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F1: Verstappen from fast to furious in Mexico, Ricciardo questions racing

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MEXICO CITY (AP) Red Bull’s Max Verstappen went from fast to furious to winner. Daniel Ricciardo went from pole position to yet another disaster as engine failure doomed his car yet again.

The Mexican Grand Prix was a wild ride for Red Bull.

The team came to the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez expecting to challenge Mercedes and Ferrari for the win in the high altitude of Mexico City.

The 21-year-old Verstappen had dominated practice and looked set to become the youngest driver in Formula One history to win pole position until Ricciardo snatched it away on his final lap. Infuriated, Verstappen returned to the track determined to get the win and defend his 2017 race victory.

“Amazing,” said Verstappen. “To be honest with you, I didn’t sleep very well last night.”

The Dutch driver has two wins this season and five podium finishes in the last seven races. It’s strong run in a season that began with mistakes that cost him potential victories and drew a reprimand for dangerous driving moves.

He slammed the door on the victory in Mexico at the start. A furious jump off the line beat Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton to the first corner, and Verstappen was off and running toward an easy race for his fifth career victory.

Lewis Hamilton secured his fifth career championship with a fourth-place finish. He’d said before the race he likely couldn’t beat the Red Bulls.

A poor start and another round of engine failure beat Ricciardo, who has endured a frustrating season. Engine failure has killed his car in six of the last 11 races with two left on the season in Brazil and Abu Dhabi.

Race day began with such promise for Ricciardo.

Red Bull’s 1-2 start was their first front-row lockout since the start of the hybrid engine era in 2014. Ricciardo’s brilliant qualifying lap earned his third career pole position and the first since his victory in Monaco.

But he got left behind at the starting line and quickly dropped to third. He was in a furious fight to hold off Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel for second until smoke billowed from the back of his car with nine laps to go and he surrendered.

Ricciardo is leaving Red Bull’s Renault engines for the Renault team in 2019. Red Bull will be switching to Honda engines. Pierre Gasly will be taking Ricciardo’s place in a promotion from Red Bull’s junior team Toro Rosso.

“This car’s cursed,” Ricciardo said. “There’s two more races. I honestly don’t see the point of coming.”

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Simona de Silvestro to become Venturi Formula E test driver

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Simona de Silvestro will become a test driver for the Venturi Formula E team for 2018/2019 season.In addition

De Silvestro previously raced limited events in the series during the 2014/2015 and 2015/2016 seasons.

I’m delighted to make my return to Formula E as a test driver for Venturi Formula E Team and I’m grateful to Susie (Wolff, team principal) and Gildo (Pastor, team president) for the opportunity,” de Silvestro said on SpeedCafe.com.

“Since competing in Season 2, I’ve kept a close eye on the Formula E championship and followed its development with interest,” de Silvestro continued. “The arrival of the new Gen2 car represents a huge milestone for the series and I am very happy to be back in an active role at this exciting and important time.”

De Silvestro has raced in Australian Supercars since 2017. She will continue to race in that series with Kelly Racing as she balances her time with Venturi.

The bulk of de Silvestro’s testing will be done in its simulator in Monaco.

“The next 12 months will be really busy for me with both Formula E and my Australian Supercars commitments but I’m ready for the challenge and it’s a joy to be working with such a well connected and committed team as Venturi,” de Silvestro said.

“Simona is a real team player and a driver I was keen to work with,” said team principal Wolff. “She has a very positive attitude and no-nonsense approach to her work which will fit in well with the team.”