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Paffett makes F1 return with Williams, three years after last test

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Gary Paffett enjoyed his first Formula 1 test in over three-and-a-half years on Wednesday in Barcelona, turning in laps for Williams in its FW40 car.

Paffett, 36, has enjoyed a long-running relationship with Mercedes that saw him enjoy extensive test running between 2006 and 2013 with McLaren, its former customer team.

Paffett’s development role with McLaren ended upon its switch to Honda power for 2015, with the Briton focusing on his race duties in DTM with Mercedes.

After making his last public F1 test appearance with McLaren at Silverstone in July 2013, Paffett was back in action on Wednesday in Bahrain with Williams, contributing to its young driver running allocation (‘young’ being defined by any driver with less than three race starts).

Paffett enjoyed a trouble-free day, turning in 126 laps en route to eighth place in the final standings.

“It’s been a while since I’ve done a full test in a Formula 1 car! It’s really good to be back in the car, really good,” Paffett said.

“The cars this year with the increased downforce, and more grip in the tires, are really nice to drive. We’ve had a really good day.

“We’ve done a lot of laps, which is really good, and we got all of our testing done. That’s the purpose really, to get all the testing done, and then for me to go back and validate the simulator.

“So overall it was really nice to drive the car and I’m very happy with how the day went.”

Paffett may be due to appear for Williams once again in Hungary later this year at the second in-season test, given the British team currently has no junior drivers on its books.

Rossi discharged from hospital after motorcross accident

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MotoGP star Valentino Rossi has been discharged from hospital after suffering injuries in a motorcross accident earlier this week.

Nine-time motorcycling world champion Rossi was diagnosed with “mild thoracic and abdominal trauma” after the accident on Thursday morning, resulting in his admission to the Ospedale Infermi in Rimini, Italy.

The hospital noted in a statement that there were “no fractures detected in any part of the body and no serious traumatic pathologies”, with Rossi recovering overnight with pain relief.

On Friday, a further statement was issued confirming that Rossi had been discharged from hospital.

“Valentino Rossi has returned home from the Ospedale Infermi in Rimini, having successfully completed routine diagnostic tests that were scheduled earlier on Friday,” the statement reads.

“With the attending doctors confirming the findings shared in this morning‘s medical bulletin, the nine-time World Champion left the hospital at 5.30pm, accompanied by his staff.

“He will now continue the recovery process at home.”

The Yamaha rider’s next racing engagement comes next weekend with the Italian Grand Prix at Mugello.

Recapping the proper Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel rivalry (VIDEO)

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Lewis Hamilton and Sebastien Vettel are the two most decorated drivers currently on the Formula 1 grid, with seven World Championships between them (four for Vettel, and three for Hamilton).

However, their paths have rarely crossed on the track, and only in 2010 did both drivers battle each for a World Championship in the same year. They also battled Fernando Alonso and Mark Webber that year, with Vettel emerging on top to claim his first World Championship.

However, the 2017 season sees Hamilton and Vettel in the two best cars on the grid, and they have gone head-to-head multiple times already this year, with each claiming two victories through the first five races. Currently, Vettel leads Hamilton 104-98 in the world championship, and the two men are developing a strong on-track rivalry.

Monaco Grand Prix coverage continues with FP3 and qualifying on Saturday. Full times are linked here.

 

Take a look behind the scenes of Fernando Alonso’s Indy 500 qualifying runs (VIDEO)

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In Friday’s NASCAR AMERICA Motorsports Special on NBCSN, we take you behind the scenes during F1 superstar Fernando Alonso’s qualifying runs for the Indy 500, including when he was on the pole for a brief period. He’ll eventually start fifth. 

Simulator ride tells what Fernando Alonso can expect in Indianapolis 500 (VIDEO)

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On Friday’s NASCAR AMERICA Motorsports Special on NBCSN, Parker Kligerman and his backseat driver, Kyle Petty, took to the iRacing simulator to make a mock run around Indianapolis Motor Speedway in preparation for Sunday’s Indianapolis 500.

They look at the challenges of IMS, as well as the challenges two-time Formula One champion Fernando Alonso will face in the first oval track race in his illustrious career. Alonso is among the favorites in the race and will take the green flag from the middle of Row 2 (fifth position).

Check out the above video.