Herta led Indy Lights testing. Photo: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC Photography

MRTI: Testing results from Homestead-Miami Speedway

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This week’s Mazda Road to Indy presented by Cooper Tires Spring Training test is in the books. Here’s a look through the times across the board.

The Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires series ran on Homestead-Miami’s 1.485-mile oval on Monday and the 2.21-mile, 14-turn road course on Thursday. Meanwhile the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires and Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda ran solely on the road course both of Tuesday and Wednesday.

INDY LIGHTS

Andretti Autosport had two banner days, on both layouts.

Nico Jamin, a Pro Mazda graduate, leading the way in session 2. Note series veterans Kyle Kaiser and Juan Piedrahita did not run the oval, but both of them, plus newly confirmed Pato O’Ward, did test on the road course on Thursday.

Meanwhile on Thursday, Jamin’s teammate Colton Herta in the Andretti Steinbrenner Racing entry led the day of road course testing. It made for an impressive start for the 16-year-old, who turns 17 later this month.

“It’s the best way to finish, especially with St. Pete right around the corner,” Herta said. “It’s important that we’re on top here. We came, and we bossed it, really – the whole team has been super quick. Nico has been right there with me, one-two both days. And we were the quickest no-tow time on the oval last Monday. But today was even more important because this was on the road course, and with St. Pete next week, we set ourselves up well.”

There were 1,514 incident free laps turned on Monday while on Thursday, that number was 1,271 on the road course.

PRO MAZDA

Despite the low car count, there was still good variety atop the timesheets as all three of Team Pelfrey’s drivers – Nikita Lastochkin, Carlos Cunha and TJ Fischer – led a Tuesday session before Cape Motorsports’ Anthony Martin and Fischer led the Wednesday sessions. Martin, the USF2000 champion, led the combined timesheets.

USF2000

Mazda Motorsports Advancement Scholarship driver Oliver Askew, this year’s Team USA Scholarship winner, paced all but one of the sessions in USF2000. Most others were just trying to keep pace.

Hamilton, Red Bull teammates both go to NASA before USGP

Photo: Red Bull Content Pool
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One of the more intriguing United States Grand Prix adventures occurred on Wednesday, as both Lewis Hamilton and the pair of Red Bull Racing teammates, Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen, all went to NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston – in separate sessions – before heading onto Austin.

Hamilton posted on his Instagram story on Wednesday that he’d “quit his day job in a second” to work at NASA and become an astronaut, and the unbridled enthusiasm spoke to the three-time Formula 1 World Champion’s love of different life aspects entirely outside of racing.

“(I) had an incredible day yesterday, having a bit of a comedown today,” Hamilton said today at the FIA Press Conference. “I was just buzzed all day yesterday because it’s always been something I’ve wanted to do. It’s always something I’ve been fascinated about, space and space travel particularly.

“So to actually go there… and I had a million questions. I’m sure the guy got fed up with me. I asked a lot of questions and I got to see a lot of great things, some of the new technology they are working on and yeah, I want to go back.”

The Mercedes AMG Petronas team posted a gallery of Hamilton’s adventure on its website, linked here, and a few samples are below.

As for the Red Bull pair, the young duo of Ricciardo and Verstappen were equally awestruck by the experience.

“There really are a lot of similarities between this and F1, just the technology alone,” Ricciardo said. “I had a guest come to a race last year, when they got into the garage they were like: ‘this is like a space station’. We went to mission control here and it’s really like what we have in the Ops Room in Milton Keynes. Even the safety technology is similar. The astronauts go through the same measurements, a similar kind of HANS device etc. It’s really cool.”

Verstappen added, “There are quite a lot of comparisons, if you really want to talk about it we could go on for an hour! The control center looks pretty similar to ours. We share a lot of the same technology. It was really interesting for us to see that and I bet it would be the same if they could see ours.”

Here’s a link to Red Bull’s gallery and some teaser shots below.