Hamilton fastest in final Italian GP practice as Rosberg sits out


Lewis Hamilton has finished fastest in the third and final free practice session for the Italian Grand Prix at Monza today.

The Briton posted a fastest lap of 1:25.519 to finish four-tenths of a second clear of Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso, as Nico Rosberg was unable to record a time in the sister Mercedes thanks to a gearbox problem.

The final session provided the drivers and teams with one final chance to make sure that all of their systems were running correctly ahead of qualifying later today, and this proved particularly crucial for Mercedes. Following Hamilton’s electrical problem during the second practice session on Friday, Rosberg came unstuck in this session and could complete just three laps thanks to a gearbox issue. The team has confirmed that it will be able to change the relevant parts without receiving a penalty.

Sergio Perez’s session also took a turn for the worse when his car stopped out on track at Curva Grande. He appeared to lose power coming out of the first chicane, and was forced to abandon his VJM07 at the side of the track.

In the early prime tire runs, Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso and Williams’ Valtteri Bottas led the way, so much so that they actually set exactly the same time at one point. Eventually, there was some daylight between them as the session, with Lewis Hamilton – who himself had suffered a DRS failure – leading ahead of the switch to option tires in the final few minutes.

Hamilton managed to find another two-tenths of a second at the top of the timesheets to extend his advantage over Alonso, and ultimately finished the session fastest of all. Felipe Massa was fourth for Williams, with Jenson Button rounding out the top five for McLaren.

With his teammate on the back foot, Hamilton may have the upper hand for qualifying later today. Be sure to join us for the session live on NBCSN and Live Extra from 8am ET.

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

Santino Ferrucci AJ Foyt
James Gilbert/Getty Images

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.