IndyCar: Rahal pleased after two-day test at Barber Motorsports Park

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Defending Verizon IndyCar champion Will Power led the way in a two-day test session at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Ala., over the weekend, with a time of 1:07.3118 (123.010 mph).

While it was more of the same for the Penske driver, who won the pole for last year’s race at the 2.38-mile, 17-turn circuit, Graham Rahal of Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing was happy with how his No. 15 Mi-Jack Honda performed during the 149 laps it turned over the two-day session.

Rahal placed seventh on the time chart with a time of 1:07.6203 with a speed of 122.448 mph, making him the fastest of the Honda powered cars.

“It’s nice to finish in the top (seven) here, which has been a place we have struggled at before,” Rahal said afterward.

Rahal should be pleased. In last year’s race at Barber, the ninth-year driver started 17th but finished 18th. In four career races at Barber, Rahal’s average finish is 15.4 with his best being a fourth place run in 2012.

“We’ve got a little work to do for sure though, but I’m pleased with our result because a lot of the guys had a lot more tires than us at the end,” Rahal said. “They just kept running new tires and we had one shot at it and to do a 1:07.62 felt nice.

“Today our objective was to try a ton of stuff as learn as much as we could about the aero and I think they’ve done a heck of a job,” Rahal continued. “We test at Sebring on Monday and Tuesday and its going to be an interesting animal with the fact that it’s going to be pretty grippy after the 12 hour race, but at the end of the day I’m just looking forward to turning some laps.”

In 2014, Rahal had one podium finish in 18 starts with an average finish of 15th.

Valtteri Bottas fastest in Friday F1 practices for Russian Grand Prix

F1 Sochi Valtteri Bottas
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SOCHI, Russia — Valtteri Bottas paced both F1 practices Friday for the Russian Grand Prix on Friday as Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton was slowed by damaged tires in the first session.

Bottas turned a fast lap of 1 minute, 33.519 seconds in the second session that bettered Hamilton’s 1:33.786.

Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo was more than a second behind Bottas in third at 1:34.577, followed by the McLaren Racing duo of Carlos Sainz Jr. (1:34.723) and Lando Norris (1:34.847).

In the first F1 session at Sochi, Valtteri Bottas set the pace with a time of 1 minute, 34.923 seconds, beating Ricciardo by half a second. Max Verstappen was third quickest in his Red Bull, a further 0.147 back.

Hamilton could only manage 19th fastest after locking up his tires and leaving them with a flat spot. Ferrari again struggled to find pace with Sebastian Vettel ninth and Charles Leclerc 11th.

HISTORY IN SIGHTLewis Hamilton aims to tie Michael Schumacher’s record

The first session was briefly red-flagged when Nicholas Latifi crashed his Williams. Carlos Sainz Jr. spun his McLaren backward into a barrier and broke off his rear wing.

Verstappen spun during the second session but avoided damage to his car.