Rosberg fastest once again in second British GP practice


Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg once again topped the timesheets during the second free practice session for the British Grand Prix on Friday, beating Ferrari drivers Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel into second and third place respectively.

After suffering a hydraulic leak during FP1 on Friday, Rosberg bounced back in the afternoon to record a fastest lap time of 1:34.155, giving himself an advantage of almost four-tenths of a second over Raikkonen in second place.

Championship leader Lewis Hamilton was unable to match the time of his Mercedes teammate during the second practice session, finishing the day in fourth place with almost half a second to find and less than impressed with the setup of the Mercedes car.

Red Bull found its feet to get both Daniil Kvyat and Daniel Ricciardo into the top six during FP2, whilst Max Verstappen finished seventh for Red Bull. Nico Hulkenberg, Carlos Sainz Jr and Felipe Massa rounded out the top ten.

The session was not without its drama, though, as two red flag periods interrupted the running. The first was issued during the first 30 minutes of the session when Romain Grosjean beached his car in the gravel at Luffield, requiring recovery.

Fernando Alonso very nearly fell foul of the same fate not long after, but managed to find a patch of grass to use as a path back to the tarmac, allowing the Spaniard to continue. He would ultimately finish the session in 15th place.

However, Roberto Merhi was less fortunate in the Manor. He too made an error at Luffield, leaving the car stranded on the edge of the track. The stewards threw a red flag, only for the Spaniard to find his reverse gear and get back on his way, meaning that the session could quickly resume.

At the top though, it was Rosberg once again who led that way for Mercedes. The German driver has plenty of momentum heading into this weekend with three wins in the past four races, leaving Hamilton with a big mountain to climb ahead of qualifying on Saturday.

NTT re-signs as IndyCar title sponsor in multiyear deal starting with the 2024 season

James Black/Penske Entertainment

The IndyCar Series has re-signed NTT as its title sponsor in a multiyear agreement starting in 2024.

NTT, a global information technology and communications company based in Japan, became the series’ title sponsor before the 2019 season after starting as a sponsor of the No. 10 Dallara-Honda for Chip Ganassi Racing.

NTT Data (a subsidiary of parent company Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp.) will remain the official technology partner of IndyCar, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the Indy 500 and the NASCAR Brickyard weekend.

With the extension, an IndyCar spokesman said NTT would become the second-longest title sponsor in series history. The longest title sponsor was PPG from 1980-97 (under the CART sanction of the Champ Car Series).

NTT replaced Verizon, which was IndyCar’s title sponsor from 2014-18 after IZOD from 2010-13.

“NTT is an excellent partner across our enterprise with strong expertise and a deep commitment to our sport,” Penske Corp. chairman and IndyCar owner Roger Penske said in a release. “From Smart Venue technology at the Racing Capital of the World to the reimagined Series mobile application, NTT is transforming the fan experience in new and innovative ways. We look forward to a bright future together.”

NTT has used artificial intelligence-enabled optical detection technology at IMS to provide information to the track’s operations and security teams, helping improve fan traffic flow and safety, the track said.

“IndyCar is a great partner for NTT Data because of our shared commitment to driving innovation, increasing sustainability and delivering amazing experiences,” NTT Data CEO Kaz Nishihata said in a release. “We also appreciate how IndyCar is so diverse, with drivers from 15 different countries, and races that range from short ovals and superspeedways to road and street courses. It’s both an incredible sport and a wonderful example for our world.”

NTT also has been instrumental in helping redesign the IndyCar app and providing more race and driver data for use in NBC Sports’ broadcasts by utilizing 140 data points from every car in the field.

“NTT is fully invested in the development and growth of our sport and has already established a terrific track record in our industry with problem-solving capabilities and access to top talent and tools,” Penske Entertainment president and CEO Mark Miles said.

Said NTT Data Services CEO Bob Pryor: “We’re thrilled to continue our collaborations that enhance and expand the fan experience for motorsports and serve as proof points for data analytics, AI, and other innovative digital technologies. For more than a century, this racing series has pioneered innovations making driving safer for everyone, and by continuing this relationship, we will accelerate the pace of innovations and new technologies, particularly related to sustainability that ultimately can benefit organizations, communities and individuals around the world.”

Starting as a Japanese telephone company, NTT grew into a $100 billion-plus tech services giant with U.S. operations based in Plano, Texas.