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Nico Rosberg joins Robert Kubica’s management team

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2016 Formula 1 world champion Nico Rosberg has joined Robert Kubica’s management team in a bid to aid the Pole’s return to top-line racing in the near future.

Rosberg raced in F1 between 2006 and 2016, winning the world title last November in Abu Dhabi before announcing his shock retirement from racing just five days later.

Rosberg has since acted as a Mercedes ambassador, as well as spending time with his young family, exploring new interests in tech start-ups, and even considering a study course at Stanford University.

Since suffering severe injuries to his right arm that appeared to end his F1 career in 2011, Kubica has stepped up his comeback bid, leading to an appearance in a 2017-spec Renault at the collective test following the Hungarian Grand Prix.

Kubica was thought to be a candidate for a race seat at Renault in 2018, only for the team to retain some uncertainty over his fitness and readiness to return, eventually opting to sign Carlos Sainz Jr. on loan from Toro Rosso.

Kubica is reported to be exploring alternative options both inside and outside of F1, and now has Rosberg on his team to help define his future racing plans.

Following the emergence of reports about his involvement in the German press, Rosberg confirmed he was working with Kubica on Twitter, sharing a picture of them together alongside Lewis Hamilton from their time in karting.

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.