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Hamilton takes confidence from strong long-run pace in Mexico

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Lewis Hamilton is heading into the remainder of the Mexican Grand Prix weekend full of confidence after enjoying a strong and consistent long-run during second Formula 1 practice on Friday as he closes in on the drivers’ title.

Hamilton needs only a top-five finish in this weekend’s race at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez to wrap up his fourth F1 drivers’ championship, but was a front-runner throughout Friday, taking second place in both FP1 and FP2.

Despite trailing Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo in second practice, Hamilton is pleased with how his day unfolded despite a big spin, taking particular confidence from his pace over the long runs in preparation for Sunday’s race.

“It’s been a good day today,” Hamilton said. “It didn’t really start out great, particularly in the second session with the big spin on my first lap. That really threw off the session and obviously made it a little bit tricky to get the run on the super-soft.

“So I put myself on the back foot. But the single lap and then the long run on the ultra-soft was probably one of the best I’ve ever done. I don’t think I’ve ever done 26 laps that consistent, apart from in the race maybe.

“We got lots of information, the track was feeling better in the second session once the temperature came up. It was great to see all the fans buzzing already today, in the paddock but also in the big grandstands.

“So overall a good day.”

Teammate Valtteri Bottas led the pack through FP1 before fading to sixth place in the afternoon session, but was nevertheless pleased with how his day went.

“First practice was good, I really enjoyed it. It is such a fun circuit to drive because it has quite a low grip, so it is definitely challenging,” Bottas said.

“We made some set-up changes for FP2 which went in the wrong direction. So in the end of the session we went back to the original set-up.

“For some reason I also struggled to get the tires to work in the second session. That’s why it didn’t look as good as the first one.

“But I think it was a positive day overall, I’m looking forward to qualifying.”

Get your motor running: American Flat Track’s new season premieres Sunday on NBCSN

Photos courtesy American Flat Track
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If you like racing two-wheel style, make sure you catch the debut of a new multi-year TV broadcast deal featuring the American Flat Track motorcycle racing series on NBCSN.

The 18-round series debuts this Sunday at 2 p.m. ET on NBCSN with the season-opening race that was held at Daytona International Speedway on March 15.

Going forward, all 18 rounds of the series will be televised on NBCSN in highly-coveted weekend afternoon programming slots without two weeks of each event.

Last season, AFT drew nearly two million viewers on NBCSN with regular primetime coverage on Thursday nights.

This season, the one-hour, tape-delayed telecasts will be part of NBCSN’s regular weekend programing, following or preceding coverage of NASCAR, INDYCAR and Pro Motocross.

AFT is now in its 65th season, with two distinct classes: powerful, twin-cylinder rides in the AFT Twins presented by Vance & Hines division, and the competition in the 450cc AFT Singles division.

“We are very excited to kick-off our second season of AFT on NBCSN,” NBC Sports Group Senior Director of Programming Jeff Macaluso. “The 2017 season provided us with some incredible racing and showed us how passionate the riders and fans are of this historic sport.

“The move to weekends this year, around other marquis motorsports properties, is sure to raise the level even higher.”

Here’s the 2018 AFT schedule on NBCSN:

Round Track, Location Track Type Premiere Time (ET) Time (PT)
1 Daytona International Speedway, Daytona Beach, FL TT Sun, 3/25 2:00 PM 11:00 AM
2 Dixie Speedway, Woodstock, GA Short Track Sat, 4/14 5:30 PM 2:30 PM
3 Texas Motor Speedway, Fort Worth, TX Half-Mile Sun, 5/06 4:00 PM 1:00 PM
4 Calistoga Speedway, Calistoga, CA Half-Mile Sun, 5/20 12:00 PM 9:00 AM
5 Turf Paradise, Phoenix, AZ Mile Sat, 5/26 3:00 PM 12:00 PM
6 Cal Expo, Sacramento, CA Mile Sun, 6/03 2:00 PM 11:00 AM
7 Illinois State Fairgrounds, Springfield, IL Mile Sat, 6/09 5:00 PM 2:00 PM
8 Red Mile, Lexington, KY Mile Sat, 6/16 12:00 PM 9:00 AM
9 Remington Park, Oklahoma City, OK Mile Sat, 6/23 5:00 PM 2:00 PM
10 Allen County Fairgrounds, Lima, OH Half-Mile Sat, 7/07 2:30 PM 11:30 AM
11 Weedsport Speedway, Weedsport, NY Short Track Sun, 7/15 6:00 PM 3:00 PM
12 Buffalo Chip Campgrounds, Sturgis, SD TT Sat, 8/11 12:30 PM 9:30 AM
13 Black Hills Speedway, Rapid City, SD Half-Mile Sat, 8/18 2:00 PM 11:00 AM
14 Peoria Motorcycle Club, Peoria, IL TT Sat, 9/01 3:00 PM 12:00 PM
15 Illinois State Fairgrounds, Springfield, IL Mile Sat, 9/22 2:30 PM 11:30 AM
16 Williams Grove Speedway, Mechanicsburg, PA Half-Mile Sun, 9/23 5:00 PM 2:00 PM
17 Canterbury Park, Shakopee, MN Mile Sun, 10/14 5:00 PM 2:00 PM
18 Meadowlands Racetrack, East Rutherford, NJ Mile Sun, 10/21 2:00 PM 11:00 AM


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