after pacing FP1

Leave a comment

Red Bull drivers Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen finished Friday’s Formula 1 practice for the Malaysian Grand Prix hoping for rain through the remainder of the weekend after mixed conditions through FP1 and FP2.

Heavy rain resulted in first practice being delayed by 30 minutes before the drivers were allowed out on-track, with Verstappen and Ricciardo sweeping to a one-two finish in the damp conditions.

A bone-dry FP2 saw Ferrari come to the fore, with Ricciardo and Verstappen settling for P3 and P4 respectively, leaving them eager for more rain after getting an idea of what could be possible in a wet race.

“We were both looking pretty good in the wetter conditions and on the intermediates we were at the pace and significantly quicker than everyone else, which we’ll take,” Ricciardo said.

“This afternoon we weren’t that competitive looking at Ferrari, but it looked like Mercedes struggled as well. If we can focus on ourselves we can still improve; on the short runs we needed to improve the front grip and on the long runs we needed to improve the rear, so we have just got to find a better compromise with the set-up. Just looking after that I think will be the key on Sunday.

“I think if we can find half a second somewhere then we’ll be in the fight, we have still got a bit of work to do but we were OK.

“If we get some light drizzle across the weekend then we’ll be looking pretty good; I won’t complain if qualifying and the race is wet!”

Verstappen echoed his teammate’s comments: “I think today was positive. Of course, compared to Ferrari it can be better but it’s not a bad performance and we still end the day ahead of Mercedes.

“For sure tomorrow it will be better but we still need to improve to beat Ferrari. I missed out on doing a long run this afternoon because of the red flag, so I will see with Daniel how he is feeling and then we will decide what we can do tomorrow to improve the car.

“Tomorrow I’m hoping for rain, not too much that we aren’t driving, but a little bit would make things interesting.”

Dale Earnhardt Jr. will race IndyCar stars in iRacing at Michigan

Leave a comment

The invite has been received, and Dale Earnhardt Jr. has another iRacing event on his schedule.

The NASCAR on NBC analyst tweeted Wednesday that he will make his debut in the IndyCar iRacing Challenge with Saturday’s race at Michigan Speedway. The race will be shown live on NBCSN at 2:30 p.m. ET Saturday.

The 2-mile oval was chosen by IndyCar drivers as the third track in the six-race series. Earnhardt heartily endorsed Michigan as a potential iRacing venue Monday along with Daytona and Talladega. Michigan nearly was selected by fans as the opener in the iRacing Challenge.

DRIVE LIKE ANDRETTI: Marco is in for Michigan

REVISED SCHEDULE: IndyCar makes 2020 adjustments

Earnhardt, a longtime avid iRacing fan, had been lobbying since last Thursday that he was interested in racing with IndyCar drivers.

He has driven in the first three races of the eNASCAR Pro Invitational, finishing second to Denny Hamlin in the opener at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Last year, he attended his first Indianapolis 500, working as an analyst as part of NBC Sports’ inaugural broadcast of the Greatest Spectacle in Racing.

“I’d love to do it,” Earnhardt said Monday about joining the IndyCar iRacing Challenge. “I think I’d love to get to know those guys.

“I had such a great time at the Indy 500 last year, and the reception that I received from other drivers there really meant a lot to me. So I know they’re all a lot of great dudes in that series that I already know that I’d love to get to know some of them even better.”

It already has been quite the week for Earnhardt, who was announced Monday as one of 15 nominees for the 2021 NASCAR Hall of Fame.

The field for Saturday’s race at Michigan should include another  NASCAR driver in Jimmie Johnson. The seven-time Cup champion has driven the first two races of the IndyCar iRacing Challenge (and has plans to race IndyCar part time in the future).