Photo: IndyCar

Scott Dixon leads morning warm-up while Ryan Hunter-Reay crashes

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Scott Dixon put his No. 9 GED Light LED Honda on top of the speed charts in morning warm-up for the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. Dixon’s fastest lap was a 1:01.929 and he was the only driver to break into the 1:01 bracket during the 30-minute session. Helio Castroneves, Simon Pagenaud, Spencer Pigot, and Graham Rahal completed the top five.

However it was an accident for Ryan Hunter-Reay about halfway through the session that was the main story line that emerged coming out of it.

In what has been the scariest moment of the weekend to date, Hunter-Reay speared into the turn 10 tire barriers about 15 minutes into the session. The Andretti Autosport driver reported he suffered a rear brake failure, which sent him straight off at one of the fastest parts of the St. Petersburg street circuit.

“Brake pedal went to the floor. One of the scarier feelings you ever had in a car. Needed every bit of the tires,” he told IndyCar Radio afterward.

Times are below. Coverage of the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg begins at 12:00 p.m. ET.

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.