Vettel edges out Rosberg in second practice for Austrian GP

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Sebastian Vettel bounced back from a gearbox problem in the first practice session on Friday in Austria to post the fastest time in FP2, edging out Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg at the top of the timesheets.

Ferrari entered this weekend’s Austrian Grand Prix with hopes of challenging the German marque at the head of the field after finishing off the podium for the first time in 2015 at the Canadian Grand Prix.

Vettel managed to make the most of the super-soft tires in FP2, posting a fastest lap of 1:09.600 to edge out Rosberg by just 0.011 seconds for first place.

However, the session was far from perfect for Ferrari as Vettel suffered yet another issue on his car, forcing him to pull out of the final 25 minutes of second practice as a result.

The German driver had lost time in the morning due to a gearbox problem, and although the one-lap pace of the SF15-T car is clearly impressive, Ferrari may struggle come the race due to a lack of practice running with Vettel.

Kimi Raikkonen underpinned Ferrari’s good pace by finishing third in the final classification, just ahead of Lotus driver Pastor Maldonado.

Defending world champion Lewis Hamilton could only finish the session in fifth place, recording a time that was half a second down on both Vettel and Rosberg at the front.

Coming off the back of his victory at Le Mans, Nico Hulkenberg managed to impress in the Force India to finish sixth in FP2, with teammate Sergio Perez ending 10th overall. Romain Grosjean, Max Verstappen and Felipe Nasr finished seventh, eighth and ninth respectively.

With Ferrari now putting up more of a fight to Mercedes at the front, the stage is set for a closely-fought battle for pole position on Saturday. You can watch qualifying live from the Red Bull Ring on NBCSN and Live Extra from 8am ET tomorrow.

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.