Rosberg quickest in wet first practice for Brazilian GP

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Nico Rosberg has finished quickest in the first practice session for the Brazilian Grand Prix after making the best of the wet conditions at Interlagos to head up a Mercedes one-two as Lewis Hamilton finished in second place, four-tenths down on his teammate.

Rosberg posted a fastest lap of 1:24.781 on the intermediate tire early on as rain prevented Pirelli from testing its prototype dry compound for next season as planned. The weather it did catch out many of the drivers including the German driver who took a trip through the run-off area at the first corner. Jenson Button followed suit, whilst Lewis Hamilton, Romain Grosjean and Esteban Gutierrez also spun, but all were able to continue. Daniil Kvyat, James Calado and Rodolfo Gonzalez all deputized for a full-time driver in FP1, and Russian youngster Kvyat was impressive in the wet as he finished the session in eighth place and over half a second ahead of his 2014 teammate, Jean-Eric Vergne.

Halfway through the session, world champion Sebastian Vettel tentatively went out on slick tires, only to find that conditions had in fact worsened, meaning that any improvements were unlikely. The German driver was forced to settle for third place on Friday morning as he goes in search of a record-equalling ninth consecutive win, and even he made a rare mistake at turn twelve.

As the rain grew heavier, the times remained unchanged through the second half of the session, meaning that Rosberg finished fastest ahead of Hamilton and Vettel.

With rain forecast for the rest of the weekend, this result bodes well for Mercedes. However, judging by the number of drivers who were caught out by the damp conditions, it could be a question of keeping out of trouble and staying on track.

Santino Ferrucci will drive No. 14 for AJ Foyt Racing full time in 2023 IndyCar season

Santino Ferrucci AJ Foyt
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Santino Ferrucci will return to full-time racing in the NTT IndyCar Series next season, joining AJ Foyt Racing.

Ferrucci had made eight IndyCar starts with three teams since his last full-time season in 2020 while also racing part time in the NASCAR Xfinity Series this year.

He will drive the storied No. 14 Dallara-Chevrolet for four-time Indy 500 winner A.J. Foyt’s team, which will field the car from its Waller, Texas headquarters.

“It’s incredibly exciting to be back in the INDYCAR Series full time,” Ferrucci said in a team release. “Being a part-time driver over the last two years has been hard for me, personally. I’m a race car driver, and I want to compete. Working with different teams has been exciting, and I’m proud that no matter which car I’ve raced, I’ve always shown speed and consistency. I couldn’t be more excited to join AJ Foyt Racing in the 14 Chevy. I can’t wait to make the best of it.”

Ferrucci, 24, had finished a career-best fourth in IndyCar four times, including the 104th Indy 500 in 2020. He was the 2019 Indy 500 rookie of the year with a sixth.

In nine Xfinity starts since 2021, Ferrucci has a career-best finish of 13th at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

“I am thrilled to welcome Santino to the team,” Larry Foyt said in a release. “He’s shown a knack for getting toward the front of the field, and I think he is a racer who moves forward on race day. A.J. sees the fire in him and has enjoyed their meetings together. I think Santino’s experience will help his rookie teammate as well, so he is a great addition to our roster.”

Ferrucci will be teamed at AJ Foyt Racing with Benjamin Pedersen, who finished fifth in the 2022 Indy Lights standings. The team has yet to specify the number for Pedersen’s entry, which will be fielded out of its Indianapolis race shop.

Foyt’s two full-time drivers last season were Dalton Kellett and Kyle Kirkwood, who is moving to Andretti Autosport.