Mercedes drivers on top in practice but lament lack of long-run data

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Mercedes drivers Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton both came away from Interlagos pleased with their day of practice running ahead of this weekend’s Brazilian Grand Prix, but lamented the lack of long-run data following four red flag periods.

Dani Juncadella, Jean-Eric Vergne, Fernando Alonso and Esteban Gutierrez all had incidents out on track during practice on Friday that warranted red flag periods, thus denying the field meaningful long runs.

With just one hour of practice left before qualifying and the race, it is likely that the teams will have to work with what little data they have on the newly-resurfaced circuit in Sao Paulo, but both Rosberg and Hamilton are expecting conditions to be slightly kinder over the rest of the weekend.

“That was a good day and we are very quick again at this circuit,” Rosberg said. “The track has a new surface which made it quite tricky. It’s smooth and not quite so bumpy as it has been in the past, but the tires were blistering because of the high temperatures and the new asphalt.

“That was a bit worrying, but we are expecting it to be a bit cooler over the weekend. I’m looking forward to tomorrow – it should be a great battle.”

Rosberg is looking to cut into Hamilton’s 24-point lead at the top of the standings in Brazil this weekend, and although he sent out a statement of intent by finishing as the quickest driver in both of Friday’s sessions, Hamilton said that he did not hook up a quick lap time in FP2.

“The car felt good today,” the Briton said. “There are a few improvements we can make but I just didn’t manage to put a lap together out there. That’s not a big issue, though. It’s just practice so that’s what we’re out there trying to do.

‘I’m not sure how many laps we’ll get out of the tires as there were quite a few red flags at the end so we didn’t get the best opportunity for long runs but that’s the same for everyone. It’s hard to tell where the tires are compared to 2013 with the different compounds as we didn’t have any dry running until the race last year.

“Otherwise the circuit felt good. It’s nice and smooth and the grip is good. It’s different every time we come here and you never know what the weather is going to do. But that’s what makes this such an exciting race.”

Andretti United team names drivers for inaugural Extreme E season

Extreme E drivers Andretti
Extreme E
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The Extreme E team formed by Andretti Autosport and United Autosports named Catie Munnings and Timmy Hansen as its drivers Monday for the series’ inaugural 2021 season.

Munnings is a successful veteran of rally series. Hansen is a past winner and champion in the World Rallycross Championship.

They both will race in the environmentally conscious electric SUV series that will hold events in five areas around the world that are threatened by climate change. Chip Ganassi Racing and six-time Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton also are fielding cars in Extreme E, which will feature male and female co-drivers on every team.

Catie Munnings

“I’m so excited to join Andretti United Extreme E,” Munnings said in a release. ““I was really intrigued when I first heard about Extreme E, I just knew I had to be involved. The male / female racing partnership is a fantastic and exciting new concept. The season has incredible locations and the racing will be very exciting. It will be a new challenge for the teams and drivers, and I’m so thrilled to be working with such a strong team.

“The championship is a really innovative concept, it’s combining motorsport and science and will produce an important legacy in each race location. Bringing the platform that motorsport has in line with the awareness that the planet needs right now is awesome and a really important message.”

Timmy Hansen

Said Hansen: “Going into the Extreme E will be a new chapter in my career, one that I am extremely excited about. It is something brand new, not only for me, but the whole of motorsport. The format is something

we’ve never seen before. I’m also delighted to be able to carry the message of something bigger – talking about the environment and doing something good for the world – that’s something that really drives me. It’s going to be a big adventure in life to see these locations and I’m going to do my best in carrying this responsibility and hopefully making people aware of the challenges we have in the world, together with our passion for racing.”