Hamilton closes out Canadian GP practice fastest

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Lewis Hamilton has finished fastest in the final practice session ahead of qualifying for the Canadian Grand Prix, which is live on NBCSN from 1pm ET today.

The Briton produced a repeat performance from FP2 by finishing in first place, but he was not followed by Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg this time around. The German driver was forced to settle for third place behind a high-flying Felipe Massa in the Williams.

The Circuit Gilles Villeneuve bathed in bright blue skies at the beginning of FP3, giving the drivers and teams the perfect conditions in which to complete their final running ahead of qualifying.

The shorter session meant that the drivers had to get out on track quickly to complete their installation runs, ensuring that all systems on the car are as they should be. Kevin Magnussen was the first to post a lap time, and eventually brought his best effort down to a 1:18.325 before any other driver threatened to topple him.

The session came to an abrupt halt when Esteban Gutierrez span his Sauber at the first chicane. The Mexican driver ended up careering backwards into the wall, bringing out a red flag to help recover the stricken C33. After a terrible start to the season, it will only give the Swiss team another headache to deal with ahead of qualifying later today.

Once the session restarted, the front-runners soon headed out on track to post their first lap times. Sergio Perez was the first to better Magnussen’s lap time before Lewis Hamilton pulled out another seven-tenths over the Force India. Ferrari enjoyed a brief period in the top two positions with Fernando Alonso leading from Kimi Raikkonen, but Hamilton soon redressed the balance by going another half a second quicker.

Williams soon got into the mix as Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas moved up into second and third place respectively, only for Hamilton to widen the gap by half a second yet again despite a nervy moment coming out of the final corner. His teammate, Nico Rosberg, soon found his feet to go just six-hundredths of a second faster. Once again on the harder tire, the advantage clearly lay with Mercedes.

In the final ten minutes, a number of others also looked to complete a final qualifying simulation run ahead of the session later today. Hamilton and Rosberg both ventured out late on, but neither opted to post a time on the super-softs. Felipe Massa was the big mover, jumping up into second place behind Hamilton and ahead of his German teammate. Fernando Alonso finished in fourth place ahead of Daniel Ricciardo and Kimi Raikkonen.

Hamilton’s gap of four-tenths of a second came despite posting his time on the slower set of tires, and the Briton appears to be set to claim his fifth pole position of the season later today. However, Rosberg will be keen to fight back and hold on to his championship lead, setting the stage for a close battle.

You can watch qualifying for the Canadian Grand Prix live on NBCSN from 1pm ET today.

X44 Racing win 2022 Extreme E championship as Abt Cupra score first race victory

2022 Extreme E Uruguay
Extreme E
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Abt Cupra Racing’s Nasser Al-Attiyah and Klara Andersson scored their first win in the Extreme E Energy X Prix in the 2022 finale in Uruguay as Lewis Hamilton’s X44 Vida Carbon Racing drivers Sebastien Loeb and Cristina Gutierrez survived a chaotic finale to edge the 2021 champion Rosberg X Prix team of Johan Kristoffersson and Mikhaela Ahlin-Kottulinsky, by two points.

“There are so many emotions,” Andersson said in Extreme E’s coverage. “I’ve been waiting for this for so long. In my second race, first full weekend to be at the top of the podium: it’s big.”

Andersson was behind the wheel at the finish.

Rosberg Racing entered the event with a 17-point advantage over X44, but the standings were close enough that four teams remained in contention in Round 5.

“It’s a crucial weekend for us,” Loeb said in Extreme E’s coverage prior to the race. “We are not in the best position to win the championship, but the only thing we can do is try to win the race and score as many points as possible.”

The top two title contenders each crashed in qualification and were relegated to the Crazy Race, Extreme E’s version of the Last Chance Qualifier (LCQ). For the moment, they had the steepest hill to climb, but then the other two championship contending teams, Chip Ganassi Racing and Acciona Sainz Racing failed to advance from their heats.

Only one team advances from the Crazy Race, so the X44 drivers were in a must-win situation to simply keep hope alive.

More: Extreme E 2023 schedule

Ahlin-Kottulinsky and Gutierrez ran wheel to wheel into the first turn at the start of the LCQ.

The Rosberg racer experienced crash damage in that turn that damaged her front steering, but managed to limp back to the pits at the end of her two-lap stint. The team attempted to fix the steering, but incurred a penalty for having too many mechanics in the pit area.

Meanwhile, Gutierrez took the early lead, but knew she would need to sit through a five-second penalty for an incident earlier in the weekend. The female half of the gender equal pair erased the penalty by entering the Switch Zone with a five-second lead before turning the car over to Loeb.

That was all the nine-time World Rally Championship titlist needed to give him the advantage needed to win the Crazy Race.

But the championship was not over yet. X44 Racing needed to finish third or better in the five-car finale to earn enough points for the title and after advancing from the LCQ, they were forced to take the worst grid position.

A chaotic start to the Finale saw Loeb run as high the lead and low as fourth after getting pushed off course during his first lap. And that is how he entered to Switch Zone.

On her first lap, Gutierrez slammed into Molly Taylor. With one lap remaining, X44 and Gutierrez were still in fourth and the title hope was quickly evaporating, but it was announced halfway through the lap that the third-running Andretti United team would suffer a penalty for a Switch Zone infraction. The seven-second deduction for Timmy Hansen braking too late in the zone made the difference in the title.

Coming off a disappointing Copper X Prix when Tanner Foust and Emma Gilmour crossed under the checkers first, but were relegated to fifth by penalty, the McLaren pair scored their first podium of the season in second.