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Bottas edges Massa to lead second day of F1 test in Barcelona

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Valtteri Bottas edged out former Williams teammate Felipe Massa to lead day two of Formula 1’s second pre-season test in Barcelona.

Bottas posted the quickest overall time during the first week of running at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, but was able to go faster still on Wednesday as times edged towards the circuit’s lap record.

Bottas recorded a best lap of 1:19.310 on the super-soft tire to finish one-tenth of a second clear of Massa at the top of the timesheets, having spent the morning behind the wheel of the Mercedes W08 car.

Teammate Lewis Hamilton took over in the afternoon and focused on long runs, ending up sixth overall in the final classification.

Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen wound up third, but was forced to cut his day short after crashing at Turn 3 in the afternoon, denting the Scuderia’s erstwhile-impressive run of reliability through pre-season.

Max Verstappen was fourth for Red Bull, but he too hit trouble in the afternoon, his RB13 car stopping out on-track with around 15 minutes left in the day.

Williams rookie Lance Stroll returned to the cockpit after a tough first week that saw him crash a number of times, and had a trouble-free day en route to fifth place overall. Nico Hulkenberg followed behind Hamilton in P7, with Sergio Perez eighth for Force India.

Romain Grosjean completed close to 100 laps for Haas, finishing the day ninth in the timesheets ahead of Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz Jr. Pascal Wehrlein and Marcus Ericsson split running for Sauber once again, finishing 11th and 13th respectively, with McLaren’s Fernando Alonso squeezing between the two. Jolyon Palmer propped up the timesheets for Renault in 14th.

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.