Red Bull drivers pleased with Friday performance

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Daniel Ricciardo and Sebastian Vettel have both come away happy on Friday at Hockenheim after securing some solid top ten results during the first two practice sessions today.

In the first 90-minute session on Friday morning, Ricciardo and Vettel finished in fourth and sixth place respectively before going on to finish third and eighth in FP2, with Ricciardo leading once again.

The Australian’s time during the second session was only one-tenth of a second shy of that of Lewis Hamilton in the lead Mercedes, and he feels that Red Bull might be a bit closer to the leaders in Germany this weekend.

“I think tires and weather will define the race on Sunday,” Ricciardo said. “Today we were happy with our progress and it seems to be one of the closer gaps for a while, but it’s tomorrow when we’ll see how close we really are.

“I think we had a good car today and we extracted pretty much everything we could out of the practice today. Hopefully we can have more of a fight with the leaders this weekend.”

Vettel was also pleased with his performance on Friday, and did not feel too much of a difference when running without the now-banned FRIC suspension device.

“I think we can improve from there for tomorrow,” the German driver said. “I don’t think not having the FRIC suspension on the car made too much difference to us today, although I haven’t had a proper look at the other cars yet.

“I think it will be fairly close between the cars this weekend. It’s nice to be on track here near to where I grew up and I’m looking forward to the rest of the weekend.”

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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