All drivers to get extra tires in Barcelona practice

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Pirelli will allocate an extra set of tires to all the teams in practice for the Spanish Grand Prix.

F1’s official tire supplier is bringing an experimental new hard tire for teams to run on Friday only during the Spanish Grand Prix weekend.

“It’s something we wanted to do to encourage all the teams to run as much as possible right from the start, especially with the rookie drivers, to give fans the spectacle they deserve to see,” said Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery.

Some practice sessions this year have seen limited running due to the limited life of the tires and restriction on number of tires available during a race weekend.

The supply of extra tires will not be limited to those who run a new driver during practice, as had previously been planned to give more testing opportunities to young racers.

Top teams bosses said during the Bahrain Grand Prix weekend they wanted the tires to be available to all teams regardless of whether they gave practice time to non-race drivers.

“It would be difficult to explain to the people that are in the grandstands that Mr X had an extra set of tires to run and Alonso, Hamilton or whatever it is, is not running because that extra set of tires is just for the rookies,” said Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali.

Lewis Hamilton receives Daytona 500 invitation from Bubba Wallace

Lewis Hamilton Bubba Wallace
Rudy Carezzevoli/Getty Images
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Lewis Hamilton is a fan of the new NASCAR Cup Series team formed by Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan to field a car for Bubba Wallace.

Will the six-time Formula One champion also be a fan in person at a NASCAR race in the near future?

Wallace is hoping so.

After Hamilton tweeted his support Tuesday morning about the news of a Hamlin-Jordan-Wallace team making its debut with the 2021 season, Wallace responded with a sly invitation to the Daytona 500.

Much would need to be worked out, starting with how much garage and grandstand access would be afforded for a 2021 season opener that likely would occur during a still ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

But it would seem fitting given that Hamilton and Wallace have been two of the world’s most outspoken Black athletes about the quest for diversity and racial justice. Hamilton recently reaffirmed his commitment to activism after his donning a Breonna Taylor shirt sparked an FIA inquiry. Time just published a brief piece by Wallace saluting Hamilton as a trailblazer.

The idea of Hamilton attending the NASCAR season opener already had legs, too. The Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 driver has expressed a desire to race the Daytona 500 after he has retired from Formula One.

He was a spectator (with racing legend Mario Andretti) at four-time champion Jeff Gordon’s final Cup race as a full-time in the 2015 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. In 2011, Hamilton swapped cars with three-time champion Tony Stewart at Watkins Glen International.

Having rubbed shoulders with other racing greats so often, it would seem right for Hamilton — who is one victory from tying Michael Schumacher’s career record and also could tie the F1 record with a seventh championship this season — to spend some time with the greatest basketball player of all time.

Jeff Gordon was flanked by Mario Andretti and Lewis Hamilton before the 2015 Cup season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway (Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images).