Vettel and Red Bull continue to dominate practice in India

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Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull have continued to dominate practice for the Indian Grand Prix by recording their second one-two finish in as many sessions on Friday with the German driver leading the way once again.

Vettel bounced back from a KERS failure at the beginning of the session to record a fastest time of 1:25.722 which was good enough to see him finish P1 ahead of teammate Mark Webber by just under three-tenths of a second.

Once again, the challenge was left with Lotus and Mercedes to try and stop the defending world champions from heading the field, but Romain Grosjean’s best effort was only good enough to give him third place ahead of Lewis Hamilton. Fernando Alonso returned to proceedings after a gearbox problem in FP1, finishing fifth ahead of Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg, current teammate Felipe Massa and future teammate Kimi Raikkonen. However, the Finn struggled for pace throughout the session, spinning his car early on before complaining about the state of his tires towards the end of FP2. McLaren got both cars into the top ten once again with Sergio Perez finishing ninth ahead of Jenson Button.

The session proved to be a difficult one for Williams as Pastor Maldonado lost a wheel nut heading into the final sector, forcing him to pull over at pit entry and abandon his car. After the team was fined at Suzuka for failing to secure its tires properly, this will certainly be a cause of concern for the FIA who will look into the matter.

At the front though, it seems increasingly likely that Red Bull will be celebrating a third consecutive victory at the Buddh International Circuit this weekend, but Mark Webber’s pace suggests that he could pose a serious challenge to his teammate on Sunday.

Alex Palou fastest as several go off course during IndyCar practice at IMS

IndyCar Harvest GP practice
Jamie Squire/Getty Images
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Alex Palou paced the opening practice Thursday for the IndyCar Harvest GP at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.

The Dale Coyne Racing rookie turned a 1-minute, 10.177-second lap around the 2.439-mile, 14-turn road course in his No. 55 Dallara-Honda.

Jack Harvey was second, followed by Colton Herta, points leader Scott Dixon and Max Chilton.

PRACTICE CHART: Click here to see the speed rundown from Thursday’s session

FRIDAY AT IMS: Details for watching Race 1 of the Harvest GP

Qualifying for Friday’s race will be at 6:20 p.m. ET Thursday on NBC Sports Gold.

Will Power, who won the pole position for the July 4 race at the track, spun off course with just more than a minute left in the session after the left rear of his No. 12 Dallara-Chevrolet made slight contact with the right front of Alexander Rossi’s No. 28 Dallara-Honda.

Power was among several drivers who went off track, but there were no damaged cars during the session. Marcus Ericsson missed the final 5 minutes of the practice after being penalized for causing a red flag with a Turn 8 spin.

Arrow McLaren SP drivers Pato O’Ward and Helio Castroneves, who is driving for Oliver Askew (who is recovering from concussion-like symptoms), also veered off course as did rookie Rinus VeeKay and Santino Ferrucci.

Seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson was in attendance at the session before racing Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway. Johnson will be driving a partial schedule of road and street courses in IndyCar next season for Chip Ganassi Racing.

“Literally, the smallest of details, I can pick up on,” Johnson told NBC Sports pit reporter Kevin Lee. “It’s been really nice today just to see how a session starts and obviously to jump on the radio and listen to how the systems work and then obviously you get into the car and the setup and such. I’m at ground zero right now, a 45-year-old rookie trying to learn my way into a new sport essentially.”

Johnson told Lee his sponsorship hunt to run a Ganassi car “has gone really well. The fact that I’m here today and ingrained so deeply in the team is a great sign of where things are going. Looking forward to getting behind the wheel of a car soon and hopefully having some announcements for the world to see soon, too.”

Fans were in attendance Thursday for the first time this season at IMS, which is allowed a limited crowd of 10,000 for its races this weekend.