Hamilton: A day of two halves in Melbourne (VIDEO)

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Lewis Hamilton has called his Friday in Melbourne “a day of two halves” after suffering a failure on his Mercedes car during the first free practice session, before bouncing back to finish as the quickest driver in FP2 in the evening.

The British driver posted a fastest time of 1:29.625 to finish at the top of the timesheets in the second session on Friday at Albert Park, just 0.157s ahead of teammate Nico Rosberg as Mercedes dominated proceedings at the end of the day after a troublesome morning.

“It really was a day of two halves today,” Hamilton explained. “While it was disappointing to not get any track time this morning, these little hiccups are going to happen with the new cars and we’ll have to get used to that. It felt like I was on the back foot from there but then we got up to pace quite quickly in P2 and found the balance relatively fast.”

Despite losing almost 90 minutes of track time in the morning, Hamilton still feels comfortable with the W05 car and is hopeful of continuing his good form from FP2 in Saturday’s final practice session and qualifying. The latter is live on NBCSN and Live Extra from 2am ET.

“I feel quite comfortable in the car so overall it’s a positive start but we need to look at the data now and understand where we are,” he said. “We got a nice foundation for the weekend in the second session today so hopefully we can build on that in P3 tomorrow afternoon and then see where we are in qualifying.”

Hamilton has been made the pre-season favorite by many F1 pundits after the Mercedes W05 car appeared to have an edge over the rest of the field throughout testing. Judging by the result in FP2, the Silver Arrows have lost none of their advantage since the final test in Bahrain, but with Red Bull looking resurgent, and Ferrari and Williams lurking in the shadows, Hamilton and co. may not have it all their own way on Sunday.

NEOM McLaren Formula E announces Jake Hughes will join Rene Rast for 2023 season

McLaren Formula E Hughes
McLaren Racing
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Doubling down on their commitment to electric auto sports, McLaren Racing announced Jake Hughes will join Rene Rast to compete in the 2023 Formula E Series (FE), which completes their driver lineup.

The NEOM McLaren FE team was formed by the acquisition of the Mercedes-EQ Formula E team that won the 2021 and 2022 championships with Stoffel Vandoorne and Nyck de Vries behind the wheel.

“Today’s announcement feels like a long time coming,” said Ian James, managing director of NEOM McLaren Electric Racing in a release. “Since May this year, when we first announced McLaren Racing’s entry into Formula E, we have been working tirelessly to get in place the best possible team and structure for sustainable success.

“On the one hand, we have been working on the retention of the amazing talent that already was in place before going into the transitional phase. I’m proud to say I think we’ve done a great job on that front.

“On the other hand, we have been focusing on putting in place new processes and new talent – and the latter includes the drivers.”

The driver lineup clasps the two hands together.

Hughes brings 10 years racing experience in single seater cars, including a role with the acquired Mercedes-EQ team as a reserve and development driver for the past two seasons. He is the 2013 BRDC Formula 4 champion and has multiple wins in Formula 2, including two in 2020.

Announced in August, Rast joins the team after earning two podium finishes and six top-fives in 22 career Formula E starts for Audi Sport ABT before returning to the DTM Series last year. Rast’s best finish in Formula E came in the Puebla E Prix when he finished second to teammate Lucas di Grassi by less than a half second.

McLaren’s commitment to Formula E comes one year after they entered the Extreme E rally series in 2022 with Tanner Foust and Emma Gilmour in the driver lineup. After a modest start to the season, the McLaren XE drivers crossed the finish line first in Round 4 in Chile, but were assessed a time penalty that dropped them to fifth. Last week in the season finale in Uruguay, they held onto a hard-earned second place finish.