Hamilton delighted to qualify on the front row

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Lewis Hamilton is delighted to have qualified on the front row for tomorrow’s Monaco Grand Prix after a difficult start to the race weekend.

The British driver had felt uncomfortable with the car before qualifying, but he overcame these difficulties to finish P2 just behind teammate Nico Rosberg.

“Congratulations to Nico and the team today, a great job all round,” Hamilton said in a team statement. “It’s a big improvement for me after struggling in the practice sessions here so I’m really happy to be on the front row of the grid. I didn’t have a great first sector on my lap today but after that it really came together.”

Despite this good result, Hamilton still believes that there is room for improvement if he is to fight for his second victory in Monaco, having won the prestigious event in 2008.

“I’ve got some work to do as I haven’t felt completely comfortable in the car this weekend but I’m confident that we can have a good race tomorrow and we’ll be aiming to get the best possible result for the team.”

Mercedes have qualified very strongly so far this season, with Rosberg’s result marking the team’s fourth consecutive pole position, but they are yet to record a win in 2013. Regardless, team principal Ross Brawn is sure that some progress has been made.

“We are well aware of our fate in the last few races and we have to make sure that we are in better shape for tomorrow,” Brawn said. “I believe we have moved in the right direction and we’ll see tomorrow if those improvements are enough and we can have a good race.”

Relying the Silver Arrows can manage their tires, both Hamilton and Rosberg will have a good shot at taking the win tomorrow.

Power, Newgarden, Dixon fastest in first of 2 IndyCar practices today at Barber Motorsports Park

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Will Power was fastest in Friday’s first of two IndyCar practice sessions at Barber Motorsports Park.

Power covered the 2.3-mile permanent road course in 1:07.5987 minutes at 122.488 mph in the 45-minute practice session.

Even though he spun off the course during his session, Phoenix winner Josef Newgarden still managed to be second-fastest (121.919 mph at 1:07.9141 minutes), followed by Scott Dixon (121.296 mph/1:082627), Max Chilton (121.251 mph/1:08.2882) and Ed Jones (121.215 mph/1:09.5692).

 

Sixth through 10th were Simon Pagenaud (121.208 mph/1:08.3122), Jordan King (121.113 mph/1:083661), Graham Rahal (121.059 mph/1:08.3964), St. Petersburg winner Sebastien Bourdais (121.029 mph/1:08.4131) and rookie Zach Veach (121.014 mph/1:08.4216).

Here’s the full speed chart:

Incidents:

* Early in the session, Long Beach winner Alexander Rossi ran off the track and into the grass, striking a small sign, but was able to get back on-track. However, Rossi was only able to complete 10 laps, relegating him to 20th-fastest in the 23-car field.

* Moments later, it appeared the rear brakes locked up on Newgarden heading into Turn 5, spinning him into the gravel trap. He was able to get going and returned to the pits for service and was back on-track with less than four minutes remaining in the session.

ALSO OF NOTE:

* The second practice session of the day will begin at 3:50 p.m. ET. A third practice will take part Saturday morning at 10:50 a.m. ET, followed by qualifying beginning at 4:05 p.m. ET. The race, to be televised live Sunday on NBCSN, is slated to start at 3:30 p.m. ET.

* However, weather forecast does not look promising for Sunday’s race. As of 1 p.m. ET today, the forecast calls for 100 percent rain throughout the day.

* Dixon has had an incredible record at Barber Motorsports Park, with seven podium finishes in eight starts there. Except for one thing: he has yet to win a race there. But he does have five runner-up and two other third-place showings on the permanent road course.

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