Hamilton edges Rosberg in British GP second practice

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Lewis Hamilton has finished at the top of the timesheets in the second practice session for this weekend’s British Grand Prix, but the Briton was left walking back to his garage after a failure on his car forced him to stop out on track.

The Mercedes driver posted a fastest lap time of 1:34.508 to edge out teammate Nico Rosberg by two-tenths of a second, having trailed the German in FP1 earlier today.

However, with around half an hour to go in the session, Hamilton’s car came to a halt on the exit of turn two, thus robbing him of precious track time and race simulation runs after he reportedly lost oil pressure. Nevertheless, he had already done enough on his qualifying simulation run to give him top spot ahead of Rosberg.

Ferrari once again appeared to be ‘best of the rest’ as Fernando Alonso slotted into third place. The Spaniard will be hoping to score his second podium finish of the season at Silverstone this weekend, and could be well placed to win should both Mercedes hit trouble like they did in Canada.

That said, Red Bull will also be in the running for big points. After a terrible weekend in Austria, both Daniel Ricciardo and Sebastian Vettel appear to have got their mojo back. They finished fourth and fifth respectively in FP2 ahead of Williams’ Valtteri Bottas.

Jenson Button and Kevin Magnussen also put in a solid display for McLaren, finishing inside the top ten. After a difficult start to the season, the British team will be hoping to make up for it on home soil.

Hamilton was not the only driver to hit trouble during the session. Jean-Eric Vergne’s session ended ten minutes early when his front-left wheel came loose. Thankfully it remained on the car, but he did have to pull over and halt his running. Valtteri Bottas’ engine cover broke off towards the end of the session while he was running down Hangar Straight, giving Williams yet another repair job to work on.

It’s business as usual for Mercedes, but as we saw in Austria, that can all change for qualifying. Be sure to join us at 8am ET on Saturday for all of the action from Silverstone.

Coyne transitioning from underdog to Indy 500 threat

Photo: IndyCar
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For most of the team’s existence, Dale Coyne Racing has been the Chicago Cubs of American Open Wheel Racing – a team whose history was more defined by failures, at times comically so, than success.

The last decade, however, has seen the tide completely change. In 2007, they scored three podium finishes with Bruno Junqueira. In 2009, they won at Watkins Glen with the late Justin Wilson.

The combination won again at Texas Motor Speedway in 2012, and finished sixth in the 2013 Verizon IndyCar Series championship. That same year, Mike Conway took a shock win for them in Race 1 at the Chevrolet Dual in Detroit.

Carlos Huertas scored an upset win for them in Race 1 at the Houston double-header in 2014, and while 2015 and 2016 yielded no wins, Tristan Vautier and Conor Daly gave them several strong runs – Vautier’s best finish was fourth in Race 2 at Detroit, while Daly finished second in Race 1 at Detroit, finished fourth at Watkins Glen, and scored a trio of sixth-place finishes at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course, Race 2 at Detroit, and the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

And 2017 was set to possibly be the best year the team has ever had. Sebastien Bourdais gave the team a popular win in the season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, and then rookie Ed Jones scored back-to-back top tens – 10th and sixth – at St. Pete and the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach to start his career.

But, things started unraveling at the Indianapolis 500. Bourdais appeared set to be in the Fast Nine Pole Shootout during his first qualifying run – both of his first two laps were above 231 mph –  before his horrifying crash in Turn 2.

While Jones qualified an impressive 11th and finished an even more impressive third, results for the rest of the season became hard to come by – Jones only scored two more Top 10s, with a best result of seventh at Road America.

But, retooled for 2018, the Coyne team is a legitimate threat at the 102nd Running of the Indianapolis 500.

Bourdais, whose No. 18 Honda features new sponsorship from SealMaster and now ownership partners in Jimmy Vasser and James “Sulli” Sullivan, has a win already, again at St. Pete, and sits third in the championship.

And Bourdais may also be Honda’s best hope, given that he was the fastest Honda in qualifying – he’ll start fifth behind Ed Carpenter, Simon Pagenaud, Will Power, and Josef Newgarden.

“I think it speaks volumes about their work, their passion and their dedication to this program, Dale (Coyne), Jimmy (Vasser) and Sulli (James Sullivan) and everybody from top to bottom. I can’t thank them enough for the opportunity, for the support,” Bourdais said of the team’s effort.

Rookie Zachary Claman De Melo has been progressing nicely, and his Month of May has been very solid – he finished 12th at the INDYCAR Grand Prix on the IMS Road Course and qualified a strong 13th for the “500.”

“It’s been surreal to be here as rookie. I’m a bit at a loss for words,” Claman De Melo revealed after qualifying. “The fans, driving around this place, being with the team, everything is amazing. I have a great engineer, a great group of experienced mechanics at Dale Coyne Racing.”

While Conor Daly and Pippa Mann struggled in one-off entries, with Mann getting bumped out of the field in Saturday qualifying, Daly’s entry essentially puts three Coyne cars in the race – Daly’s No. 17 United States Air Force Honda is a Dale Coyne car that has been leased to Thom Burns Racing.

Rest assured, the days of Coyne being an “also ran” are long gone, and a Coyne car ending up in Victory Lane at the biggest race of the year would complete the Chicago Cubs analogy – the Cubs won a World Series title in 2016, and an Indy 500 triumph would be the crowning achievement in Coyne’s career.

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