Felipe Massa heads up final practice in Spain

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Felipe Massa has finished quickest in final practice for the Spanish Grand Prix, edging out former Ferrari teammate Kimi Raikkonen by a very small margin.

Massa, who won the race at the Circuit de Catalunya back in 2007, put in a quick time late on to go fastest, with the rest of the field unable to respond to his lap of 1:21.901. Raikkonen finished just 0.006 seconds behind the Brazilian driver, and Lotus will be delighted with its one-lap pace which has evidently made a step forward since the Bahrain Grand Prix.

Lotus’ good form was underlined by Romain Grosjean, who bounced back from a disappointing showing on Friday to finish 4th between the two Red Bull drivers. Mark Webber, who won the race back in 2010, managed to complete the top three, and he will be delighted to have edged out his teammate, Sebastian Vettel, in 5th. Despite leading mid-way through the session, Fernando Alonso could only finish P6 in front of his home fans.

FP3 saw Force India continue its good form, with Paul di Resta and Adrian Sutil finish 7th and 8th respectively, ahead of Lewis Hamilton for Mercedes. Jean-Eric Vergne completed the top ten for Toro Rosso, ahead of Nico Rosberg; Mercedes do not appear to have the one-lap pace that has seen them claim the last two pole positions this weekend.

For McLaren, Williams and Sauber, it was another quiet session, and all three teams will be keen on making an improvement during qualifying given the work that has gone into the new upgrades. At the back, Caterham and Marussia continued their tight battle, with Charles Pic finishing 0.018 seconds ahead of Jules Bianchi.

Once again, practice has suggested that qualifying will be an incredibly tight affair later today, with Red Bull, Ferrari and Lotus all vying for pole position.

MORE: Watch qualifying and the Bahrain Grand Prix online or on your phone or tablet

MRTI: Lucas Oil Raceway Recap

Photo: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC Photography
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Friday marked Carb Day at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the Verizon IndyCar Series and the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires, but there was also plenty of activity over in Brownsburg, Indiana at Lucas Oil Raceway.

Friday night’s Carb Night Classic featured the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires and Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda in their first oval events of the year: the Freedom 75 (USF2000) and the Freedom 90 (Pro Mazda).

Both races saw the points leaders in their respective series dominate, further asserting their championship prowess, and taking their first oval victories in the process.

Recaps of both races are below.

Pro Mazda: Thompson Holds Off Cunha for First Oval Win

The Freedom 90 saw Parker Thompson appear to be almost on cruise control for much of the race, as the Exclusive Autosport driver immediately jumped into the lead off the initial start and he began rocketing away from the field.

Behind him, a pair of Juncos Racing cars emerged in second and third, with Carlos Cunha ahead of Robert Megennis in that battle.

However, Thompson’s initial lead was wiped out following a Lap 46 crash involving David Malukas and Harrison Scott. The pair had been engaged in an intense battle for fourth, but came together in Turn 4, sending Scott spinning into the outside wall while Malukas eventually came to a stop alongside the front straightaway wall.

Thompson again pulled away when racing resumed on Lap 55, while Cunha immediately gave chase, passing the lapped car of Lodovico Laurini as he tried to keep Thompson in his sights.

Lapped traffic continued to play a key role in the closing stages, with Thompson getting briefly held up behind Nikita Lastochkin and Oliver Askew, allowing Cunha to close onto his gearbox in the final laps.

However, Thompson kept Cunha at bay to take the win, his third of the Pro Mazda season. Megennis drove a solid race to finish third, while Rinus VeeKay put three Juncos cars in the top five by finishing fourth. Team Pelfrey’s Sting Ray Robb finished fifth.

Thompson’s win sees him extend his points lead over VeeKay to 36, with Cunha only two points further back in third.

USF2000: Kirkwood Rolls to Victory in Oval Debut

Kyle Kirkwood was untouchable at Lucas Oil Raceway. Photo: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC Photography

If his first career oval proved a challenge for Cape Motorsports’ Kyle Kirkwood, he certainly did not show it. Starting on the pole, Kirkwood rocketed away into the lead and was never challenged.

Behind him, however, his closest title rival faltered. Alex Baron, who charged from eighth to third on Lap 1, crashed out while working his way around the lapped car of Russ McDonough. Baron was visibly upset and frustrated while walking along the pit lane after climbing out of the No. 29 Swan-RJB Motorsports Tatuus USF-17.

Racing only briefly returned to green on Lap 40 before Zach Holden rode up and over the back of Julian van der Watt, with both cars coming to a stop on the back straightaway.

A restart on Lap 50 again saw Kirkwood pull away, while Kaylen Frederick worked his way up to second around Rasmus Lindh and Lucas Kohl.

The race came to a close only eight laps later – the cautions brought a 30-minute time limit into play, preventing them from completing the originally planned 75-lap race.

In the end, no one got close to Kirkwood, who took a win on his oval debut, his third win of the 2018 season. Frederick came home second for his first podium of the year, and his first with Pabst Racing Services, while Rasmus Lindh rounded out the podium in third. Kohl and Jose Sierra completed the top five in fourth and fifth.

Kirkwood’s win combined with Baron’s crash to give Kirkwood a championship lead of 44 points. Sierra remains third, one point ahead of Igor Fraga.

Both series are back in action for double-headers at Road America on June 23-24.

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