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Sergio Perez throws hat into ring for future Indy 500 run

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Following the announcement of Fernando Alonso’s shock entry to the 101st Indianapolis 500 for 2017, fellow Formula 1 driver Sergio Perez has thrown his hat into the ring for a future run at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Alonso confirmed on Wednesday that he would be skipping this year’s Monaco Grand Prix to enter the Indy 500 with McLaren, Honda and Andretti Autosport, giving a boost to this year’s running.

The news has led to a number of his peers expressing an interest in crossing codes and trying out another series, with Lewis Hamilton saying on Thursday that he would like to enter NASCAR’s Daytona 500 one day.

Few have been as receptive as Alonso about the ‘500, but Perez openly said that he wants to enter the famous race one day, most likely when his time in F1 is over.

“I certainly wouldn’t miss Monaco, because Monaco is my favorite weekend on the entire calendar, and normally you have that clash,” Perez said.

“I would like to do some other racing. I certainly have some interest in IndyCar.

“The Indy 500 certainly is one of the best races in the world, so I’d definitely like to do it someday.”

Perez spent his first year in single-seaters racing in America, taking part in the Skip Barber National Championship in 2004 before moving over to Europe and working his way up the ladder to F1.

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.