Rosberg quickest in first practice for Spanish GP

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MONTMELO – Nico Rosberg opened his Spanish Grand Prix weekend in fine style by finishing fastest in the first practice session at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on Friday.

The Mercedes driver posted a fastest lap time of 1:26.828 to finish just seven-hundredths of a second clear of teammate Lewis Hamilton at the top of the timesheets as their intra-team battle looks set to continue this weekend.

However, Rosberg does remain under investigation with the stewards after entering the pit lane incorrectly, moving to the wrong side of the bollard.

First practice saw a number of teams try out their new upgrades ahead of the race on Sunday, with the parts being introduced in a bid to move up the field and cut the gap to Mercedes at the front.

Ferrari ran with a number of updates on its cars during the first session, but neither Sebastian Vettel nor Kimi Raikkonen could challenge the Mercedes drivers at the front. They were ultimately forced to settle for third and fourth place respectively, finishing almost one second off the pace.

Red Bull debuted its shorter nose design in the first session, running it on Daniil Kvyat’s car as he finished seventh. His teammate, Daniel Ricciardo, was less fortunate, suffering an engine problem that limited him to just nine laps in the entirety of the session. He did manage to finish ninth in the final standings thanks to a late flying lap, though.

Despite only bringing minor updates to Spain, Toro Rosso ran very strongly in the first practice session as Carlos Sainz Jr. finished fifth ahead of Max Verstappen in sixth place ahead of Kvyat. Felipe Massa finished eighth for Williams ahead of Ricciardo in ninth and Felipe Nasr, who rounded out the top ten.

Susie Wolff enjoyed her third practice run-out on a grand prix weekend on Friday, and put in a respectable display to finish in 14th place. Although her fastest lap was 0.8 seconds slower than that of Massa in the sister Williams car, the Briton had no problems with the FW37 car and managed to complete 22 laps in total.

Raffaele Marciello also took part in practice for Sauber as part of his reserve driver commitments, coming home in 12th ahead of Lotus reserve Jolyon Palmer, who finished 13th. Valtteri Bottas, Marcus Ericsson and Grosjean will return for the second practice session later today.

You can watch FP2 live on NBCSN and Live Extra from 8am ET on Friday. For more information, click here.

X44 Racing win 2022 Extreme E championship as Abt Cupra score first race victory

2022 Extreme E Uruguay
Extreme E

Abt Cupra Racing’s Nasser Al-Attiyah and Klara Andersson scored their first win in the Extreme E Energy X Prix in the 2022 finale in Uruguay as Lewis Hamilton’s X44 Vida Carbon Racing drivers Sebastien Loeb and Cristina Gutierrez survived a chaotic finale to edge the 2021 champion Rosberg X Prix team of Johan Kristoffersson and Mikhaela Ahlin-Kottulinsky, by two points.

“There are so many emotions,” Andersson said in Extreme E’s coverage. “I’ve been waiting for this for so long. In my second race, first full weekend to be at the top of the podium: it’s big.”

Andersson was behind the wheel at the finish.

Rosberg Racing entered the event with a 17-point advantage over X44, but the standings were close enough that four teams remained in contention in Round 5.

“It’s a crucial weekend for us,” Loeb said in Extreme E’s coverage prior to the race. “We are not in the best position to win the championship, but the only thing we can do is try to win the race and score as many points as possible.”

The top two title contenders each crashed in qualification and were relegated to the Crazy Race, Extreme E’s version of the Last Chance Qualifier (LCQ). For the moment, they had the steepest hill to climb, but then the other two championship contending teams, Chip Ganassi Racing and Acciona Sainz Racing failed to advance from their heats.

Only one team advances from the Crazy Race, so the X44 drivers were in a must-win situation to simply keep hope alive.

More: Extreme E 2023 schedule

Ahlin-Kottulinsky and Gutierrez ran wheel to wheel into the first turn at the start of the LCQ.

The Rosberg racer experienced crash damage in that turn that damaged her front steering, but managed to limp back to the pits at the end of her two-lap stint. The team attempted to fix the steering, but incurred a penalty for having too many mechanics in the pit area.

Meanwhile, Gutierrez took the early lead, but knew she would need to sit through a five-second penalty for an incident earlier in the weekend. The female half of the gender equal pair erased the penalty by entering the Switch Zone with a five-second lead before turning the car over to Loeb.

That was all the nine-time World Rally Championship titlist needed to give him the advantage needed to win the Crazy Race.

But the championship was not over yet. X44 Racing needed to finish third or better in the five-car finale to earn enough points for the title and after advancing from the LCQ, they were forced to take the worst grid position.

A chaotic start to the Finale saw Loeb run as high the lead and low as fourth after getting pushed off course during his first lap. And that is how he entered to Switch Zone.

On her first lap, Gutierrez slammed into Molly Taylor. With one lap remaining, X44 and Gutierrez were still in fourth and the title hope was quickly evaporating, but it was announced halfway through the lap that the third-running Andretti United team would suffer a penalty for a Switch Zone infraction. The seven-second deduction for Timmy Hansen braking too late in the zone made the difference in the title.

Coming off a disappointing Copper X Prix when Tanner Foust and Emma Gilmour crossed under the checkers first, but were relegated to fifth by penalty, the McLaren pair scored their first podium of the season in second.