Fernando Alonso passes first Indy 500 driving test at the Brickyard | Richard Williams

McLaren’s No1 driver seemed to enjoy a few day away from his F1 purgatory at the world-famous oval in readiness for Memorial Day weekend

Fernando Alonso smiled as he got out of the cockpit at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Wednesday. That was good to see. A hundred laps of the two-and-a-half-mile high-speed oval had given him all the evidence he needed that driving a racing car could still be a fun thing to do.

A couple of weeks ago, fed up with waiting for McLaren-Honda to give him a competitive Formula One car, Alonso announced that he intended to skip the Monaco Grand Prix – a race of supreme commercial importance to all F1 teams and their sponsors – on 28 May in order to compete for the first time in the Indianapolis 500, which occupies the same date.

Related: Fernando Alonso and McLaren should be admired for Indy 500 decision | Giles Richards

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Source: Formula 1

Sebastian Vettel has more reason to smile as F1 heads to Europe | Giles Richards

The first four races of the season have shown Ferrari are on the up and proved Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes have work to do

Barcelona beckons as Formula One prepares to begin the European season proper, with the teams having 10 days to reflect on the four opening races and prepare for the upgrades that will be unveiled in Spain. The new regulations have thrown up a tense and gripping, rather than spectacular, prologue and the racing has been better than many feared, while there is an absolutely cracking battle at the front in prospect. Time then, to consider where the leading drivers and their teams stand before returning to the fray at the Circuit de Catalunya.

Ferrari’s resurgence has proved the perfect fillip for F1 and Sebastian Vettel. The German has been in fine fettle and it is not just because he has the championship lead. Vettel is more relaxed and happier than he has been since joining the team in 2015. Last season’s frustration and his sometimes fractious relationship with Ferrari has gone and his driving reflects this. He has huge confidence in the car and in a team that is now making the right calls from the pit wall. Two wins from four put him on the front foot going into Europe.

Related: F1 Russian Grand Prix: five things we learned in Sochi

Related: Valtteri Bottas stuns Vettel and Hamilton to win F1’s Russian GP

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Source: Formula 1

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