Rosberg fastest again in second practice for Australian GP

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Nico Rosberg has continued his perfect start to the 2015 Formula 1 season by finishing as the fastest driver in second practice for the Australian Grand Prix on Friday evening.

The German driver had topped the first practice session of the year at Albert Park earlier on Friday, and managed to double up in FP2 by edging out teammate Lewis Hamilton at the top of the timesheets once again.

Rosberg posted a fastest lap time of 1:27.697 on the soft compound tire, beating Hamilton by one-tenth of a second as Mercedes eased to a one-two finish yet again.

However, the Silver Arrows’ advantage did diminish from FP1, with Ferrari looking far stronger on the soft tire as Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen finished third and fourth for the Italian marque. Vettel may have finished a distant 0.7 seconds behind Rosberg at the top, but definite progress appears to have been made at Maranello over the winter.

After sitting out the first session on Friday amid its legal wrangling with ex-reserve driver Giedo van der Garde, Sauber finally hit the track in FP2 with Felipe Nasr and Marcus Ericsson both completing laps. Nasr enjoyed a good Friday to finish 11th, but the same could not be said of Ericsson, whose running was curtailed following a suspension failure.

McLaren’s Kevin Magnussen also hit trouble on Friday evening, making a mistake at turn six to put his MP4-30 in the wall and warrant the first red flag period of the season. Magnussen was uninjured, and confirmed on Twitter that the accident was due to driver error.

Once again, Manor failed to get its cars out on track during FP2, with Roberto Merhi and Will Stevens being sidelined as the team continues to find its feet after a turbulent winter. Daniel Ricciardo and Felipe Massa were also unable to get out on track due to problems with their power units, whilst Jenson Button suffered a loss of power in the final ten minutes of the day for McLaren.

Although it may be difficult to make any firm assumptions at this early stage, Mercedes certainly appears to be dominating proceedings once again in Melbourne, setting the stage for an almighty intra-team scrap between Rosberg and Hamilton for supremacy this weekend.

Be sure to join us on Saturday for the final free practice session and qualifying, with our full broadcasting schedule viewable here.

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.