Hamilton strikes back to top FP2 ahead of Rosberg in Belgium

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Lewis Hamilton has finished fastest in the second free practice session for the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps today, beating Nico Rosberg by a full six-tenths of a second at the top of the timesheets.

The Briton was forced to settle for second place during first practice on Friday morning, but despite encountering two red flags that limited running in the first half of the session, Hamilton produced a fine flying lap to finish well clear of Rosberg.

Sebastian Vettel’s session was over before it had even begun, with Red Bull confirming that an engine failure on Friday morning warranted a complete overhaul of the power unit. It remains to be seen whether or not he will face any penalties this weekend.

Esteban Gutierrez and Pastor Maldonado also endured difficult sessions, with the latter spinning on the run down to Pouhons to bring out the first red flag of the day. Although he walked away unharmed, Maldonado has left the Lotus pit crew with a lot of work to do on his car overnight.

Gutierrez’s off was a little less spectacular, as he spun at Blanchimont and was unable to get the car back going. He finished down in 17th place.

Max Chilton returned to the wheel of the Marussia MR03 after Alexander Rossi’s run-out in FP1, and finished in 18th. Just behind, Andre Lotterer continued to impress for Caterham, finishing less than half a tenth shy of Marcus Ericsson despite it only being his second time in the car. However, his session also came to an early end following an electrical fault on his car.

Behind Rosberg, Fernando Alonso once again finished as the best of the rest, some seven-tenths behind Hamilton’s time. Felipe Massa showed signs of Williams’ expected good pace at Spa in fourth, ahead of Jenson Button and teammate Valtteri Bottas.

Daniil Kvyat finished seventh for Toro Rosso, with Daniel Ricciardo in eighth. Kevin Magnussen and Nico Hulkenberg rounded out the top ten.

Once again, it appears that Mercedes is set to dominate this weekend, but the battle just behind is very close indeed. Be sure to join us tomorrow for qualifying live on CNBC from 8am ET, before the race on Sunday which is live on NBCSN from 7.30am.

Santino Ferrucci will drive No. 14 for AJ Foyt Racing full time in 2023 IndyCar season

Santino Ferrucci AJ Foyt
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Santino Ferrucci will return to full-time racing in the NTT IndyCar Series next season, joining AJ Foyt Racing.

Ferrucci had made eight IndyCar starts with three teams since his last full-time season in 2020 while also racing part time in the NASCAR Xfinity Series this year.

He will drive the storied No. 14 Dallara-Chevrolet for four-time Indy 500 winner A.J. Foyt’s team, which will field the car from its Waller, Texas headquarters.

“It’s incredibly exciting to be back in the INDYCAR Series full time,” Ferrucci said in a team release. “Being a part-time driver over the last two years has been hard for me, personally. I’m a race car driver, and I want to compete. Working with different teams has been exciting, and I’m proud that no matter which car I’ve raced, I’ve always shown speed and consistency. I couldn’t be more excited to join AJ Foyt Racing in the 14 Chevy. I can’t wait to make the best of it.”

Ferrucci, 24, had finished a career-best fourth in IndyCar four times, including the 104th Indy 500 in 2020. He was the 2019 Indy 500 rookie of the year with a sixth.

In nine Xfinity starts since 2021, Ferrucci has a career-best finish of 13th at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

“I am thrilled to welcome Santino to the team,” Larry Foyt said in a release. “He’s shown a knack for getting toward the front of the field, and I think he is a racer who moves forward on race day. A.J. sees the fire in him and has enjoyed their meetings together. I think Santino’s experience will help his rookie teammate as well, so he is a great addition to our roster.”

Ferrucci will be teamed at AJ Foyt Racing with Benjamin Pedersen, who finished fifth in the 2022 Indy Lights standings. The team has yet to specify the number for Pedersen’s entry, which will be fielded out of its Indianapolis race shop.

Foyt’s two full-time drivers last season were Dalton Kellett and Kyle Kirkwood, who is moving to Andretti Autosport.