Button says his future is with McLaren

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Jenson Button dismissed rumors he could leave McLaren at the end of the year and said he had only been “winding up” McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh by pointing out his contract for next year remained unsigned.

“That was very unfair of me, but I was just stating a fact,” Button told the BBC. “I’ll be here for my future in Formula One.”

McLaren have had a poor start to the season and are yet to finish on the podium so far this year. But Button said the setback won’t jeopardize his future with the team.

“It’s obviously not going our way at the moment, but it will and I’m very happy here,” he said. “I still feel we can achieve so much together.”

Martin Whitmarsh raised questions over McLaren’s future driver line-up when he publicly praised Kimi Raikkonen and admitted there were talks last year about Raikkonen returning to his former team.

Button joined McLaren in 2010 after winning the drivers’ championship for Brawn the year before. He finished runner-up to Sebastian Vettel in the 2011 season and has won eight races for McLaren so far.

However he is yet to finish higher than fifth in the problematic MP4-28 so far this year.

F1 Paddock Pass: Hungarian GP Friday Edition (VIDEO)

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Daniel Ricciardo led both Friday practice sessions for this weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix, a rare double Red Bull Racing sweep of the top of the charts.

Ricciardo’s practice pace was separate from the other off-track items of the day with the FIA team member press conference also taking place on Friday.

Those talking today included Mattia Binotto (Ferrari), Mario Isola (Pirelli), Frederic Vasseur (Sauber), Nick Chester (Renault), Paddy Lowe (Williams) and Paul Monaghan (Red Bull).

The Friday edition of the NBC Sports Group original digital series Paddock Pass is now live below. In case you missed Thursday’s or want to see it again, it is linked here.

Hunter-Reay tops fractured second practice at Mid-Ohio

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LEXINGTON, Ohio – Ryan Hunter-Reay paced a rather stop-start second 45-minute practice session for the Verizon IndyCar Series’ Honda Indy 200 (Sunday, 3 p.m. ET, CNBC).

The driver of the No. 28 DHL Honda from Andretti Autosport posted a best time of 1:04.2961 around the 2.258-mile Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

Drivers and teams couldn’t really get in much of a rhythm as a brief spritz interrupted running during the session. There were no red flags during the session.

Josef Newgarden was second ahead of Scott Dixon, Simon Pagenaud and Alexander Rossi. It makes for a variety-laden top-five with three teams (Andretti, Team Penske, Chip Ganassi Racing) with both manufacturers (three Hondas, two Chevrolets) in the top five.

No one had any issues on-track during the session other than Will Power running on-and-off at the Keyhole, Turn 2.

Times are below.

Hamilton: ‘Super-tight’ between Mercedes, Ferrari, Red Bull in Hungary

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Lewis Hamilton is braced for a tough fight in his bid for a sixth Formula 1 victory in Hungary after Mercedes, Red Bull and Ferrari ended Friday’s practice running evenly-matched for pace.

Daniel Ricciardo led Red Bull to the top of the timesheets in both FP1 and FP2, but with just half a second separating the top six drivers in the second session, there is still plenty to play for at the Hungaroring.

Hamilton wound up fifth in FP2, but feels there is still the pace in the Mercedes W08 car to bounce back on Saturday and continue his stunning Hungaroring record.

“It wasn’t the easiest start to the weekend, with the conditions very gusty. We end the day in fifth but there’s clearly good pace in the car,” Hamilton said.

“It’s super tight between Ferrari, Red Bull and ourselves at the top of the leaderboard, so it’s looking like it will be an exciting weekend. That should be good for the fans.

“There’s some more work to do overnight to fine-tune the balance to get the car just where we want it and I believe the pace is in there.

“We just need to unlock it ahead of qualifying because every tenth is going to be crucial with three teams in the mix.”

Mid-Ohio returns to IMSA schedule in May 2018

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LEXINGTON, Ohio – The Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course will make its return to the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship calendar in 2018, marking the first time Mid-Ohio has been part of an IMSA calendar since the 2014 merger that brought together the GRAND-AM Rolex Series and American Le Mans Series.

Mid-Ohio’s return to the calendar will occur in May 4-6, 2018, and will serve as the venerable Lexington, Ohio permanent road course’s kickoff to its new season.

It’s been since 2013 when GRAND-AM last competed there and 2012 when ALMS did, and from 2007 through 2012 ALMS was always on the same weekend as the Verizon IndyCar Series raced at the track.

More to follow…