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.

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.”