Hamilton fastest again in Chinese GP second practice

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Lewis Hamilton has doubled up ahead of the Chinese Grand Prix by finishing as the fastest driver in the second free practice session at the Shanghai International Circuit on Friday afternoon.

The Mercedes driver posted a fastest lap time of 1:37.219 on the soft tire to finish four-tenths of a second clear of Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen and Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo at the top of the timesheets in FP2.

Hamilton enjoyed a trouble-free session, and although he struggled for grip at points, the three-time winner of the Chinese Grand Prix heads into the rest of the race weekend with plenty of momentum.

The same cannot be said of his teammate, Nico Rosberg, though. The German driver finished down in fifth place after making a mistake on his quickest lap, leaving him 1.1 seconds down on Hamilton in the final standings.

FP2 was something of a truncated session as a number of drivers had problems or issues to contend with. Sebastian Vettel’s day nearly came to an early end when he spun on his first flying lap of FP2, but the German driver kept his car out of the wall. He eventually finished the day in fourth place.

Williams’ Felipe Massa was less fortunate. The Brazilian driver lost control at turn 14 and hit the wall, damaging his front wing and warranting a red flag. Daniil Kvyat’s day also came to an early end thanks to a brake failure at the end of the back straight, but his car was recovered under local yellow flags.

In spite of the issue, Kvyat managed to finish sixth for Red Bull, capping off a good day in terms of pace for the former world champions. Valtteri Bottas ended as the lead Williams in P7 ahead of Felipe Nasr and Romain Grosjean, whilst Jenson Button gave McLaren a faint hope of points by finishing tenth.

The advantage firmly lies with Mercedes once again across one lap, but Ferrari’s long-run pace suggests that the Silver Arrows may not have it all their own way on race day. Hamilton remains the man to beat for now, but Rosberg, Raikkonen and Vettel will all head into tomorrow’s qualifying session with a point to prove.

You can join us for the third and final practice session at 12a ET on NBC Sports Live Extra on Saturday ahead of qualifying for the Chinese Grand Prix live on NBCSN at 3a ET.

Malcolm Stewart sidelined by knee surgery for ‘extended duration’

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The knee injury that kept Malcolm Stewart from mounting up for Anaheim 2 will require surgery and he will be sidelined for “an extended duration” of the Monster Energy Supercross season, according to the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna team.

“I just wanted to give you guys an update,” Stewart said on Instagram. “It’s not the news you guys want to hear, but I took a spill last week and hurt my knee pretty bad to the point that we’re going to have to get surgery done.

“I’m definitely bummed out about it; I felt we were riding pretty good and were just now starting to get the ball rolling, but it is what it is.”

Stewart’s season started with high expectations until accidents in the first two rounds left him 15th in the standings.

He ended 2022 on a high note, finishing a career high third in the Supercross standings. He then missed the start of the Pro Motocross season with another knee injury.

The 2023 season appeared to live up to his expectations. Despite back-to-back accidents, Stewart contended for podiums at both Anaheim 1 and San Diego. He won his heat at San Diego.

“It was very tough to receive the news that Malcolm will need to undergo knee surgery,” Nathan Ramsey, Team Manager for the Husqvarna team said in a press release. “He has worked so hard to be in a position to win races this year and I truly believe he was ready.

“The Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing program will support him in every way that we can through his recovery and we can’t wait to get him back on track and back at the races.”

Stewart joins 250 rider Jalek Swoll on the sidelines after he broke an arm in a practice session. Swoll will be relieved by Talon Hawkins beginning this week at Houston, Texas.

A replacement rider has not been announced for Stewart, which means the focus shifts to his 450 teammate Christian Craig, who currently sits 12th in the standings with three top-15s in the opening rounds.