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Ricciardo: Red Bull has ‘decent chance’ of Abu Dhabi F1 victory

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Daniel Ricciardo believes Red Bull stands a “decent chance” of signing off from the 2017 Formula 1 season with a victory in next weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

After a slow start to the year, Red Bull made massive gains across the course of the season by developing its RB13 to end the season as front-runners, rivaling Mercedes and Ferrari for pace.

The Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi has a number of slow-speed sections that should suit the RB13 car, with Ricciardo optimistic about his chances of not only ending his podium drought at the track, but even winning the race.

“Yas Marina has actually been one of my favorite tracks over the years,” Ricciardo said in Red Bull’s pre-race preview.

“It’s been a bit like Suzuka for me though, a track that I’ve always enjoyed and gone well on but not quite reached the podium at. I broke that trend in Suzuka this year so hopefully I can do the same in Abu Dhabi.

“When you have so much time away from the car in the off season it helps to sign off with a strong result as it makes you feel like you really deserve a break.

“I think we should have a strong car in Abu Dhabi. I said I want another win before the season is out and I think we have a decent chance of achieving that.”

Red Bull has claimed three race wins through 2017, with Ricciardo’s victory in Azerbaijan being followed up by successes for teammate Max Verstappen in Malaysia and Mexico.

Photo gallery: IndyCar iRacing at Barber Motorsports Park

Chris Graythen/Getty Images
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VIRTUAL LEEDS, Ala. — The second round of the IndyCar iRacing Challenge was held on a picturesque Saturday at Barber Motorsports Park, which looked as pristine in a simulation as in real life.

Scott McLaughlin won over Will Power by 0.4241 seconds, leading a 1-2 sweep by Team Penske in a wild 45-lap race. Sage Karam started on pole and led the first 24 laps in pursuit of his second consecutive victory, but he was out by Lap 29 after multiple on-track incidents.

Even though the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is keeping cars off the track in the real world, there still some beauty to be found in iRacing.

WINNER: Scott McLaughlin holds off teammate Will Power

WHAT DRIVERS SAID: Postrace reactions on social media

RESULTS: Where everyone finished at virtual Barber Motorsports Park

Courtesy of Getty Images’ Chris Graythen, here are a collection of screenshots from around the rolling hills and sweeping vistas of the 17-turn, 2.38-mile road course that features some interesting sculptures:

Alexander Rossi, who finished 22nd in his No. 27 Dallara-Honda, races alongside the No. 55 Chevrolet of Alex Palou (Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

 

The No. 6 Chevy of Robert Wickens, who was eighth in his return to competition Saturday, makes a climb at Barber Motorsports Park, whose famous spider structures lurk in the background (Chris Graythen/Getty Images).

 

Graham Rahal, who finished 14th despite his lack of iRacing experience, races next to a thicket of trees at Barber Motorsports Park (Chris Graythen/Getty Images).

 

A sweeping overhead shot of Barber Motorsports Park during Saturday’s IndyCar iRacing Challenge (Chris Graythen/Getty Images).

 

Kyle Kirkwood (top) and Colton Herta race their Andretti Autosport Hondas down the frontstretch at Barber Motorsports Park (Chris Graythen/Getty Images).

 

James Hinchcliffe, whose Dallara-Honda thankfullly started this week, placed 17th at Barber (Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

 

Defending series champion Josef Newgarden was sporting a nice shade of baby blue on his No. 1 Dallara-Chevrolet in finishing ninth (Chris Graythen/Getty Images).

 

Watkins Glen winner Sage Karam led the first 24 laps before falling behind in the pits and then falling out after contact from multiple incidents (Chris Graythen/Getty Images).

 

Five-time series champion Scott Dixon’s No. 9 Dallara-Honda made its IndyCar iRacing Challenge debut, finishing 16th (Chris Graythen/Getty Images).

 

Scott McLaughlin briefly goes off course while leading the field in a winning drive from his home in Brisbane, Australia (Chris Graythen/Getty Images).

 

Oliver Askew, who spent more than a dozen hours practicing on a simulation with his Arrow McLaren SP engineers, started ninth and finished 15th at Barber Motorsports Park (Chris Graythen/Getty Images).

 

It was another tough iRacing outing for 2013 Indianapolis 500 winner Tony Kanaan, who said he struggled with pitting glitches in a 26th-place finish (Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

 

Barber Motorsports Park is known for its collection of large steel structures featuring overgrown animals and insects, such as this spider keeping watch over Saturday’s race (Chris Graythen/Getty Images).