IndyCar: Will Power leads 2nd practice at Pocono; Hawksworth OK after crash (VIDEO)

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Verizon IndyCar Series championship leader Will Power put up a lap of 223.348 miles per hour to lead the second and final practice session for the Pocono IndyCar 500 at Pocono Raceway.

Power said that he was trying to gauge how good his No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet was in traffic during the second practice.

“We have no more practice sessions so I tried to run in as much traffic as I could,” he told IndyCar Radio. “It’s going to be interesting tomorrow because we haven’t had that much practice before a 500-mile race.

“We’ll have a good think about it overnight and see what we can do.”

Qualifying for tomorrow’s race is slated to take place this afternoon at 5 p.m. ET. It will air later at 7 p.m. ET on NBCSN and NBC Sports Live Extra for online and mobile devices.

Carlos Munoz of Andretti Autosport was second-fastest in this practice at 223.007 mph, followed by Practice 1 leader Tony Kanaan in P3 at 222.528 mph.

Graham Rahal, sporting a bit of camo this weekend on his National Guard machine, was fourth at 222.317 mph, and Helio Castroneves was fifth at 222.297 mph.

The first major hit of the weekend took place with half an hour to go in this session, as Jack Hawksworth lost control in Turn 1 and slammed into the SAFER Barrier.

The British rookie gingerly got out of his damaged No. 98 Bryan Herta Autosport Honda and needed help from a pair of Holmatro safety crew members to get into his ride to the infield care center.

But IndyCar Radio later reported that Hawksworth’s limp was simply due to banging his knee in the cockpit during the crash. Hawksworth was ultimately checked, cleared and released from the care center.

“After I got down to the apex, it just went super-loose and snapped on me, and I went into the wall,” Hawksworth said. “I don’t know what really happened. Obviously, I’m very sad for all the guys because we just wrecked the car.”

Hawksworth also added that despite his sore knee, he was confident that he could take part in qualifying later today should his team be able to repair the No. 98 in time.

Valtteri Bottas on Silverstone pole; Nico Hulkenberg a surprising third

F1 Bottas Hamilton Silverstone
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Valtteri Bottas nipped Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton in Silverstone qualifying Saturday to maintain the team’s hammerlock on F1 results this season while Nico Hulkenberg was a surprise in third.

Hulkenberg is filling in for Sergio Perez for the second consecutive race while the Racing Point driver recovers from coronavirus.

It’s the best F1 start since 2016 for Hulkenberg, who was left without a full-time ride after the 2019 season. He finished 20th at Silverstone last week when an engine problem on the grid prevented him ftaking the green.

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“The last seven to eight days have been crazy,” Hulkenberg said after qualifying. “This weekend I felt much better prepared. Q3 was just head down, full beans, and give it whatever I had.

“I’m a bit surprised to be standing here, but there’s a big smile on my face.”

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen qualified fourth and will be among the field trying to derail the Mercedes duo that has won the first four races of an F1 season delayed because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“Feels good,” Bottas said after nipping Hamilton by a few hundredths of a second on his final lap for his 13th career pole position. ” I just love qualifying especially, when it goes well. Proud to drive this car. The race pace is there, so our first job is to get a good start off the line tomorrow and go from there.”

The impressive lap came two days after Bottas, who won the season opener in Austria, announced a one-year contract extension with the team.

Mercedes also is set to begin negotiating a new deal with Hamilton, who has won the past three races in F1 but was disappointed Saturday.

“Valtteri did a great job, but for me, it wasn’t a perfect last lap,” he said. “I don’t think many teams will be doing a one-stop race tomorrow so let’s wait and see how things turn out.”