Hamilton quickest in first practice for Hungarian GP

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Lewis Hamilton has made a good start in his bid for an unprecedented fifth victory at the Hungarian Grand Prix by finishing fastest in first practice on Friday morning at the Hungaroring.

The Briton recorded a fastest lap time of 1:25.814 to finish just under two-tenths of a second clear of Mercedes teammate and championship leader Nico Rosberg at the top of the timesheets.

Mercedes once again dominated proceedings during practice, suggesting that the loss of the FRIC suspension device at the German Grand Prix has not done as much harm to the Silver Arrows as many expected.

Both Hamilton and Rosberg completed runs on the option and prime tires, as well as some development work to ensure that all systems are working properly following a troublesome weekend in Germany that saw the Briton suffer a brake failure during qualifying.

Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso put in a good first display for Ferrari at the Hungaroring to finish third and fourth respectively. Many questions have been asked about Raikkonen’s motivation of late, but if practice is anything to go by, he could be back in business in Hungary after a difficult start to the season.

To make matters even better for Ferrari, nearest rivals Williams finished well down the order. Felipe Massa came home in tenth, with Valtteri Bottas down in 15th. The Finn’s pursuit of a fourth straight podium finish may be more of a challenge this weekend than it was in Germany.

Red Bull enjoyed a solid first practice session, with Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo finishing fifth and eighth respectively. Kevin Magnussen and Jean-Eric Vergne put in some good lap times to finish between the Red Bull cars, and Jenson Button, donned in his pink liveried helmet to commemorate his father’s birthday this weekend, was classified ninth.

Once again in Hungary, it appears that the advantage lies with Mercedes. Can the Silver Arrows continue to dominate during FP2? Join us at 8am ET live on Live Extra and online, or watch the encore on NBCSN at 12pm ET.

Helio Castroneves ‘hustling’ for IndyCar, IMSA rides; talking with four to five teams

Helio Castroneves IMSA IndyCar
IMSA
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As his season gathers steam, Helio Castroneves said his prospects for finding new rides for 2021 in IMSA and IndyCar also are gaining momentum.

The three-time Indianapolis 500 winner said Monday he is optimistic about landing in either or perhaps a combination of both series when Team Penske and Acura end their DPi partnership after this season.

“A lot of people I spoke with, four to five teams, are interested,” Castroneves said. “Whether it’s doing Indy 500 only, whether it’s pushing to do full time or do the sports cars as well. It’s been a very nice conversation.

LOOKING AHEADTeam Penske drivers seeking new rides for 2021

“I have a lot of respect for all the teams that have been talking, and I feel the same feedback. We just have to wait for their (sponsor) connections, and I’m also looking for some connections on my side as well, so hopefully we’ll be able to put this together and get something very soon.”

Given two decades of success with Penske in IndyCar and IMSA, Castroneves’ resume hardly needs burnishing. But the Brazilian has combined with co-driver Ricky Taylor in the No. 7 Acura DPi to win the past two overall victories at Road America and Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.

But Castroneves, who doesn’t have a manager, said he has been working the phones hard rather than wait for the strong results to bring in the calls.

“At this point, I feel like I’m the one who needs to be talking to them because people need to know I want to continue racing and understand my desire,” Castroneves, 45, said. “There is opportunity, no question, in both (IndyCar and IMSA), which I’m really happy about it. However, because of the COVID-19, a lot of things sometimes have to be a little delayed. But I’m excited. Whatever the opportunity and whatever destiny guides me, whether IndyCar or sports cars, trust me I’ll be as happy as it could be and doing my 100 percent like I always did.

“It’s like politics, you need to be out there, good news or bad news. People have to make notice of your presence. I’m hustling. I want to continue to keep it going. Hopefully, we’ll have good news very soon.”

The news has been all good lately on track for Castroneves and Taylor, who hope to continue their run Sunday at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

The No. 6 duo has surged to sixth in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship standings, 10 points out of the lead with four races remaining. After thinking there was “no hope” to be competitive after opening the season with three consecutive poor finishes, Taylor now sees an opportunity for a happy ending.

“With the program going away, Helio has won all the big races and given so much back to the team and left such a mark, he’s really part of Penske history,” Taylor said. “For me, it’s been an opportunity of a lifetime to be a part of it. I’d like to leave my little mark as well. Helio has won everything except for a championship.

“Obviously, we’ve won races already together, but we can win a championship now. I think if both of us can do that together and both win our first championship for ‘The Captain,’ that would be an absolute dream come true, and we can tie a bow on it and be happy.”