Rosberg closes out practice quickest at Silverstone


Nico Rosberg has continued his good form at the British Grand Prix by finishing quickest in the final free practice session at Silverstone on Friday. The German driver edged out teammate Lewis Hamilton in the final runs, optimizing the pace of the W04 on the option tire.

The drab conditions on Friday had been replaced by bright sunshine and a cool breeze for the beginning of FP3, and the majority of drivers went out on the hard compound tire at the start of the session. Kimi Raikkonen posted the first benchmark time of 1:34.367, but this was soon beaten by Valtteri Bottas, Felipe Massa and Sergio Perez. However, the Mexican driver’s session came to a rather abrupt stop after his tire failed on the exit of Copse, causing severe damage to the underside of his MP4-28 and warranting a red flag. When the session did resume, hard tires were still the order of the day as Daniel Ricciardo and Paul di Resta once again ran strongly in P2 and P3, but Nico Rosberg and Sebastian Vettel seemed to struggle down in P19 and P20.

With around half of the session complete, Lewis Hamilton gave his home fans something to shout about by going P1 for Mercedes, with Rosberg joining him at the head of the field in P2. Felipe Massa was the first medium runner, but the Ferrari driver could not exercise the advantage though, only going 7th with his first flying lap whilst his teammate, Fernando Alonso, moved into P4 on the hard tire.

The low levels of grip were evident with Alonso, Vettel, di Resta and Maldonado all made mistakes. Meanwhile, Hamilton and Webber became embroiled in a battle for P1, trading fastest times with just over fifteen minutes of the session to run. They, like the rest of the field, duly opted to pit in order to complete a qualifying simulation run on the softer medium tire in the final few minutes of the session. A surprise returnee was Sergio Perez, with the floor on his McLaren fixed and a fresh set of option tires fitted, only to spin his McLaren on the entry to the Hangar Straight. Further forward, Vettel began to show his pace to move into P3, but it was Rosberg who posted the fastest time on his final lap to go P1 just ahead of teammate Hamilton.

Once again, Mercedes look imperious over a single lap, but Rosberg’s long-run pace in practice still causes question over the prospect of a Silver Arrow winning the race on Sunday.

NHRA Gatornationals: John Force has another spectacular motor explosion

Photo courtesy NHRA
Leave a comment

Legendary NHRA Funny Car driver John Force endured yet another spectacular motor explosion – his third in the NHRA’s first three national event races – during Friday’s qualifying at the Amalie Motor Oil Gatornationals in Gainesville, Florida.

It’s the kind of consistency the 16-time NHRA Funny Car champ could do without.

The 68-year-old Force came to Gainesville hoping to break the jinx that saw him endure explosions in both the season-opening Winternationals and the second race of the season in Phoenix.

Both motor explosions sent Force to the hospital for examination before he returned to the race track.

Friday, even though the motor in his Chevrolet Camaro blew up again (in the second round of qualifying), at least this time, Force didn’t wind up in the hospital.

He did have his right hand bandaged from a cut suffered in the explosion, but did not have to go to the hospital this time.

He even joked about not having to add yet another ambulance bill to the nearest Gainesville hospital.

But the explosion still proved costly.

“That was another body and that hurts the financial (bottomline),” Force said. “I was out $500,000 to $600,000, and now we are probably out $800,000, going on a million. In drag racing, you have to be tough.”

He ended the day qualifying 14th, not a very comfortable position with two more rounds of qualifying set for Saturday.

Force continues to be mystified why the motors keep exploding.

“I really thought we had it, I thought we were there,” Force said. “In the first round we drove it 500 feet and shut it off. It looked great. We ran it again that run and I was only going to drive it 800 feet even if we didn’t make The Show.”

Force will attempt to improve his qualifying spot during Saturday’s final two rounds to make Sunday’s eliminations.

Follow @JerryBonkowski