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Bottas doubles up on Friday, tops second British GP practice

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Valtteri Bottas completed a Friday double by topping the second Formula 1 practice session ahead of the British Grand Prix for Mercedes, edging out teammate Lewis Hamilton at the head of the field.

Bottas led the way in first practice on Friday morning at Silverstone, finishing less than one-tenth of a second clear of Hamilton, and pulled the same feat in the afternoon session.

A best lap of 1:28.496 on the super-soft tire saw Bottas finish just 0.047 seconds clear of Hamilton at the top of the timesheets as Mercedes once again stamped its authority on proceedings with a one-two finish.

After a quiet first practice, Ferrari managed to bounce back in FP2 as Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel finished third and fourth respectively, lapping within half a second of Bottas at the front.

Max Verstappen took fifth for Red Bull, six-tenths of a second back from the leader, while teammate Daniel Ricciardo took P6, albeit a further four-tenths behind.

Nico Hulkenberg put in a solid display for Renault to take seventh overall, finishing almost a second clear of Jolyon Palmer in the sister car down in P18, as Felipe Massa put Williams’ updates to good use en route to P8 despite suffering a spin at Chapel.

Fernando Alonso once again led McLaren into the top 10 with its upgraded Spec 3 Honda power unit, finishing ninth overall. Esteban Ocon completed the front end of the order in P10 for Force India.

Times are below. See a re-air of the FP2 session at 2 p.m. ET on NBCSN, with FP3 coming up at 5 a.m. ET Saturday morning online.

Usain Bolt, Bill Clinton among headline guests for USGP at COTA

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The Circuit of The Americas paddock ahead of the United States Grand Prix may have been busy with teams and drivers preparing for lights out, but much of the attention lay with a number of headline guests including former presidents and Olympic champions.

As part of its plans to up the excitement levels ahead of Sunday’s grand prix and mirror other sporting events, F1’s new owner, Liberty Media, announced plans a couple of weeks ago to link up with iconic boxing announcer Michael Buffer and eight-time Olympic gold medallist Usain Bolt for the pre-race festivities.

Ahead of today’s race in Austin, Buffer will introduce the drivers in a number of groups before offering the call for drivers to start their engines, similar to the pre-race procedure for the Indianapolis 500.

Honorary race starter Bolt, who competed in his last athletic world championship event in London earlier this year, will appear on the start line to complete his signature victory pose before waving the green flags to launch the formation lap.

Bolt was also treated to a hot lap around COTA by Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton before the start of the formal pre-race build up program in Austin.

Liberty issued a list of celebrities and other public figures who are confirmed to be attending today’s race, including Verizon IndyCar Series champion Josef Newgarden and actor Owen Wilson among others.

One name that wasn’t on the list? 42nd President of the United States, Bill Clinton, who quickly became a focus for the paddock upon arrival three hours before lights out.

The United States Grand Prix is live on NBC and NBC Sports app from 2pm ET today.