Niki Lauda reunited with 1976 Ferrari 312T2 in Austria


As part of the support programme for this weekend’s Austrian Grand Prix, some of the nation’s Formula 1 legends have been reunited with their old cars for a special Hall of Fame parade.

Most notably, three-time world champion Niki Lauda will be driving his Ferrari 312T2 car from the 1976 Formula 1 season, in which he fought back from a devastating crash and life-threatening at the German Grand Prix to finish second in the championship behind James Hunt. The story was most recently detailed in Ron Howard’s film Rush, which came out last year.

Gerhard Berger will also be taking part in the hall of fame race, running in his Ferrari 88C which he took to third place in the 1988 world championship.

Lauda and Berger will be joined out on track by a number of other former Austrian F1 drivers, including Helmut Marko, who is now an advisor at Red Bull. He will be getting behind the wheel of a 1972 BRM. From more recent years, Christian Klien will be driving his 2005 Red Bull RB1, Patrick Friesacher is in the Minardi from the same year, and Alex Wurz will be in the 1998 Benetton car.

After the hype of Rush last year, seeing Lauda behind the wheel of his car from that year is certainly going to bring back some good memories of the 1970s, and it is a great way to build up for the Austrian Grand Prix later today.

Ferrari teammates Vettel and Raikkonen fastest in rainy final practice at Australian GP

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MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Ferrari drivers Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen went one-two in the final practice session ahead of qualifying at the water-logged Australian Grand Prix on Saturday.

Vettel set a best-lap time of 1 minute, 26.067 seconds, more than 2.4 seconds faster than his teammate in second.

Both Ferrari drivers switched from their intermediate tires to the super-fast, ultra-soft tires for the final few laps of the session, testing conditions on the track after a day-long downpour left it slick and filled with small puddles.

Mercedes drivers Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton did not opt to try out their soft tires, sticking to the intermediates for the entire session. They had the seventh- and eighth-fastest times, after topping the leaderboard in practice in dry conditions on Friday.

The heavy rains subsided by early afternoon, allowing the track to rapidly dry during the third practice session and making conditions safe for drivers to test their soft tires.

Still, only a few drivers completed a timed lap with the softer compounds, with Mercedes, Red Bull and most of the others staying with their intermediates.

Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson had the third-fastest time of the session on ultrasoft tires, followed by Red Bull’s Max Verstappen on intermediates.

Hamilton remains the favorite to capture his fifth straight pole position at the Australian Grand Prix in qualifying later Saturday. He had the fastest laps on ultrasoft tires in the two practice sessions on Friday, though Verstappen was right behind him.

Verstappen and Vettel both slid on the slick track early in the third practice session, but maintained control and completed their runs without incident.

Verstappen’s teammate, Daniel Ricciardo, had the sixth-fastest time of the session. The Australian’s chances of winning his fifth career Grand Prix on his home track in Melbourne took a hit late Friday when he was assessed a three-place grid penalty for Sunday’s race.

The Australian driver was penalized for driving too fast under red-flag conditions during Friday’s second practice session because of debris on the track.